Pragmatic Play releases Santa’s Wonderland, a slot machine with a Christmas theme. The company has, as is customary, given an already existing game, in this instance Gems Bonanza, a holiday makeover. If you’ve played one slot, you’ve definitely played the other; they’re nearly identical but for a few minor tweaks to the rules and statistics.
Santa’s Wonderland focuses on the production of toys and other presents; the name suggests we are in Santa’s workshop. The last step before the parcels are loaded onto Santa’s sleigh and flown around the world in the space of a single night. The Christmas-themed background that Pragmatic Play designed is pretty enough, but the majority of the screen is taken up by a huge 8×8 grid adorned with prizes and framed by a feature clock, a meter, and a bonus purchase button. Messy, yet in a cozy, festive fashion.
Santa’s Wonderland is a cluster paying grid slot, meaning that winning combinations are formed whenever five identical symbols appear in adjacent horizontal or vertical positions. Tumbling occurs when a winning cluster is detected, clearing the board for other symbols to fill in. Additional cluster wins are possible from the same spin, with play concluding when no more cluster wins emerge. The return to player percentage in Santa’s Wonderland is lower than in Gems Bonanza, at 96.23% as opposed to 96.51%. It still uses a highly volatile mathematical model, however the maximum win is less. This is not a very Christmassy thing to do, but whatever. Bets range from 20 pence per spin up to £/€100 per spin, so players can take against the big guy from any device.
The lowest payouts for clusters of 20-24 symbols are awarded for blue, green, red, and orange ornaments, paying out 5-12.5x the wager. Getting a cluster of 20 or more teddy bears, aircraft, or trains is worth 25-100 times your wager. The Santa wild with a full beard concludes this group of symbols. When a wild Santa Claus appears, he can be in any position and replace any other sign. The only times it occurs are in conjunction with the Wild Santa or Lucky Santa options; it does not occur naturally. Wilds may pair up with many other kinds of symbols at once to form stronger clusters.
Features of Santa’s Wonderland Slot Machine
There are a number of snowflake features and a Midnight Riches Meter that work in tandem with the cluster paying tumble system to take players on a 5-level bonus round if they gather enough winning symbols.
Substitutes for Snowflakes
At the beginning of each spin, 5 snowflakes emerge in arbitrary positions on the grid below the standard icons. When the current tumble sequence concludes, the winning modifier is activated if a cluster of snowflakes formed atop it.
Crystal Snowflake in Blue, Renewing Honors. All symbols, save for wilds, are removed from the grid, and fresh symbols fall into view.
Snowflake Award (Purple) Crazy Santa. Wild symbols replace all other occurrences of the same symbol.
Snowflake in yellow represents a reward block. New blocks of the same symbol type, each measuring 2×2, are placed at random.
Red Snowflake: Extra-Large Awards. The grid receives an extra 3×3, 4×4, or 5×5 section of the same icon at random.
Lucky Santa receives a green snowflake. Puts anything between five and fifteen wild symbols on the screen at once.
If several snowflakes are won in one spin, the outcomes will occur in the sequence shown above.
Progressive Midnight Wealth Game
The Midnight Riches meter fills up with the total amount of winning symbols after each spin. Once you’ve gathered 140 symbols, you’ll unlock Midnight Riches. All spin modifiers described above are activated once every level, starting with level 1, and all wins are increased by 3. Midnight Riches levels are unlocked as players collect winning symbols in the following ways:
To access level 2 and its 6x multiplier, you must collect 116 winning symbols.
Level 3’s x9 multiplier kicks in once 120 winning symbols have been collected.
Level 4 is unlocked by collecting 124 winning symbols, and it features an x12 multiplier.
To play level 5 with an x15 multiplier, you need to collect 132 winning symbols.
The feature concludes after either all Level 5 Spin Features have been performed or when not enough symbols have been gathered to advance to the next level.
Get the Midnight Wealth
The Midnight Riches bonus round may be purchased for 100 times the initial wager. Following the aforementioned collecting requirements will allow you to advance through the same five levels.
Judgment on Santa’s Wonderland Slot Machines
Santa Claus must be more worried about overpopulation than anyone else. The first billion mark was attained about 1800, while the next 7 billion were reached only 200 years later. At this rate, Santa won’t have time to stop by everyone’s houses, let alone carry around enough toys to give them all. Maybe it’s like Hermione’s magic bag from Harry Potter, when an ordinary-looking sack magically expands to hold whatever that’s tossed into it.
Pragmatic Play made a solid call by basing Santa’s Wonderland on Gems Bonanza instead of some fictional place. Studios seldom design holiday-themed video games with cluster-paying grid spots, so this alternative may come as a pleasant surprise on December 25. Santa’s Wonderland is another fun alternative, especially since, with enough victories, the game’s bonus round may turn into a thrilling roller coaster.
The primary issue with Santa’s Wonderland is that the renovations don’t seem to have been done with any sort of holiday spirit in mind. We now have lower symbol values, more winning symbols are required to activate the features, a lower return to player percentage, and significantly less potential. From the 10,000x in Gem Bonanza to the 7,500x in Santa’s Wonderland, Pragmatic has hauled in the maximum win. When used together, they evoke an action that Scrooge, before he became kind, would take.
Even while it’s hardly the most creative thing to do, Gems Bonanza didn’t exactly break new ground by following the formula established by Play’n GO and others by, say, having players gather winning symbols to activate bonus rounds. Still, Santa’s Wonderland is a playable grid slot that may deliver some fun with a Christmas theme.