Andrej’s been around since day one. Let’s just say that he could get around an online casino blindfolded. That’s not to say that he does, he’s a perfectionist at heart. Fine print? There is none with Andrej.
Ainsworth’s Roaming Reels aims to transport players to the wonderous plains of the Serengeti in this African-themed slot game. The name might not suggest it, but this game is actually very straightforward and doesn’t have any sort of learning curve, like more complicated games might have.
The point of this Roaming Reels slot review, though, is to see how Ainsworth Gaming Technology’s contribution to African-themed slots compares to the competition. Should you play this, or Thunderkick’s Pink Elephants, or maybe even WMS’ Raging Rhinos Megaways? Continue reading below to find out.
|Roaming Reels Details|
|House Edge: 5.86%||Return to player: 94.14%|
|Autospin: Yes||Softwares: no download - instant play, mobile, Mac|
|Released: January 1, 2016||Min Bet: 1|
|Max Bet: 75||Scatters: Yes|
|Gamble: No||Max Coins: 1|
|Reels: 5||Paylines: 100|
|Spins: Yes||Bonus Rounds: No|
|Wild: Yes||Software: Ainsworth Gaming Technology|
|Roaming Reels comparison|
|House Edge:||5.86 %||4.02 %|
|Return to player:||94.14 %||95.98 %|
Ainsworth’s Roaming Reels is played on 5 reels and 3 rows, though still features up to 100 paylines. We say “up to” because the player can actually control how many paylines are active, all the way down to a minimum of 1.
Players can wager between £1 and £75 on a single spin, which is plenty of wiggle room to accommodate both casual players as well as some of the higher rollers. Players will also want to note that there are some subtle differences in the pay table between the main game and the bonus round, but we’ll discuss that further below.
The game does have an autospin feature, though this is limited to 25 spins, meaning that the player will find themselves reactivating it every few minutes or so. We’d rather see an autospin limit of 100 or 200 spins, as with most other online slots games, though we’ve seen this limit in other Ainsworth games, so this is just how they do things.
Roaming Reels has a theoretical RTP of 94.14%. This is quite a bit lower than we usually like, though average when compared to other games by Ainsworth, such as Jade Emperor. Roaming Reels is a high volatility slot, meaning it’s better suited for players who like to take risks for big wins than for players who enjoy a steady stream of small and medium wins.
Ainsworth Gaming Technology isn’t exactly known for their groundbreaking or polished designs. A lot of their games are ports of land-based video slot machine games, and this informs a lot of their designs.
When we look at Roaming Reels, in particular, we’re faced with a game that would be completely at home in a land-based video slot machine. For starters, there’s no background music in the base game, just some very tinny, stock “slot” noises. There’s a background track during the bonus round, but this sounds like a loosely African-themed track from the late 80s to early 90s.
The visuals and UI are basic, and all tie in to the African theme, other than the low-paying symbols, which are just 9 to Ace from a deck of cards. None of the individual elements look particularly bad, but they combine to create a distinctly cheap-looking, generic, African-themed online slot game.
As we’ve come to expect from video slots, Roaming Reels has a selection of high paying symbols, low paying symbols, and both a Wild and a Scatter symbol.
The high paying symbols are Africa (i.e. a drawing of the continent), a Zebra, an Emu, a Gazelle, and a Paw print. The low paying symbols are just 9 to Ace from a deck of cards, with 9 and 10, Q and J, and K and A being pairs of identical symbol value. You’ll still need to match up symbols of a kind to activate those paylines, though.
The Wild symbol is the Lion, and this can substitute any other symbol in the game except for the Scatter. The Lion Wild only appears on reels 3, 4, and 5 in the base game, though, meaning you’ll still need to start off your wins with at least two consecutive symbols. This is a little more restrictive than we’d like, but not a dealbreaker by any means. This is offset by the fact that Wilds often appear stacked, and fully stacked at that.
The Wild’s positions also change during the Free Spins round, with the round changing to only appear on reels 1, 3, and 5, which is a much better recipe for wins, especially when taking into account how often the Wild symbols likes to randomly appear as a stacked symbol.
The Scatter symbol is a Tree, and is actually a valued symbol in and of itself. As is common in many other online slot games, the Scatter symbol is also how players access the game’s bonus round. You need at least 3 of them to appear on the reels for this to happen, as well as to retrigger the feature from within the bonus round.
Roaming Reels only has one bonus feature, and that’s a Free Spins Round. While we usually prefer games that have several different bonus features, we’re glad that Roaming Reels’ only one is a free spins feature, as this directly adds value to the players’ experience.
Activating the Free Spins Round is simple enough, you need between 3 and 5 Tree Scatter symbols to appear on the reels. The more Tree Scatters you activate the Free Spins Round with, the more free spins you start the round with, as below:
What’s even better about the Free Spins Round is that players can retrigger the feature to add additional free spins. If 3 or more Tree Scatter symbols appear on the reels during the Free Spins Round, players get an additional 5 spins.
As we mentioned above, the Pay Table is slightly different in the Free Spins Round than it is in the base game, with the most notable exception being the Paw symbol. Landing a winning combination of 3 Paw symbols in the Free Spins Round rewards players with 20x their original stake. Combine this with the generous amount of free spins up for grabs, the stacked Wilds, and the fact that the Free Spins Round can be retriggered, and players can end up taking home some big wins at the end of a Free Spins Round.
Ainsworth Gaming Technology’s Roaming Reels gives players plenty of opportunities to rack up respectable wins with the game’s single bonus feature, though it struggles to keep players engaged or entertained for any significant amount of time. This game isn’t particularly innovative or exciting, and when taking into account the low autospin limit, the terrible audiovisual experience, the low RTP, the high volatility, and the fact that there’s only a single bonus feature, we struggle to find a reason to end this Roaming Reels slot review by encouraging players to try it for themselves.
With so many other slots out there, even in the relatively small African-themed sub-genre, Roaming Reels does a poor job of standing out from the crowd. If you’re looking for a top-notch, African-themed slot, then we recommend taking a look at Thunderkick’s Pink Elephants or WMS’ Raging Rhinos Megaways instead.