Montezuma Review

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5.4

Mediocre

5.9

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‚ÄúFortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.‚ÄĚ

There is a common view amongst people in the casino industry that in the general course games follow certain typecasts. These tend to be around generic theming of a slot title and many developers are coaxed back to these stables every few releases. Before I even start this sentence you know what I mean: Caribbean pirates, Ancient Egypt,¬†Spanish¬†conquistadors, Irish folklore, the Dynasties of Ancient China (see Choy Sun Doa Review), Aristocratic high society, and of course,¬†Mesoamerica culture; the latter being relevant here. Now personally I don’t know if the production of these games is the dog wagging the tail or the tail wagging the dog, but regardless Williams Interactive went back to this safe haven for Montezuma.

montezuma-screenshot-1
  • Specs
As the name of the game would imply, this game follows an Aztec theme.  It has 30 lines, and you have to play all the lines, and the expected return is 95.86%.  The major symbols are in keeping with the Aztec theme.  They are a Montezuma, a priestess, an eagle, a headdress, a gold mask, and a snake.  The minor symbols had no thought put into them whatsoever, because their adornments have nothing to do with the Aztec theme.  The royal symbols are adorned with European medieval times artefacts, namely a diamond for the Ace, a crown for the King and Queen, and a banner for the Jack.  The Special symbols are the wild, which is an Aztec pyramid, and a roulette wheel for the scatter.  I think the roulette wheel is supposed to be an Aztec calendar, but it looks like a roulette wheel, and, not surprisingly when you trigger free games, it works just like a roulette wheel.
  • Features
I have a preconceived expectation of games nowadays to have features.  The most basic of features is a free game bonus.  In the case of this game, the only feature that it has is a free game bonus, but the free game bonus has a nice perk.  When you trigger the free games, a roulette wheel spins to give you a certain number of free games.  Once you start to play, the aforementioned perk is that as the wheels spin on the main board, to top of a roulette wheel protrudes from the top of the board.  When the reels stop spinning, you get a multiplier with your spin.  If you retrigger free games, the multiplier is locked while you play out the newly acquired free games, and when you finish playing your retriggered free games, your multiplier is unlocked for the remaining free games.
montezuma-screenshot-6

I think the roulette wheel is supposed to be an Aztec calendar, but it looks like a roulette wheel, and, not surprisingly when you trigger free games, it works just like a roulette wheel.

Setting aside the visuals which are underwhelming as above, the actual paytable itself is slightly confusing. You have 4 symbols with a clear hierarchy from J to A paying the same for 5OAK (1.66x). You then have 2 symbols that seem to have a hierarchy to the gold head oddly paying the same 2.33x for 5OAK. Furthermore you have 3 more indistinguishable symbols paying 3.16x, 5.66x, and 7.33x at 5OAK and honestly once I’ve looked at the paytable and gone back into the game, I’ve already forgotten which is the valuable one. The top symbol pays 9x which is okay and looks the part, but, honestly, when combined with the wild and understanding that this symbol stacks on the reels, again, it’s not easy to understand which symbols are valuable.

  • Game play

I played 500 spins on this game. For how few major symbol combinations I saw, I would expect to see at least animated symbols, but the game just raises the winning symbols out of the board whenever any winning combination is hit. I started off doing pretty well. Within my first few combinations, my credit meter went up by a little bit. However, that soon changed.

montezuma-screenshot-4

After my initial run of good luck, I dipped below my initial balance, and the wins were so small from then on, that I never returned to my initial balance again. Even my second of two total free game triggers, which paid reasonably well, only paid 41 times my bet, and this wasn’t enough to return me to my initial balance. At the end of my 500 games, my return was a paltry 66%. I saw very very few combinations with the top two symbols. With this sort of observed return, I had to go back to the paytable to see just how large the top award was, considering that with lots of small wins, 66% is all I had managed. As it turns out, the top award isn’t even all that impressive. So, I must have just been unlucky in my session.

Montezuma Screenshot 5
RTP Challenge

As I mentioned above, I triggered free games twice.  3 times if you consider that I retriggered them once.  I was playing at 30 cents per game, or 1 cent per line.  My observed trigger rate is pretty high at  1 in 250 games compared to a lot of other games.  My total wins for my free game sessions were 26.33, and 40.66 times my bet respectively.  I am accustomed to more frequent triggers, but the game made up for it by awarding me reasonably large prizes for the triggers.

Monetzuma Bonus Results
Bonus TriggerFreespinsTriggering Line WinTotal Bonus Win
Bonus 15 Freespins with no retriggers0.107.90
Bonus 26 Freespins with 10 retriggered at 2x0.0012.20

The base game had a drawn out hit rate with a lot stinker pays paying below the bet. In the 500 spins only 3 wins were beyond 0.95 (~3x win) being 7.30, 1.65,  and 3.80. From the session you can understand why the balance was so depleted given the size and sparsity of the wins.

The low RTP I observed leads me to believe that the game is designed to be volatile.¬† That is to say have some very large but very rare pays.¬† The max award isn’t all that large, but in seeing the reel layout when the reels stopped spinning, I noticed that the Montezuma chief symbol only appears in stacks.¬† So, this lends credibility to my assumption that the game must have some large but rare pays.¬† I only triggered the bonus twice, but each time I received a fairly large award, though they were not large enough to counter my losses in any significant way.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like the game. It was quick, the presentation was colourful and crisp. The UI felt plumbed on in parts but that’s forgivable as it didn’t detract from the gameplay. It was just quite dull and once you’ve spent enough time with it to understand how the game feels, you quickly realise that it’s a game that requires some long sessions to make the most of. For me if a developer wants me to dedicate myself to long drawn out slot sessions then those bonuses need to be engaging and fun, which is where Montezuma drops the ball.

Good

  • The game is super easy to understand
  • Classic slot style with focused appeal
  • Freespin bonus felt rewarding

Bad

  • The game very much lacked originality
  • It felt like most of the time nothing was happening
  • Symbols were confusing with lack of hierarchy in the paytable
  • Single Freespin bonus
5.4

Mediocre

Presentation - 6
Accessibility - 8
Features - 6
Uniqueness - 3
Enjoyment - 4

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