Montezuma Review

  • 28 Aug 2023
  • Jacob




“Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.”


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.


  • 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.

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.

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.

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.



  • presentation : 6
  • accessibility : 8
  • features : 6
  • uniqueness : 3
  • enjoyment : 8


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


  • 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

Gonzo’s Quest Review

  • 28 Aug 2023
  • Rob




The Discovery of El Dorado


According to many media publications Net Entertainment’s Gonzo’s Quest is one of the most successful modern slot games in recent times. Success is a real-money gambling game is so subjective and most of the time boils down to net game revenue. Of course it’s hard to obtain such figures openly so I thought I’d put the game through Return to Player’s objective review criteria to see how it fares.


The game is themed around Gonzalo Pizzaro’s expedition to locate the famed city of Eldorado, which is a rich narrative to exploit, particularly as the player can feel part of the gold quest. As with all NetEnt’s titles from the last 2 years, you can expect high production values, a CGI intro, in-game character animations and a pretty standard NetEnt UI. In terms of aesthetics and symbol design the team from Stockholm have really done a great job on the desktop version.


The game is colourful, utilising strong colours to represent and distinguish the symbols – chasing the bonus symbol (Freefall symbol) and mapping the wilds to the completing paylines is as easy as it gets.

The reel speed is well timed also and when you factor in all the additional animations, the overall game cycle is perfect.



The wins are reinforced well with some nice connecting animations and the game smartly avoids rewarding stinker pays. Sounds are as you’d expect high quality and fit well with the overall Aztecan theme. A nice mix of what I can only describe as orchestral jungle sounds and panpipes. I did find the occasional grunts of Gonzalo slightly annoying but they didn’t happen all that often. Overall the presentation and packaging of the game is flawless. The one criticism that I have is that the HTML5 version is less than stellar. There is nothing particularly wrong with it per se, but a lot of the whistles and bells from the desktop version are missing and performance seems far too slow. Given how good NetEnt’s recent mobile variants are (see Aliens), it makes me think that Gonzo’s Quest was one of the early To-Go titles that didn’t quite reach its full potential.


The mechanics of Gonzo’s Quest are pretty basic to be honest. The key feature is that of the ‘Avalanche Reels’ or to you and me, cascading reels.


I’m starting to dislike game developers who wrap up well known mechanics into new and frankly needless handles purely so the marketing department has something new to spin.

The bonus game is basically a free spin feature but they’ve called it ‘Freefall’ so, you know, it’s different from all the other free spin bonus features out there 😉 A really neat addition to both the base game and bonus game however is that they have a win line multiplier which increases with the more win lines you connect. The use of the multiplier really puts emphasis on the base game wins and really draws the player in as you start to analyse the game window to see what wins lines you have and what potential wins you’ll get after the Avalanche. In the Bonus game the multiplier increases again meaning that if you manage to chain together 3 or 4 combinations you can be looking at 9x or 15x bet multiplier (respectively). The great thing about the game maths is that chaining together 4 cascading wins isn’t an infrequent event. I can’t recall if at the time that Gonzo’s Quest went live this feature was widely adopted in other games, but regardless NetEnt have taken it and made it very special.


The published RTP rating of Gonzo’s Quest is 96.00%, which seems to be the middle ground between house edge and a return that players are happy with. Gonzo’s Quest has a decent hit frequency and isn’t a hugely volatile game so appeals to more casual or softer gamblers alike. The bonus round frequency is quite low and at many times I was spinning in excess of 100 spins before hitting the bonus; However as mentioned above the base game is hugely enjoyable to play standalone so you’ll not feel too hard done by.


Saying that this game is good is an understatement. Gonzo’s Quest is brilliant. It’s a perfect example of what happens when you pull together a brilliant maths model and game design, high quality art and sound, and a rich theme that is welcoming to the majority of players alike. I started this review stating that Gonzo’s Quest is one of the most successful modern slot games in recent times, and 3 hours and ~4500 characters later, I can fully understand why.



  • presentation : 9
  • accessibility : 10
  • features : 8
  • uniqueness : 8
  • enjoyment : 10


  • Extremely Accessible
  • Perfect Pacing
  • Fantastic Narrative


  • Basic Features
  • Mobile Optimisation Lacking