When I hear the phrase ‘The Red Queen’, I can’t help but imagine some sort of Soviet princess… I’m pretty sure that’s not what Pragmatic Play intended when they released their latest online slot ‘The Red Queen’ though! The familiar cast of animal characters seen on the game’s paytable led me to believe that the queen in question was actually the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland … which is close, but still not right – any ideas? While you’re thinking about it, I’ll tell you the key stats of the game! The number of payways used in this title varies from spin to spin – I’m not sure what the maximum might be, but you’re guaranteed at least 243 in each spin. In addition, the maximum jackpot is capped at 5,000 times the total bet, while the RTP is slightly above average at 96.06%.
You’ll probably spot the game’s headline feature within moments of first loading – a sixth reel to the right of the standard play area. When you play the base game, this extra reel can only be unlocked by hitting two or more bonus symbols on the main reels. However, the sixth reel is permanently unlocked during the bonus round, so this is obviously your best chance to win big! Mystery symbols can often seem a bit pointless in my experience, but the ones included here have an extra trick up their sleeve – they can be split into multiple symbols, increasing the number of winning ways available for the current spin.
Have you figured out who Queen is yet? If you’re not sure, take a look at our free demo slot of The Red Queen. All will be revealed in the next section!
THEME, BETS, PAYOUTS & SYMBOLS
Drum roll please…! The Red Queen is a character from Through the Looking-Glass, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. She shares several characteristics with the Queen of Hearts from the first story, but her personalities differ. There must already be at least a dozen online slots on the theme of Wonderland – the latest examples in our review library being In the Rabbit Hole and Alice in Adventureland. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s time Looking Glass got … well, a look in – Let’s find out if Pragmatic Play does this hugely popular children’s story the justice it deserves!
There’s quite a bit to unpack regarding the paytable. The namesake Red Queen takes pride of place at the top of the table, but she payout of just 2.5x The Total Bet for a full payout of five equals isn’t exactly earth-shattering. A higher payout of 5x the bet is available if you manage to hit a six of a kind, but this is only possible during free spins or on the rare occasions The sixth reel is unlocked. The white rabbit can pay 2x or 3.75x the bet for five and six symbols respectively, followed by the Cheshire Cat at 1x/3x, the Wicked Witch at 1x25x/2x and … I’m not sure who the last boy is with payouts of 1x/1.5x! As for the Royals, their payouts range from 0.3x/0.5x for the tens and 0.5x/1.25x for the aces. These numbers certainly won’t impress anyone by themselves, so it’s worth pointing out symbols are stacked on the reels too. In theory, this should help you win on a large number of payways at the same time.
You’re probably familiar with Pragmatic Play’s betting setup exercise – they’re one of the few developers that still give players complete freedom to choose how much to bet. As for the minimum/maximum betting limits, these have been set at €0.20 and €100.00, respectively.
The standard configuration of The Red Queen is five reels of three rows each along with 243 payways. However, this setup is not like any other set in stone mystery symbol that lands on the reels can split into one to four instances of the same paying symbol. A single symbol split into four parts will iIncrease the payway count from 243 to 729, and this effect becomes exponentially greater with each additional mystery symbol.
During the base game a sixth reel is always visible to the right of the main game board. Whenever two or three bonus symbols land, the sixth reel will be unlocked. The sixth reel only contains the highest paying Queen symbol and the bonus scatter during the base game, so this is effectively a second chance feature to increase your chances of triggering a bonus round. If you are unsuccessful, you can at least hope to get six equal ways of winning the highest paying symbol!
Whenever one or more Queen symbols land on the sixth reel, the Queen Re-Spin feature is activated. In this case, the bonus scatter symbols that activate the extra reel turn into multiplier wilds and get locked. The remaining positions are then re-spun, creating an opportunity to hit a large number of winning opportunities with a multiplier of up to 16x.
Bonus scatter symbols only appear on reels two, three and four. You must hit all three to trigger the free spins bonus round, although the additional reel (see above) will give you a second chance if you manage to hit two of the three available symbols.
Immediately after the free spins have been triggered, a clock will reveal the number of free spins you have been awarded for the current bonus round. Each time the clock hand stops at one hour, the corresponding number of free spins is added to your current total. The background of the clock is divided into coloured sections – when the hand stops on a green area, the clock spins again; when it stops on a white area, the bonus round begins.
During Free Spins The sixth reel is always active and contains normal pay symbols instead of the limited set that appears during the base game. Three booster modifiers may also be activated in this area of the game increasing the number of pay ways, adding new multiplier wilds to the reels or adding an extra spin to your remaining total.
REVIEW CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
I’m rarely disappointed with Pragmatic Play’s online slots, and The Red Queen is another worthy addition to the developer’s fast-growing library of high-quality games. Don’t be put off by the small numbers on the paytable – this game is about hitting a large number of payout ways, not one huge combination. It’s a shame that the maximum jackpot is limited to just 5,000 times the total bet, but that’s really my only major complaint.