Shields of the Wild Online Slot Machine – Free Play & Review
It’s not easy to face the enemy in combat. To stare down the opposing army, knowing those on the front lines will most certainly meet their end to begin with, as swords, spears and arrows all come to end the life of a warrior prematurely. So while all those things are important, above them all is the humble, yet effective shield. Whether a wooden buckler, or a wall made of solid metal, it’s usually the one thing standing between you and the enemy killing you.
Shields of the Wild is a NextGen Gaming release, which features upgrading symbols and stacked icons filling the reels. Symbols include various types of shields, eight of them, to be exact. A large, purple shield with the game’s logo is the Wild. A sword with a red hilt is the Scatter, which turns blue and into an upgrade during one of the special features.
Both gambling giants, NetEnt and Microgaming, became as large as they have because of their head starts, and the fact they realised early online gambling, and later, mobile gambling, would take off as much as they did. NextGen Gaming did exactly the same – founded in 1999, the Australian group created a slew of popular, fun titles that made them indispensable for just about every casino out there.
However, unlike NetEnt and Microgaming, NextGen focused on the B2B aspect of things, licensing their games to bigger brands and casinos. The team lasted until 2011, when it was acquired by NYX Gaming, which, in turn, would be bought out by Scientific Games. This means nowadays, NextGen sits under the same umbrella as Barcrest and WMS – certainly a rather cosy spot.
How to Play it
The title is played on a 5×3 playing field with 10 fixed paylines. Gamblers can only increase your decrease their total wagers in order to adjust their bet. The betting range sits from $0.10 up to $100 per spin, which is a great spread, covering both casual gamblers and high rollers, while leaving plenty of options for just about every shade of gambler in between those two. While Shields of the Wall has an Autoplay function, you can only choose how many spins it will carry out – no win or loss limits or single win thresholds.
That said, the background image is pretty cool, even though we wish the game wasn’t so vague as to what was going on. It’s clear these people are on the way to ruin someone’s day, but whose day is getting ruined? What for? The theme could use a bit of fleshing out. That said, the small effect of leaves blowing across the playing field looks gorgeous.
The game has two special features. The first is called Shield Wall, and is triggered randomly. This will take all symbols, except for Wilds and Scatters, and upgrade them to the icon above them. This can be done up to eight times, with wins only paid out after the feature ends.
Three or more Scatters rewards Marching Stacks. The more Scatters activate the bonus, the better quality of shields can appear stacked on reel five. The Scatter symbol is turned into the Upgrade icon. When Upgrade appears, it upgrades the symbols in the stack to the one above them, increasing its total value.
When no Upgrade symbol is available, the stacked symbols move to the next reel, while the one behind them clones from the current stack. The feature ends when all five reels are covered with stacked symbols. Its possible for the feature to be retriggered at the end, though it seems to be entirely random if that happens or not.
The largest win you can score in Shields of the Wild is 2500x the wager, which is only achievable with the Marching Stacks special feature. Despite the heavy emphasis on special features, this game has a medium volatility, which balances steady wins and large jackpots. The RTP for this game is 96.53%, which is above average for video slots.
A great jackpot, super powerful special features, and a game that’s been insanely fun to play and enjoy. NextGen’s titles can be hit or miss at times, but this one most certainly checks all the boxes. The graphics could use a bit more work, but everything else is amazing, and we warmly recommend trying it out.
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