Moon Warriors Slots
Moon Warriors by High 5 Games, which was released to land-based casinos in 2013, evokes the rich imagery of the late artist Frank Frazetta, whose covers adorned some of the greatest sword and sorcery and space opera books of the 20th century. The Moon Warriors game also pays homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs whose archetypal half-dressed bulky warriors and exotic princesses inspired generations of imitators, movies, and television shows.
Promotional literature for the game doesn't say which moon or world the game is set in, leaving all that up to the player's imagination. The slot game also uses a unique 3-4-5-4-3 grid layout and "720 ways to win" wagering style to enhance the Moon Warriors' exotic feel.
One advantage of this symmetrical grid is that you get to see a little bit more of the game's background painting depicting a waterfall-fed lake on a dark alien world with a temple or observatory perched on a high clifftop between the water and the stars.
The best part about the game may be the Free Spins bonus, which can trigger over and over again.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
Moon Warriors is a 3-4-5-4-3 reel slots video game set on an exotic world. There are 720 ways to win, which is enhanced by allowing winning combinations to pay from left to right or right to left. That means there are really 1440 ways to win on a 19-tile layout, for those who like to do the math.
If you are curious about where the 720 comes from, just multiply the number of tiles on each reel together: 3 * 4 * 5 * 4 * 3 = 720. Each "way" (pay line) uses only 1 tile from any of the 5 grids, but there are 720 combinations altogether.
Only the highest prize per pay line is awarded. In this kind of "multiway" game it is indeed possible to have winning combinations on both sides of a pay line, so the game pays you the best of the two possible prizes.
There are ten symbols in the game including the Wild symbol, which substitutes for everything but the Bonus and Scatter symbols. All of the symbols can be stacked and this affects how the Bonus game is initiated and configured.
The game's logo is the high-value symbol paying 1000 times your bet per line for five-of-a-kind. The next three highest-value symbols are the Silver-haired princess, the Dark-haired princess, and the Warrior.
The low-value symbols are "A", "K", "Q", and "J". All the symbols require at least 3 of a kind on adjacent reels to pay a prize.
The Wild symbol only appears on middle reels 2, 3, and 4. It can be stacked up to 5 times on Reel 3 and contributes toward prizes in either direction as per the highest-prize rule described above.
Betting is based on credits with a coin value of 0.01. Unless the machine you are playing is programmed to display balances and wins in currency, all values are displayed in credits. The game controls are laid at below the playing grid. The left-most control allows you to change the amount of your bet by adjusting the multiplier level. You cannot adjust the base bet of 50 credits or the number of pay lines.
The available multipliers are as follows:
In a US dollar-based game setting the multiplier to X100 means you will bet $50 per spin.
Prizes are calculated in multiples of the 0.01 coin value per credit. For example, if you get 3 MoonWarrior tiles on a spin they'll pay 50 times the base credit/coin value times your chosen multiplier. A multiplier of X10 means you are betting 50 credits times 10 (500 credits, or 5.00) but you win 1 credit (0.01) times 50 (the combination prize) times 10 (the multiplier) for 500 credits (5.00).
When a specially large win occurs the game celebrates with a fireworks display. The size of the win is determined by the ratio of the total prize awarded to the value of your bet.
The total amount of your bet-per-spin is displayed next to the multiplier you have selected.
To the right of the betting window is the window where the amount of the prize awarded for the last spin is displayed above your available credits. These credits are measured in a ratio of 100 to 1 betting credit. In other words, the base bet of 50 credits is only equivalent to .50 of your available credits.
To the right of the credits window are three standard controls found in all High 5 Games slot machines. The Replay button replays the last spin so that you can see what your prizes were. This is a great feature for players who like to record big wins and they miss the opportunity. It's also useful for picking out details of how the tiles change during big wins.
For example, the two princess' tiles change briefly for some prizes, flaring brightly as little fireworks displays go off inside them. The Scatter and Moon Warriors logo tile also flare up when they form winning combinations but the warrior symbol does not seem to do anything.
The Auto Play button allows you to set up 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 automatic spins. The bet per spin is automatically deducted from your balance and is equal to whatever the bet was set to before you clicked on Auto Play. You can stop the Auto Play at any time by clicking on the Stop button that replaces Auto Play.
The number of remaining spins in your Auto Play game is displayed in the Spin button, the last control on the right.
The Spin button also doubles as a Stop button but this only works on the animations. The game's pay table explains that clicking on this Stop won't alter the outcome of any spin; that has already been determined. All it does is reduce the amount of time the game spends on animations, whether that is for the spinning reels or the flashy animations when you win prizes.
Triggering the Bonus Round
The Scatter win is simple enough. When 3 or more of this tile appear anywhere on the grid you are paid some multiple of your total bet:
- 2X bet for 3 Scatters
- 10X bet for 4 Scatters
- 50X bet for 5 Scatters
The Bonus game is pretty cool. You have to roll up the Bonus symbol on at least 1 tile in all five reels. But you could get more than 5 Bonus symbols, in which case all the applicable pay lines are used to determine how many Free Spins you win. The minimum is 8 and the maximum is an eye-popping 240. Even on 8 free spins you could win a substantial amount of prizes.
You also win 50X your bet for each 5-way combination of Bonus symbol tiles.
The game uses a fast transition animation to switch to the Bonus screen. A crescent moon shape zooms out from the screen and expands into a dialog box that tells you how many Free Spins you have won. The background image changes to that of a lush, fertile green valley in broad daylight. The valley seems to be nestled in a crater created by an ancient meteor strike.
The Bonus game uses a new set of reels with the same symbols, but you cannot trigger a new bonus while the Bonus game is in play. When the bonus play is finished the crescent moon transition takes you back to the main gaming screen.
As slots games go Moon Warriors will definitely appeal to the geeks up who grew up reading sword and sorcery or space opera books, especially the fans of artists like Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo, the two leading cheesecake genre fiction book cover artists of the 20th century.
The 3-4-5-4-3 grid layout is still uncommon among slot games. The fact it hasn't caught on much suggests this style of game appeals to a niche market. But Moon Warriors is a definite "must play" game for anyone who likes lots of pay lines.
The dual definitions for "credits" may put off some players and that is a real flaw in the game's design, but only because a different word could have been used for the available credits (like Balance) field on the screen. It's not a deal-killer by any means but people who don't understand the dual uses may at first be confused by how much they are betting.
High 5 Games seems to compensate for this minor deficiency by making it impossible for you to change the number of active pay lines. You are stuck with 720 whether you like it or not, but that simplifies the betting process for you. The prizes are calculated against a base credit or coin value, and that also simplifies the process for you. All you have to do is decide which multiplier you want to use. The multiplier is applied to both your bet and your prize per pay line. The game figures out the rest for you.
And that means you can just focus on the artwork, the animations, and how much your available balance is. Good luck!