Mayan Riches Slot Machine
Worldwide slot manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) released its Mayan Riches slot machine in 2007, adding yet another Mayan themed title to casino floors.
Seemingly every major slot designer in the industry has crafted their own take on the Mayan theme, relying on modern curiosity about the ancient Central American civilization to create a generic slot template. Among the rivals to IGT's Mayan Riches game are Mayan Treasures by Bally Gaming, Sun and Moon and Fire Light by Aristocrat Leisure, and Mayan Chief by Konami.
The Mayan people thrived throughout modern day Mexico and Guatemala during the 16th century, becoming one of the most advanced civilizations in the Americas before the arrival of Spanish explorers spelled their doom. Even before that, however, the Mayans were building immense pyramids and other monuments, developing agricultural practices, and studying astronomy - dating back for more than 2,000 years.
Today, well preserved Mayan cities like Teotihuacan and Tikal provide visitors with a glimpse into prehistory, with expertly carved statues and temples offering a tangible connection to one of the Americas' first cultures.
With the seemingly universal appeal of ancient civilizations in mind, slot machine manufacturers like IGT and its collection of competitors have developed games like Mayan Riches for one simple reason: recognition.
Everybody studied the ancient peoples as a school child, and even if you didn't grow up to be a historian, this basic connection provides an entry point to the game. All of us don't watch Sex and the City, or appreciate the musical stylings of Elvis, so these specialized themed slots serve a niche segment of the market. But games like Mayan Riches, with their broader focus and recognizable theme, provide a perfect entry point for slot players who don't yet have a favorite title.
The title screen shown to passersby is pretty barebones in its design, featuring the title written out in big blocky font, overlaid on an engraved stone tablet.
During the actual game, the background screen shifts to a lush green jungle environment, reminiscent of the Mayan people's ancient homeland. The game's title is displayed in gold font, with small accoutrements meant to signify a pyramid like structure and other monuments.
The reel symbols used in Mayan Riches begin with the basic card rank symbols, running from 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A. In terms of themed symbols, IGT went with the gold faced idol, the golden cup, the Mayan priestess, the Mayan warrior, the ancient pyramid, and the Bonus symbol.
Overall, the visual scheme of Mayan Riches isn't anything to write home about, offering a basic graphics that don't require much in the way of detail. In fact, without the word "Mayan" in the title, the onscreen images could easily be used for an Aztec or Incan themed slot game. For the most part, IGT appears to have taken the path of least resistance when designing Mayan Riches, slapping a "native culture" template together and applying it over standard slot gameplay.
The game does feature a catchy soundtrack which is meant to mimic tribal chanting, and this provides a sense of balance to the bland graphics. In recent years, IGT has adapted Mayan Riches online casino play through its IGT Interactive brand.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
Mayan Riches is a standard five reel, 40 pay line video slot machine following the usual IGT structure. At four symbols per reel, you'll be cycling through 20 reel symbols on each spin.
Classified as a penny slot, Mayan Riches begins with a minimum coin denomination of just $0.01, but players can up the coin value to $0.02, $0.05, and so on through the maximum of $20.00.
But even as a so called penny slot, with 40 pay lines in play, Mayan Riches really becomes a $0.40 per spin minimum game by design. As experienced slot players know quite well, playing anything less than the maximum number of pay lines eats away at your overall payback percentage, thus increasing the house edge against you, because additional bonus features and higher jackpot payouts are made available only by max betting.
With this in mind, consider the minimum bet per spin on Mayan Riches to be $0.40, while the maximum spin can climb all the way to $800. A standard way to play the game would be to toggle the coin denomination up to $0.05, making it a nickel slot, and playing the full 40 pay lines for a $2.00 per spin experience.
Mayan Riches is a fairly basic IGT video slot design, so the game involves wild symbols, stacked wilds, a multiplier on payouts, and a free spins bonus feature. Unfortunately for fans of the large progressive jackpots that are all the rage among the slot community, the original Mayan Riches machines don't participate in any progressives.
With that said, you may encounter a Mayan Riches machine offering the "MultiPLAY" feature, which essentially allows players to spin four different game screens at once - with each offering a small progressive jackpot meter. This page focuses on the original Mayan Riches title, however, so subsequent information will cover the classic version of the game and its online adaptation.
For a rundown of Mayan Riches' basic game specifications, see the list below:
- Wilds: Yes
- Free Spins: Yes
- Multiplier: Yes, for 2x
- Bonus Game: Yes
- Progressive: No
- Return to Player: 87.5% 98.0%
The base game has you playing for a standard IGT video slot pay table, and one that leans towards the smaller side of the industry spectrum.
The game's jackpot payout of 1,000 credits can be triggered by landing five of the ancient pyramid symbols on an activated pay line. Landing four ancient pyramid symbols is good for a return of 200 credits, while three of them brings back a payout of 50 credits.
The ancient pyramid symbol also serves as the wild symbol in Mayan Riches, so it can replace any other symbol on the screen - except for the Bonus symbol - to create winning combinations.
Both the Mayan warrior and Mayan priestess symbols pay out 400, 100, and 25 credits for landing five, four, or three of them, respectively. The gold faced idol and golden cup symbols follow the 250 / 75 / 20 payout structure.
As for the card rank symbols, you'll receive a payout of 150 credits for landing five As or five Ks, and 100 credits for landing five of the Qs, Js, 10s, or 9s.
According to IGT's product specifications and marketing literature for Mayan Riches, the game offers a "High" level of volatility. This means the game's win probabilities are designed to dispense payouts sporadically when compared to alternative titles. Coupled with a relatively high minimum wager of $0.40 when playing all pay lines, players can quickly burn through a few deposits before landing any winners of note.
The ancient pyramid symbol's status as Mayan Riches' wild symbol was mentioned earlier, but it bears repeating, because this is the most important symbol in the game. Using the fan favorite Stacked Wilds feature, Mayan Riches tends to drop the ancient pyramid wild symbol in stacks that take up two, three, or all four spaces on a single reel. When this happens, especially with a four symbol stack of ancient pyramid wild symbols on the first reel, you'll generate a tremendous amount of winning combinations elsewhere on the screen.
The ancient pyramid wild symbol can replace any other symbol in the game to create winning combinations, except for the Bonus symbol.
This symbol, so called because it depicts the word "BONUS" in gold font, only appears on the second, third, and fourth reels - or the middle reels. By itself, a Bonus symbol does nothing whatsoever, and even a pair of them on the screen won't create winners. But when you land three Bonus symbols on the middle three reels, the game will apply a multiplier of 2x to any wins generated on that spin.
Even better? When three of the Bonus symbols appear, you'll also activate the Mayan Riches free spins bonus round.
Triggering the Bonus Round
In this game, seeing three Bonus symbols on the middle three reels is a double whammy - in a good way. First, you'll have any base game winners landed on that spin paid out by double, using the 2x multiplier.
The real reward, however, is the addition of five free bonus spins to your menu after landing the three Bonus symbols.
From there, your next five spins won't cost a single coin, and all winning combinations will be paid out based on the coin denomination used during the bonus triggering spin. Five free spins may not seem like all that much - and indeed, the total pales in comparison to some of the free spin allotments out there today - but even so, any spins that don't require a fee are a windfall for slot players.
And if you happen to get on a roll with Bonus symbols and land three more on any of your free spins, the bonus feature will be reactivated, and you'll receive five more free spins. This process can occur multiple times, up to 255 free spins in fact, so a hot streak of Bonus symbols on the reels can create a chain reaction of free winnings.
Players looking for more dimensions to the bonus game - an interactive guessing game, multiple options to choose from, or spin the wheel jackpots - will be sorely disappointed by Mayan Riches.
Aside from awarding five free spins, the game doesn't include any other bonus features or side games to speak of. Simply put, with Mayan Riches, the base game is what you'll be working with on every spin.
The only thing players can anticipate is a rebate on their money whenever they trigger the free spins bonus round, but even then, the reprieve from spending coins only lasts a paltry five spins.
The real objective as a player is to trigger the free spins bonus round, and then land stacked wilds on the first reel of subsequent spins. This will create significant payouts from multiple winners across the 40 pay lines, without removing a single penny from your bankroll.
Overall, Mayan Riches is a game befitting its generic theme, and veteran slot players will quickly grow tired of its one dimensional gameplay. With nothing to supplement the base game - even a gimmicky "Gamble" feature for pressing payouts on guessing game - Mayan Riches presents players with a straightforward, simplistic slot experience. Coupled with the game's high level of volatility, Mayan Riches is a slot built for gamblers with money to burn - or perhaps history buffs who simply enjoy the game's thematic design.