The Vanishing Act Slot Machine
High 5 Games released The Vanishing Act video slot game in 2011 to land-based casinos. It was later added to their online games inventory and is now available on mobile apps and RMG online. The game features Super Stacks and fast-paced music.
The premise of the game is that several magicians (three young men and two young women) are honing their skills as escape artists. Players help them escape their bonds by winning big prizes.
Stage magicians have been popular for hundreds of years. The Vanishing Act capitalizes on the interest the public has in the arts of illusion. The Escape Artist meme is undoubtedly an homage to Harry Houdini, considered by most modern magicians and audiences to be a master of the art of stage magic and an inspiration to generations of performers.
In fact, the three male magicians are all performing tricks for which Harry Houdini was well known.
With a theoretical return to player of 94.9% The Vanishing Act promises to be an exciting and rewarding game.
Reels & Symbols
The Vanishing Act is a 5-reel, 4-row video slot game with 40 pay lines. Prizes are paid left to right and because of the Super Stacks feature many pay lines may pay a prize at the same time. Prizes are determined via multiplying the played bet per line by the credits listed in the pay table. Only the highest value prize is awarded per pay line.
The game's logo serves as its Wild symbol. The highest prize paid is 5000 times bet per line for 5 Wild symbols in a valid combination on any pay line. The Wild symbol animates with a flourish as if it is the opening screen for a movie or television show.
The Free Games symbol only appears on reels 2, 3, and 4. All three reels must fill up with the symbol to trigger the Free Games bonus.
The three male magicians pay prizes for 2-of-a-kind and they have maximum prize values of 50, 40, and 30 times bet per line.
The Magician in the Red coat waves his free hand when his symbol participates in a winning combination. He is wearing hand-cuffs and has just freed himself.
The Magician in the White straightjacket is hanging upside down and sways slightly as he works to get free of his bonds when his symbol forms part of a winning combination.
The shirtless Magician is trapped in a water-filled cage and struggling to escape when his symbol contributes to a winning combination.
The two young women gesture toward the screen as if they are magicians' assistants helping to distract the audience while the men perform their tricks when their symbols contribute to winning combinations.
All five major symbols briefly play their animations in place of 12 tiles if a large enough group of adjacent tiles pay a prize.
The remaining symbols in the game are "A", "K", "Q", "J", and "10".
All of the symbols can appear on Super Stacks, which fill entire reels. It is possible for the entire screen to fill up with one symbol or one symbol and one or more Wild symbols.
The online game controls are all positioned below the playing screen, which is drawn against a background image of a strong box that is wrapped in chains. Harry Houdini had himself locked inside such a box and dropped into a river in one of his most famous stunts.
The betting controls, positioned in the lower left, consist of a Lines widget for adjusting the number of active pay lines and a Per Line widget for adjusting the amount to be bet per line. Both widgets use up and down arrows to allow players to scroll through their options.
You can choose from 1, 10, 20, 30, and 40 active pay lines
You can choose from 0.01, 0.05, 0.10, 0.25, 1.00, 2.00, 5.00, and 10.00 to bet per line.
The number of active pay lines is multiplied by the bet per line to display the total BET amount made each time a spin is initiated.
The Win and Credits window shows you what the sum of the last group of prizes paid was (for the previous spin) and also what your available credits are.
You can use the Replay control to watch your previous spin or bonus game as many times as you wish. The bonus game plays all the way through.
The Question mark icon is used to activate the help system, which displays 18 horizontally scrolling screens.
The Speaker icon toggles game sound on and off.
The Auto Play button prompts you to choose from 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 spins the game will initiate for you. You can click on the Auto Play button at any time to deactivate the feature and the remaining spins are displayed on the Spin button to the right as they count down.
Use the Spin button to initiate a single game. Your wager is deducted from your available credits each time a spin begins and the game stops if you don't have enough credits to cover the wager.
You can also use the Spin button to stop the animations but though it appears to change the outcome of the game it really does not. As soon as a spin is initiated the computer determines the outcome of the game. The animations are just for effect.
Triggering the Bonus Round
When 12 Free Games symbols line up on reels 2, 3, and 4 the Free Games bonus round begins. You win 7 free games and the bonus round uses a different set of reels. The Free Games bonus cannot be won again during a Free Games bonus, so 7 spins is all you get each time.
A brief animation plays as you transition into the bonus round. A set of red curtains (also shown in the game's logo/Wild symbol) closes on a stage and opens up to reveal the bonus round.
All the game's normal symbols except the Free Games symbol are represented in the bonus round and they are all converted to Super Stacks more often than in the regular game.
In other words, whereas in the regular game you may see symbols individually scroll by, in the bonus round everything is part of a Super Stack.
People who love Super Stacks should enjoy playing The Vanishing Act. The Super Stacks make it relatively easy to win prizes. The prize-per-combination limits are very low, except for the Wild symbol. The use of low-value 5-of-a-kind prizes usually implies a lot more wins. As noted above High 5 Games says this game's theoretical return to player is 94.9%, which is considered to be very good for slot machines, which can have RTPs as low as 60% in some areas.
What happens in the game is still determined by random chance but players do like the Big Win moments in any slot game, and as long as it's more exciting and pays fairly the game is fun to play.
The little flourishes are nice, not too grandiose. The subtlety in the tile animations may be lost on some people. It is almost as if the characters are inviting you in to share the magic of their illusions with them. They have paused in their escape acts to share a special moment with you. This is a nod to the way stage magicians often gesture silently to the audience (they rarely speak while performing).
The game's soundtrack uses standard riffs from the High 5 Games repertoire. The ambient sounds will be familiar to anyone who has played High 5 Games' machines in the past, but it's suitable because slot machine games are part illusion and part staging, much like stage illusionists' acts are.
The only thing the game might be missing is an Easter egg, a little surprise you stumble across while playing. Maybe they'll give that some thought if they launch a Vanishing Act II game.