The Top Five: A Review of Online Slots

On the surface, a hold & win game set amid the African plains doesn’t sound like a rotten cauldron of uniqueness, and for the most part, that’s the case with The Ultimate 5. But Pragmatic Play has been doing this for a long, and they’ve added a few twists that make it seem fresh. The five-animal winning combo bonus, free spins with symbol deletions, and Hold & Spin Super Boost are all highlights of this safari excursion.

When you fire up The Ultimate 5, you’ll see a similar scene: a grassy area of Africa with trees, a stream, and mountains in the background serving as a backdrop for a five-reel game panel. The Hold & Spin feature’s five potential payouts are listed to the right, like in Wolf Gold’s bonus game. Wolf packs have been replaced by the “big five” in this sequel’s ecosystem. The Ultimate 5 would be quite corny, and it really is sort of clichéd, but Pragmatic has packed in a bouncing physical slot vibe through the soundtrack and vivid images, so there is bound to be appeal for gamers interested in this type.

With a theoretical return to player (RTP) value of 96.5%, The Ultimate 5 is another solid offering from Pragmatic Play. It’s worth noting that even at low levels, RTP may be discovered, however volatility is consistently strong. There are 20 fixed paylines spread over 5 reels and 3 rows. This often occurs when three or more identical symbols appear in neighboring reels starting on the leftmost reel.

Low-paying 10-through-Ace card symbols are offset by the big five African animals, and wagers may range from 20 pence to £/€100. Wildebeest, rhinos, elephants, leopards, and lions are all shown here. Winnings range from 1x to 2x the wager for a winning line of five low-pay symbols to 4x to 20x the wager for a winning line of five premium symbols. If, however, all five animals appear on a payline in any sequence, players earn 100 times their wager. Finally, the wild acacia symbol may be used in place of any other pay sign (excluding the 100x all animal winnings) in this game.

The Top 5 Slot Machine Functions

The Ultimate 5 now has two more bonus rounds. They are a symbol-erasing free spins bonus and an upgraded hold & win bonus.

Bonus Turns

Scatter diamonds appear on all reels; collecting 3, 4, or 5 of them rewards 5, 25, or 50 times the wager, plus 8, 10, or 12 free games, accordingly. Whenever the free spins feature is active, the lowest-value symbol on the reels will be replaced at random. After reaching the fifth random level, the low-value symbols can be eliminated. A random level up will always result in a wild symbol appearing. Finally, small diamond symbol overlays can be landed to extend the bonus game. Two, three, four, or five of them appearing at the same moment triggers two, four, six, or eight extra spins, respectively.

Power Up While You Hold and Spin

The searing hot sun on the currency symbol may be exaggerating how intense the heat actually is in some places of Africa. Money symbols only appear on reels 2, 3, and 4 in the main game, but they can appear on any reel in the Hold & Spin bonus round. Cash icons can pay out anywhere from 1x to 10x the wager or one of five fixed prizes. Mini, Minor, Major, Maxi, and Mega payouts are respectively 25x, 75x, 100x, and 500x the wager. When at least three of them are hit, the Hold & Spin Super Boost feature is activated, clearing the grid of all symbols save the money symbols that triggered it.

The initial three respins in the bonus game are reset if new currency symbols appear. When one currency sign collides with another currency symbol that is either vertically or horizontally adjacent to it, the two symbols connect to form a group. When a new symbol is added to a set, the value of all the others in the set rises to accommodate the increase. An 8x becomes a 10x, a 10x becomes a Mini, a Maxi into a Mega, and so on.

The game continues until either all available slots are taken or all respins have been used up. When the round is over, you won’t get paid for any money symbols that appeared but didn’t connect. All monetary icons on the screen have their worth multiplied by a factor of Mega if all places are filled and linked.

The Final Five: Slots’ Biggest Wins

First impressions of The Ultimate 5 are confirmed after some time with the game: it doesn’t appear to advance the genre too much. But there are certain hidden features in The Ultimate 5 that experts could like. This is true of both the main game and the extra features, albeit the free spins did tend to be less thrilling than the Hold & Spin because they activated at a far lower frequency.

Since the symbols were removed at random during free spins, the feature wasn’t as exciting as the collection/upgrade system in, example, Pink Elephants. There is no set pattern or rationale for when removals occur. In addition, only low-pay symbols can be swapped out, which might be beneficial if it results in 100x payouts for five animals. These were more prevalent than had been thought at first, but they were still uncommon.

If you manage to keep a steady stream of improvements coming in, the Hold & Spin twist element might be quite intriguing. The final goal is to fill the board, at which point every spot awards a Mega reward. However, since Pragmatic has set payouts at 5,000x, even a full grid of Megas would only be worth 5,000x. This is a bit strange.

The Ultimate 5, despite its generic theme and visuals, is a fun slot game with a few unique features. While hardly revolutionary, this Pragmatic Play offering has some fresh mechanics that will appeal to fans of the studio.

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