Back in Time
While the Pharaoh video slot definitely uses the Egyptian theme – the name alone ensures that – it doesn’t do so in the same way as many of the other titles that are based on this ancient civilization. Instead, the background theming is pretty light here, and the tone of the machine is cartoonish and welcoming rather than historic or mysterious. Sure, you’ll see a few hieroglyphics on the reels, but for the most part, this is just a standard machine with a few reminders that this game is set in the Egypt of several thousand years ago.
If you’re a high roller, you’ll be happy to know that it’s possible to bet up to €250 on a single spin. However, many low limit options are also available, so just about any player should be able to fit this title into their gaming budget. One disappointment is that a play for free version isn’t available at this time. On the bright side, we’re happy to report that this machine has compatibility with a wide range of devices, from mobile phones to laptop and desktop computers, with no download needed in order to get started.
Of Kings and Pharaohs
The action on the Pharaoh video slot takes place on a five-reel, 3×5 layout that contains 30 paylines. The object of the game is to match identical symbols from left to right across the reels, with three or more in a row needed for most winning combinations. At the lower-end of the prize range, hitting combinations of the ever-present card game ranks will earn players some smaller rewards.
Larger prizes start with books that feature hieroglyphics, and continue with scarabs and treasure chests. The largest payouts come from making combinations of game logos. With this symbol, it’s possible to earn a consolation prize just by hitting two in a row, while finding five on the same line will earn you 500 times your line bet, the biggest standard win available on this machine. Players can also hit wild symbols that act as substitutes, filling in for any other icon in order to complete winning paylines, or scoring their own wins (equal in size to those won using the logo symbols).
A Tourist Trap
The special features in this game are triggered by hitting three bonus symbols on the reels during a single spin. When this occurs, you’ll be taken to a second screen mini game where you’ll roll dice to move around a screen filled with various Egyptian monuments. The result of this roll will determine which of three bonuses you’ll get to play through. The options available include:
- Free Spins: This game starts with the player getting to spin a wheel, which will reveal how many spins players get in the feature. Players continue spinning for the opportunity to gain multipliers and extra wilds on the screen. Once you hit a “stop” wedge on the wheel, you’ll start the free games, with all of the extra enhancements you picked up during the wheel portion of the feature.
- Pharaoh Wild Spins: In this game, you’ll get four free spins. Before each round, you’ll watch as two additional wilds are added to the screen. These will stay on until the end of the feature, though their positions may change between spins. By the end of the feature, you’ll have a set of reels with eight added wilds that can greatly improve your chances of making winning combinations.
- Pyramid of Prizes: This game starts with players at the bottom steps of a pyramid. You must pick one spot at that bottom level, revealing an instant prize or an arrow taking you up to the next level. The feature can end in one of two ways: either you’ll hit a collect symbol, which will end the action immediately, or you’ll reach the top, after which you’ll get all of your earned rewards plus be sent to one of the other two features as an added bonus.
True gamblers may also be interested in the Fortune Bet feature. This optional wager can be triggered by hitting the fortune bet button on the screen, which will increase the cost of your spins by 50%. In exchange for the added charge, all of the bonus symbols will become twice as tall as normal, making it easier to trigger the various special features on the machine.
The Riddle of the Sphinx
Whether you typically enjoy Egyptian themes or not, there’s a lot of enjoyable gameplay to be found in Pharaoh. The multitude of potential bonuses means that there’s always something new to discover while you’re playing, which allows the action to remain interesting even after many sessions. While the Egyptian theme isn’t as heavy as in some other games, we think that most players will be more interested in the variety of features than the setting – and on that score, this is a valuable new addition to the William Hill collection.