Before You Begin Your Epic Journey
Fitting for a book written around the period of the 8th century BC, there are no gimmicks or fancy designs. The main background is grey, with the nearest surrounding areas to the reels being simple grey stone. The only real design is a column either end of the reels.
As there are 5 reels but only paylines, there’s plenty of space so nothing seems cramped. It goes for the ancient and mysterious vibe and nails it. It’s hard to give a sound track to what we think music sounded like in those times, but the simple and exotic horns in the introductory tune do a good job of setting the scene. The other really useful touch is having the background to all the images being a parchment scroll shade. You don’t want many bright colours here.
Going for a Homer Run
The 5 rigid paylines means there isn’t too much in the way of variety of ways you can win but there is plenty of flexibility in the amount of Euros you can play for. You can bet 0.05, 0.10, 0.25, 0.50, 1.0, 2.50, 5.0 and 10.0. You can also decide to use Auto Start which gives you 9 possible settings between 5 and 100. There’s a 95.93% payout rate.
The small and not ‘in-your face’ buttons that are a feature of Merkur games are evident here. You can maximise the screen, check the rules, see the Paytable or change the volume. It would be surprising if you wanted to remove the music as it’s one of the game’s best features. No generic sounds here. A lot of thought has gone into making this the right audio accompaniment. It will be a while before you tire of it.
Things are a little cramped on the Paytable page but all the information is there. Although listed in 3 separate boxes, the top 3 symbols are all worth equal amount. The nymph Calypso, Odyssee’s wife Penelope and the cyclops Polyphemus are worth 1,200 credits for 5 of a kind. These aren’t labelled in the game so you’ll have to look them up. The other symbols are less specific, with a map and a picture of the islands. The rest are made up of Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 and 9 that are all worth the same, though misleadingly put in 2 separate boxes.
Let’s Set Sail
The Wildcard, or Joker as it’s called here, is our heavily bearded Odyssee himself, and is worth a maximum of 8,000 credits for 5 of a kind. It replaces everything except the Scatter and is the most valuable symbol. The ship is the Scatter and is worth up to 2,000 credits, as well as offering 15, 30 or 45 Free Spins. Along with the slightly scary cyclops card, it’s the most noticeable winning line.
It’s also a great touch when games make the extras connect with the game’s theme. Here the Free Spins have a little bit extra, both visually and financially. If you get the 3 or more ships needed, the music changes and the lightning comes out. The number of spins is made clear and during that number a ship moves from bottom right to top left, giving x4 when part of a winning line. Added to this is the fact you can still win extra Free Spins when playing, meaning you can double you chances of winning lines as well as increasing the amount.
The other bonus isn’t as themed or as valuable but’s it’s a nice extra. After any winning hand on a single Spin, you can Gamble Card, Gamble Ladder or Collect. If you press Gamble Card, you have to guess whether the next card will be black or white, including an option of half value for half the amount. The maximum you can win is 140 credits. In Gamble Ladder, a light flickers between two numbers. You click on the higher number until you hit 140, lose or decide to Collect.
Time Travel for Fun
There’s plenty to like here. This Scatter and Wildcard are superbly used, it’s not complicated to play and there’s plenty of inspiration to learn more about the Odyssee poem and its context. Take a step back in time and find your Odyssey with this fun Merkur game.