Microgaming have offered up this divisive slot, Genie's Gems, that in our opinion takes a step away from the standard we have come to love from the software house. There’s no doubt it’s full of colour, with a cartoon-like feel to the graphics bringing an element of fun, but there’s something amis when you dig a little deeper. Golden minarets, Arabian carpets, magic lamps and a few shiny gems just might not be enough to save this flawed slot.
Presented over a 5 x 3, this 5-reel, 5-line, 5-coin slot has the foundations for a good solid game, with bets starting at 1.25 EUR or equivalent, or 0.25 EUR per line, rising to 25 EUR or equivalent, which is about equal to 5 per line, there is certainly the range of betting choices.
As such though, this game is not one that will bring in the big spenders, those wanting 50/100 EUR spins are going to pass this one by - not one for the exhibitionists. The low bets and the simple gameplay will tempt the newbies and budget conscious, as there are no magic solutions, simply find combinations of three, four or five matching symbols to win prizes.
Simplicity at its heart: a necessary downfall?
There’s nothing modern or cutting-edge about this slot, it’s painfully simple and therefore boring as hell. A dreadful purple hued backdrop taints the game, as you bumble through your spins. The logo sits at the bottom along with the slot’s controls, Spin, Bet Max and Bet One.
Buttons to regulate the betting are also present here, in the form of a plus and minus sign,as well as a help button that brings up an information popup. Pay table can be seen by clicking a tab to the right of the game’s logo.
Audio-wise it’s another let-down, the sound is dated, grating and frankly offensive, especially coming from such a legendary software house as Microgaming. We just turned the browser window sound off and opened Spotify - a nice juxtaposition of gleaming gems and Beethoven’s fifth is great for the soul.
The Genie and the Lamp
Genie’s Gems has nine symbols overall, but don’t get too excited as none of them have any special powers - of course! So you won’t find symbol replacing wilds, or free spins inducing scatters, no special features to trigger and no interesting quirks or multipliers that see your wins boosted.
You might be wondering what the hell this slot has got that would warrant your time? Well, there is a little something. The paytable is incredibly generous, with these regular symbols being given high price tags. Just match the symbols across the reels and get big wins, negating the need for wilds, scatters, multipliers and the rest of it.
Your wins will be calculated by multiplying the number of coins you win by the number played per line, so the more you throw down the more you can potentially get back - a nice and much needed touch.
Let’s face it, looks do count
Graphics are basic as we have alluded to, symbols very flat and two-dimensional, and not in the chic, modern, arty way, in more of a lazy, bargain-basement way. The grid is sparse and quite dull to be honest.
Low value symbols are predictably made up from the playing card deck 10, jack, queen and king. High value symbols are formed by game related icons, such as a golden magic lamp, an Arabian carpet, a minaret, a gem and the Genie himself, complete with token goatee and turban - a tired stereotype, but this is the gambling industry after all.
There’s some value on the cards
Only two symbols payout one credit for just two matching symbols, the 10 and the jack. You’ll get two credits for three 10s, 10 for four and 100 for five.The jack pays two for two, four for three, 20 for four and 200 for five. The queen pays four for three, 40 for four and 400 for five and the king pays five for three, 50 for four and 500 for a line of five.
With the higher value themed symbols, the minaret is the one that you want the least, as it’s not so lucrative at 1,000 for five, 100 for four and 10 for three - not bad though, as mentioned before, for a base/only game. The carpet pays 1,500 for five, 150 for four and 15 for three, while the golden lamp pays 2,500 for five, 250 for four and 25 for three.
The big payers here are the genie and his special blue gem. For the gem you’ll get 50 credits for three, 500 for four and a huge 5,000 for five. This is when those large number on the paytable start to get attractive, but then comes the genie, and you sit up and take notice - 100 for three, 1,000 for four and the 10,000 grand prize for a line of five, making the genie a very lucrative one to bag.
Now yes, we have slated this game, and for good reason: its dreadful to play, look at, listen to and bet big on. However, and it is a justified however, with scores like that attached to these symbols you barely need a feature to make some decent cash. In fact, it even got us thinking about whether we are just being duped into believing that these extra features are necessary.
Wait though, why are we here, playing slots? Is it just to push a few buttons and get given some cash, because that’s essentially just an ATM. We’re after the game, the dance, the flirt. We want games to play hard to get, to cheat us, to flirt with us and tempt us; hell we love being played, right?
And this is why Genie’s Gems just doesn’t cut it for most slot players. They need more than a ‘feed it cash, maybe get more cash back’ kind of interaction. Maybe if it had that little bit higher betting range we might be tempted to rave about it. After all, dropping that kind of cash in could land some lovely wins to wipe that smug look of that genie’s face. But sadly it doesn’t, so we can’t.
Words: David Bailey-Lauring