If you’re a gambler who was wondering, Adam Blake’s novel The Demon Code isn’t based on a slot machine. NextGen Gaming, a partner of SG Digital, has released the first grid-based slot machine. The company has opted for what is arguably the most ominous subject matter available, filling the time period with supernatural beings and demonic imagery. This has opened up a lot of possibilities for incorporating a wide variety of features into the theme, by means of polished animations and ambiance-building effects.
The Demon Code doesn’t have an immediate boomshanka impact, but it is appealing and has a gradual creeping charm that draws you in. The game’s 6×6 grid is infested with demons, fitting for its setting in a creepy dungeon or, if you like, an underground cavern where evil deeds are committed. Not only do they line the sides of the grid, they pop up in several of the features as well. The score goes well with the film, which is set in the 19th century and features Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes.
Players may join in the fun on any device, with wagers ranging from 10 cents to $20 each spin. Return to player (RTP) numbers have been recorded at 96.26%, and volatility is consistently high. During testing, we had no access to data on the hit rate, but successes did crop up periodically, albeit mostly at a low rate.
A winning combination consists of four or more identical symbols in a horizontal or vertical line. When a cluster is a winner, it is removed from the grid and made room for new symbols. There is a win multiplier attached to clusters that begins at x1 and increases by +1 whenever more winning clusters occur or the Enter the Void feature* is activated (*more on this below). With each spin, the win multiplier starts over at 1, but it can climb endlessly.
There are 8 standard pay symbols in the Demon Code, and both low and high payouts are split evenly. Four diamonds make up the lows, while orbs or gems of various descriptions stand in for the highs. When 25 or more matching symbols form a cluster, the payout increases from 10x the stake to 50x the wager. The wild card also helps out here because it can replace regular icons in the payline.
Features of The Demon Code
There are a number of bonuses available in The Demon Code, including as re-spins and multipliers.
Adds a set of mysterious symbols that, when combined, form a single, matching symbol (Green Demon’s Ancient Alchemy).
A random symbol is chosen at random and pays from any position on the board in Cryptic Chaos (Blue Demon).
The Dark Layout (Purple Demon) option makes the grid wild.
Infuse your board with a 3×3, 4×4, or 5×5 block of the same matching symbol at random with Fiery Fusion (Red Demon).
In the unfortunate event that a cascade does not result in a winning combination but a wild is present, the Enter the Void bonus round will be activated. In this game, wild symbols disappear, taking with them any pay symbols they’re adjacent to.
The sinister eye scatter sign indicates that any points earned from a scatter will be accumulated in a meter above the grid. The free game bonus and 10 free spins are activated when at least 4 scatters are accumulated in a cascade. Scatter symbols award 2 or more extra spins if more than 4 have been collected in a row.
The system for collecting scatters does not stop working throughout the free games. If you get 4 scatters during a free spin round, you’ll get 2 more. Not only that, 1 additional row is added to the grid, with up to 12 rows being the maximum. When it reaches this height, the scatter meter is eliminated and 10 free spins are granted. After the meter is deactivated, an additional two free games are added for each scatter that appears.
Furthermore, the win multiplier does not reset between free spins, and there is no upper limit to how high it can go. When you get four scatters on the meter, the win multiplier goes up by one.
Verdict on the Demon Code
The Demon Code is an admirable effort for a first-place grid slot, or even a second- or third-place slot. In order to maintain player interest and incentive, NextGen Gaming has sprinkled in a number of recurring elements. Animations and a cinematic score accompany the features and complement the action on the reels. The package does so well that its lackluster financial results from the fireworks are easy to overlook.
During free spins, the game improves as it always does. The non-resetting win multiplier is a godsend here because collecting four scatters feels so much simpler (on a psychological level at least) when they aren’t cleared between spins. Therefore, throughout the testing phase, there were many occurrences of expanded reels and more free spins.
There were several good payouts, albeit the advertised maximum payout of 12,500 times the bet seems high. Free spins often came with multipliers of 30x, but that’s just to give you a sense of what’s possible. If you add it to 25 or more red orbs (and maybe a Demon Summon modifier), you’re looking at 1,500x in a single explosion.
The Demon Code, from NextGen Gaming, is a top-notch example of the grid slot genre. It didn’t have the same initial impact as Rise of the Mountain King, but the developers did a good job with the visuals, and the many functions all function as intended. It’s a game that can drive you crazy if you get stuck in an endless feature hunt, but it’s also a lot of fun and has great rewards if you’re patient and lucky.