Industry giant NetEnt settle on the well-worn ‘animals of the Savannah’ theme for their January 23rd, 2020 slot release, Serengeti Kings, a medium-high variance offering with some interesting features.
Serengeti Kings plays on a 6x4 reel set with 26 fixed paylines and a default RTP of 96.2%. Big wins can come in both the base game and a free spins round. In both games the highest paying symbols (Lions and Panthers) are collected before being thrust back onto the reels to create high paying wins, win multipliers and (in free spins) transforming wilds. At this time there is no published information on the max win available, but having played all free spins options several times it should be several 1,000x the bet size
Interestingly, Serengeti Kings is NetEnt’s first slot to contain a ‘Buy a Feature’ option which will allow players to buy straight into the free spins round.
You can take off for the plains of African and try your luck amongst NetEnt’s Serengeti kings from €0.10 up to €100 per spin.
Design & Symbols
African Savanna slots have been around for as long as there have been video slots, so anyone with even a scant knowledge of slots will have a good idea of what to expect here. The background scene is a sweeping vista of the grassy plains. The plains are sparingly dotted with Acacia trees, the occasional rocky outcrop, and a central watering hole. The mountains of the Serengeti are in the distance reaching up to the clear blue skies above. The cartoon artwork is more playful than say, WMS’s Raging Rhino, but less anthropomorphic than Microgaming’s classic Mega Moolah.
Depending on which part of the game you are playing (we’ll get to this later in more detail), the scene changes from day to night. The design remains the same, only with the light turned down. A wooden signpost holds up the reel set. The symbols float on the reels and as such you are always able to view the entire background scene. Either side of the reel set, hang hexagonal wooden meters. All in all, NetEnt have done a decent job on the design; it’s not among their best or most innovative pieces of work, but it is certainly on a level or better than other slots of the genre. The soundtrack, however, is definitely on another level. It wouldn’t sound out of place accompanying the new Lion King movie. It has a lush, full sound with African choral group style chants and singing, animal noises, and hypnotic percussive beats.
Low value symbols are the standard royals 10-A. Medium value symbols are meerkats, zebras, giraffes, and hyenas. The highest paying regular symbols are lions and panthers, both of which award 5x the stake for 5 on a payline. The wild is a sunset scene and is the highest paying symbol of all, worth 50x the bet size for 5 on a payline. The scatter is a spherical symbol which is designed as being a half-earth, half-moon hybrid. All regular symbols come stacked on the reels.
- Lion Spins
- Panther Spins
- Free Spins
- Buy Free Spins
Lion Spins & Panther Spins
Both the Lion and Panther spins features are always in operation throughout the game on a rotating basis, each being activated after 12 spins. The first 12 spins belong to the Lion. Each Lion and Panther symbol which lands during the first 12 spins is added to their corresponding meters to the left and right of the gameboard. The Lion symbols are activated and scattered across the reels after 12 spins. Every time a Lion lands on a Lion it adds a win multiplier. Every time a Lion lands on a wild it adds a win multiplier to the wild. Before adding the wins, all multipliers which appear on the same win line are added together. As soon as the wins formed by the Lion Spins symbols activation have been calculated, the day turns to night and the Panther Spins begin. The Panther Spins act exactly as the Lion Spins in terms of both number of spins and the reaction to their activation and scattering.
3, 4, or 5 scatter symbols award 12 free spins. 3 scatters start the free spins with both meters on 0. 4 scatters start with the number of Lion and Panther symbols currently on their respective meters. 5 scatters award the Lion and Panther symbols already on the meters plus an additional 5 symbols to both meters.
All collected Lion and Panther symbols collected are spread across the board after the 12 free spins. The same rules apply as with the normal Lion and Panther spins although with both big cat symbols being spread around Lion symbols can land on Panther symbols and vice versa. In this situation the big cats combine to transform into a wild symbol.
Buy Free Spins
Serengeti Kings also gives the option to buy straight into the free spins round, although it can be a pricey affair, depending on which of the three options you choose. The three options mirror the awards gained from spinning in 3, 4, or 5 scatters. The first option has a set price of 58.7x the bet size. However, the cost of options 2 and 3 all depend on how many Lion and Panther symbols have been collected at the time the Buy Free Spins feature is activated. During our testing we found that option 2 could come in at under 100x the bet size and option 2 could be under 250x the bet size – but that also both could be much higher. Option 3 often being priced at way above 300x the bet size. It’s worth noting that the RTP of the slot varies slightly in the Buy Free Spins feature; option 1 takes in down very slightly to 96.1% whereas options 2 & 3 raise it to 96.7%.
Our Thoughts on Serengeti Kings
Serengeti Kings is a decent slot. It looks good, it sounds great, and the features are highly engaging. The biggest pull for me was the fact that you are always working towards a guaranteed bonus. Furthermore, there are also decent wins to be had just from these base game features which only serves to make play even more engaging.
The biggest money, however, will come from landing 4 or 5 scatters. Considering that doesn’t happen too often I can see the Buy Free Spins option becoming quite the tempter. Buying in with 4, and particularly with 5 scatters can lead to some very big wins. However, be very careful when you exercise this option as the better options can be cripplingly expensive. Although you’ll win a decent amount a good % of the time, if you don’t use bankroll management, a single buy-in might wipe you out. This is less of a gripe than a warning; I still wholeheartedly embrace ‘Buy a Bonus’ features, and this one can be dynamite – just be careful!
On the whole this slot represents a good start to the year for NetEnt.