Whatever your thoughts on NetEnt might be, you can’t deny their graphics talents. Wilderland, their most recent album, is a prime example. It looks great, and a lot of work went into making it look so good. Regardless of your opinion on the rest of the game, you can’t deny that the visuals aren’t offensive. The game’s divisiveness stems from its content and mechanics. Elves, fairies, magic, flora, and pixie dust are the norm in Wilderland. It’s cool that a game with that kind of subject can immediately appeal to a specific subset of gamers. Some people may need more persuading before they sign up.
Wilderland perfectly fits in with the latest influx of high roller friendly slot machines. Indulgent punters can place wagers of up to €1,000 per spin. Stakes as low as 20 p/c are available for those with more modest bankrolls. Players who shell out that much can spin the reels of a 5-reel, 3-row slot machine with 20 fixed paylines. Also, a payout requires at least three of a kind.
The paytable is quite lovely, with a good distribution of low and high payouts that fits in well with the forest setting. It starts with the low pays, which are your normal card suits – clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades. But they’re beautifully arranged to appear like a cluster of leaves, right down to the range of colors from summer green to fall brown. A nice, thoughtful gesture nonetheless. The top payouts feature an elven damsel, a fox, a flower ring, a pendant, a luminous bow and arrow, and a silver Celtic frame. Five of a type paying out at 6 times the wager features the damsel symbol.
Some of you may have dropped off the face of the earth after reading that list of symbols, or you may have been inspired to don robes and dance around woodlands and clusters of standing stones. You either adore it or despise it; it’s that kind of theme. If you’re not interested in the country of pixies and elves, the figures and mechanics probably won’t be either. The two sort of go hand in hand. Even though Wilderland has a decent return to player percentage (96.16%) and volatility (low to medium), there isn’t much there to justify those numbers.
Features of Wilderland (by NetEnt)
Wilderland’s theme is undoubtedly the presence of wild animals; in fact, the game features no less than five distinct types of wilds. The standard wild substitutes for all other pay symbols and can appear on any reel during the main game and free spins.
The center row is highlighted in the regular game and is referred to as the Activation Zone. The Forest Treasure feature is triggered when two or more adjacent wilds appear in the Activation Zone, at which point they transform into one of four Walking Wild symbols. Each time the reels spin, the Walking Wilds advance one position to the left until they disappear. There are four types of wilds in this set: a regular wild, an x2 wild, a walking wild that can scatter, and an expanding walking wild that can stack three times. If the stack of growing walking wilds vanishes from reel 1 and no other walking wilds appear on the reels, the Magic Wild feature may cause the stack to resurface on reel 5.
Free Spins can be accessed in Wilderland when three or more scatter/wild scatter symbols appear. A Walking Wild will appear on the fifth reel during the free spins round. More Walking Wilds or x2 Wilds are added if the feature was activated by more than three scatters. During free spins the Activation Zone is enlarged to include all three rows, thus two adjacent wilds anywhere will trigger the Forest Treasure bonus. When any walking wild (not just the enlarged kind) disappears from reel 1, the Magic Wild feature activates.
Final Say on Wilderland (NetEnt)
I know I’ve used the word “wild” 300 times already, but their special skills are heavily featured in this game. It’s also hard to avoid, what with their being five distinct varieties. Is that too much, or just clever game design? The outcome was met with conflicting reactions. It all fits and makes more sense in practice, but it’s still not very exciting. Wilderland is a bit subdued, and its gorgeous graphics give the impression that it was made with subdued gamers in mind. Players who enjoy this genre of slot machine will be captivated by its wonderful setting. However, this does not apply to people who are seeking extremely lucrative outcomes. A grid of premiums pays you 120 times the stake, and a handful of x2 wild multipliers can boost that, but it’s not a big paying machine.
The visuals created by NetEnt are always stunning. Wilderland has a gorgeous design, complete with fluid animations, symbols, and images, as well as a glowing background. The gaming environment shines and draws you in as you sense the enchantment hiding behind every rock and behind every tree. Wrap yourself in that like a cozy comforter on a chilly morning and you won’t want to come out for days. Wilderland wastes that emotion by focusing more on form than content. How many times during testing did eyes wander to the tv, or some minor thought divert us with a fast Google search? In short, Wilderland’s enchanted realm may pique your interest at first, but its lack of promise quickly dissipates that enthusiasm.