Merkur Gaming’s African Mask Underwhelms on Its Debut at Online Casino Websites

Merkur Gaming has opted for simplicity with their latest release. Debuting at online casinos this month is the new African Mask slot. It is arguably one of the most basic slot games to appear from Merkur over the last few years, and that is saying something, as most of the developer’s slots are renowned for being elementary in terms of what they offer.

Players shouldn’t expect too grand a debut for the new slot. Merkur has a markedly smaller presence in the online casino world than some of its more notable rivals. However, casinos which host a variety of games from several providers should be able to offer the new game. The question is, is it worth having a crack at?

Merkur’s Take on African Mask

Merkur Gaming initially announced the launch of the African Mask slot at the ICE event in London earlier in February. It has been a long and winding road since the game was first mentioned, to its eventual release in December. When one examines the gameplay and features under the microscope, it is hard to see why.

At the time the game was first announced, Maja Cvetkovic, the Business Development Manager at Merkur Gaming commented that:

“Our newest releases, African Mask, Dreaming Island and Tribe Of The Sun, all deliver on our usual strong passion for details of classic casino games with an online twist and will for sure match players’ expectations as they combine unique mathematics and in-game features in fun and exciting ways”.

A look at the game doesn’t really give that impression, though. Hold onto your seatbelts as this is going to be a turbulent ride through a game which, unfortunately, doesn’t really cut it.

The Ins and Outs of This Slot

African Mask sits somewhere between being a tribal-themed game, and an animal-themed slot. At first glance, it appears as though Merkur couldn’t make up its mind which way it wanted to go. On the upside, there are 144 paylines spanning the slot’s 5 reels, and bets cost as little as 0.10 a game. Maximum wagers are flexible and affordable, too, at just 20.00 a spin.

The reel structure is imaginative, featuring a 2-3-4-3-2 setup, and the game uses Merkur’s All Pays payline structure. However, other specials in the release are few and far between. The non-progressive isn’t much to write home about, either, being worth just a couple of thousand credits.

The indications are that Merkur may have directly ported the release from their collection of land-based slot cabinets. Alternatively, the game may have been developed to directly resemble slots in that range. Either way, it falls short of many players’ expectations when it comes to features.

Don’t Expect Much Change In Terms of Features

Players shouldn’t expect much in terms of features, irrespective of what Merkur may claim. There are wild symbols which can replace all save for scatters. Those scatter symbols can trigger a free spin bonus round if three or more appear. That free spin bonus offers a total of 15 games. There doesn’t seem to be any special features woven into the design of the free game feature, so what a player sees is pretty much what they are going to get.

There are no other special features woven into the African Mask slot. The free spin bonus in African Mask can be retriggered, but they often can in any slot. The ability to retrigger a bonus round is certainly not unique to Merkur slots, or this one. Where does this leave African Mask on the eve of its release, then?

Alternatives to the African Mask Slot

It is not apparent who the target audience for the African Mask slot is. New slot players who are inexperienced with the game will find its easy to handle gaming structure appealing. However, there are equally as simple slots out there for them to play with arguably better features and more promising jackpots.

The theme of the new release is also a little muddled. Novomatic’s African Stampede is arguably far superior to this game and emphasises the animal-themed nature of the slot better. At the same time, those players looking for the whole tribal/mask theme will find Microgaming’s recently released 9 Masks of Fire a substantially more generous game to play.


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