If there's any mechanic that has stood the test of time again and again, it's a book game. Despite there now being probably hundreds available, each time a new book game is released players will, inevitably, still give it a chance. Two of the most popular book releases of all time are Book of Dead, released in 2016, and 2019's Rise of Merlin – both releases from the team at Play'n GO, who this year are treating us to Ghost of Dead.
“Ancient Egyptians believed that in death, vitality and the soul combine and create the living spirit, Akh. In this slot game, Pharoah (sic) Unas has been resurrected and is looking for worthy mortals to reveal his hidden treasure. Navigate your way through ancient tombs as you journey to the pharaoh’s riches with the guide of this living spirit. Expanding symbols will help along the way.”
That all sounds lovely, but what is more important is how Ghost of Dead differs from every other book game available – if we're going to revisit the same mechanic, we want to see something that sets this release apart. Thankfully, it's good news on that front as there are a few unique aspects in this highly volatile release which offers wins up to 5,000x bet.
Things have taken on a slightly eery feeling on the visual side, with a cobweb filled room behind the reels, dimly lit with a blue tinge. The reels themselves are embossed in gold, whilst audios are subtle, Egyptian-like, nicely fitting into the background without garnering too much attention.
Ghost of Dead Base Features
Taking place across 5×3 reels, there are 10 fixed pay lines on Ghost of Dead, although as expected from a Play'n GO book game, players have the option to lower to a minimum of 1 pay line. Wins are formed by matching at least 3 non premium symbols across a pay line beginning at the leftmost reel, or at least 2 premium symbols.
Symbols available include 10, J, Q, K and A, which each pay between 8 and 12x for 5 of a kind wins, followed by a host of Egyptian symbols including Ankhs and and cobras, rewarding players with 0.4x bet for 2 of a kind wins, and 8x bet for 4 of a kind wins, up to 60x bet for matching 5 of a kind across a win line. Next up are Scarabs, paying 32x bet for 4 of a kind wins, whilst landing 5 along a win line will produce wins of 160x bet. Finally, a Pharaoh – presumably Unas as the game information suggests – is the premium most symbol, paying 1x bet for 2 of a kind and 100x bet for 4 of a kind, up to a huge 1,000x bet for 5 of a kind matches.
There is no designated wild symbol, however the Scatter symbol, represented by the Canopic Jar, is wild when it lands on the reels, substituting for all symbols to form wins.
Normally within a book game, there isn't much happening in the way of excitement in the base, however Ghost of Dead offers players the Ghost Spin feature to keep things interesting during the wait for a feature. On any normal spin, a special expanding symbol may be chosen at random. If the minimum amount required for a win land anywhere on the reels, they will expand to cover all pay lines, and pay in any position. For example: should an Ankh symbol be selected, as long as you land one on 2 separate reels, they will expand, and you will be awarded the value of a 2 of a kind win, multiplied by the amount of lines you have selected to be active.
Ghost of Dead Bonus
Landing 3 Scatter symbols triggers 10 free spins, with a trigger value also available:
- 3 Scatters: 0.2x bet
- 4 Scatters: 20x bet
- 5 Scatters: 200x bet
These trigger values will be added to any pay line values awarded, as Scatters are also wild.
Before free spins begins, players will be presented with 3 symbols, and must choose one to be their special expanding symbol. This works in the same way as the Ghost Spin available in the base game, in that provided a minimum amount of special expanding symbols land anywhere in view, they will expand to cover all pay lines. 2 premium symbols will always be required to land, whereas 3 non premiums are required.
Landing 3+ Scatters during free spins awards a retrigger, and the same expanding symbol will be active.
On any spin during the base game at random, Scatter symbols may turn into Spectral Scatters. If 3 or more Spectral Scatters land in view, 10 Awakened Free Spins will be awarded. This feature is the same as regular free spins, wherein players must choose a special expanding symbol – however on every free spin the ghost will randomly pick a second expanding symbol.
Landing 3+ Scatters during Awakened Free Spins awards a retrigger, and the same expanding symbol will be active.
If you like book games, there's absolutely nothing to complain about here, and for once – there is something to talk about. Ghost of Dead offers a twist on a mechanic that we've seen time and time again, resulting in a release that actually could give the most popular book games a run for their money, which really says something. The ghost spin in the base game means that we could see some huge wins from 4 or 5 expanding premium symbols, and being part of an actual feature draws more excitement from this than, say, wondering if you technically you could just land a full screen of one symbol during a base game.
Moving into the free spins aspect, and offering a somewhat ‘enhanced' feature again ups the ante in terms of excitement, although it is worth considering that Legacy of Dead, the 2020 natural follow on from Book of Dead, did introduce additional expanding symbols available via retriggers. However, many book games still don't offer this, so this enhanced feature keeps Ghost of Dead on the right side of progression, even if it does just dip a toe in.
Wins up to 5,000x bet are available – more or less the figure we would expect from a release like this, and default RTP sits at 96.21%, although settings as low as 84.22% are available, so as always – check. However, these stats, coupled with high volatility levels rated 9/10 result in Ghost of Dead being a solid addition to the long list of book games available, and a fine choice for fans of the mechanic. For now, we'll wait and see if the Ghost Spin or Spectral bonus feature helps draw in those that weren't previously fans.
*The screenshots taken of games reviewed on this site are taken from Demo Play, as reviews are often written before games are released for real play.