After slowing down slightly during the COVID-19 pandemic, Big Time Gaming releases have been coming at us thick and fast lately. Most recently we were treated to Golden Catch, and now it's time for another, however this time we're leaving the sea behind and going futuristic with a classic mechanic, in Wild Portals Megaways. Featuring their flagship mechanic alongside a solid statistical set up, the team have created another release that die hard fans will love, with a new twist for those not yet convinced by Megaways (although by now, how could you not be?). Wins are on offer up to 116,030x bet in this highly volatile release, topped off with a fixed RTP of 96.58%. Let's take a closer look.
Visually, things are very futuristic, and in a strange way remind me of that jet pack styled level in Crash Bandicoot 2 – a classic. Everything is lined with a stainless steel material, with neon lights shining through. As Wild Portals are triggered (more on these below), these lights change colour, changing the entire look of the background, which is a nice touch. Audios are upbeat, with dance music pounding in the background, setting the scene nicely.
Wild Portals Base Features
Taking place across 6 reels, wins are formed by matching at least 3 symbols on adjacent reels, beginning at the leftmost. Up to 7 symbols can land on each reel, offering the potential for up to 117,649 ways to win. Symbols begin at the lower end, with 9, 10, J, Q, K and As, awarding wins between 0.1 and 0.2x bet for 3 of a kind matches, up to wins between 0.3 and 0.5x bet for 6 of a kind matches. At the premium end, it's a standard Big Time Gaming affair, with green, blue, red and purple symbols – this time in the form of crystals. Green and blue crystals both award wins between 0.25 and 0.6x bet for matches between 3 and 6 of a kind, whilst red crystals award wins between 0.4 and 1x bet, again for matches between 3 and 6 of a kind. Finally, purple crystals are the only symbol available which pay for 2 of a kind, with values of 0.25x bet. This increases as high as 10x bet for 6 of a kind matches.
There are two main features bringing the bulk of action into play on Wild Portals, the first of which being the Wild Portals themselves. On any spin, a 2×2 Wild Portal may appear on the reels, substituting for all symbols except Scatters. After all win combinations on the spin have been paid, the Wild Portal will reveal a symbol – either the 9, 10, J, Q, K or A. Each instance of the revealed symbol on the reels will be removed from the reels, and collected into the Wild Portal. For each symbol collected, the multiplier of the Wild Portal will increment by +1. At this point, new symbols will drop in, and again any of the revealed symbol in view will be removed and collected, again incrementing the Wild Portal multiplier by +1. Reactions do not happen in Wild Portals except in this instance, where symbols have been removed by the Wild Portal.
During the drop of new symbols, it is possible for the Wild Portal to reveal a different symbol, causing this process to repeat. When this happens, the multiplier will continue to increment from where it had left off, rather than resetting to x1. The Wild Portal continues to remove and collect symbols for as long as new instances of the revealed symbol appear. Any wins created with the Wild Portal have the multiplier applied.
Next, Win Exchange™ is available to keep the base game moving forwards. With Win Exchange, whenever you win 75x bet or more, you have the option to exchange 75x bet for 8 free spins. If you have won more than 75x bet, only 75x bet will be exchanged, and the remainder will be added to your free spins win.
If you win between 25 and 74x bet, you have the option to exchange the entire win for a chance to be awarded 8 free spins – by gambling. The chance of winning the gamble is represented by green on the wheel, and the chance of losing is represented by red. The higher x bet the win, the more green will be present on the wheel.
Wild Portals Bonus
Landing 3 or more Scatters in view triggers 8 free spins, with an additional 2 free spins awarded for every Scatter in view beyond the third. During free spins, things continue much the same way as the base game – Wild Portals appear with revealed symbols, and continue to remove and collect any instances of these symbols on the reels, incrementing their multiplier as they do so.
However, in free spins, a Wild Portal is guaranteed to land every spin, and the multiplier does not reset between free spins. Alongside this, if a Wild Portal was in view on the triggering spin, this multiplier will carry over into the feature. The Wild Portal will change position at the beginning of every free spin, but will not move during a spin.
Landing 3 Scatters during free spins awards a re-trigger of 2 free spins, plus an additional 2 for every Scatter in view beyond the third.
Like I said above, if you're an established fan of the Megaways mechanic, you won't be steered wrong with Wild Portals. If, however, you haven't quite figured out the obsession, there just might be something here to twist your arm. The wild symbol with a multiplier isn't a new one, but the mechanic of collecting symbols in and incrementing a multiplier does add a nice touch, especially when these symbols are then removed, allowing new symbols to drop in to place. Add on that the Wild Portal can change symbol, maintaining its multiplier but giving players another chance of this incrementation, and you'll see how this is a recipe for potent results. Of course, there is that expected confusion based upon the size of the Wild Portal but remember – these are always 2×2 in size, with the space taken up only dictated by the amount of symbols on the reels (not unlike the wilds in The Dog House Megaways). The aim is simple – big multiplier, big Megaways, and hopefully a big win.
Statistically, things are solid – and we wouldn't expect any less from Big Time Gaming. Wins are on offer up to 116,030x bet, and RTP is fixed at 96.58% (and we know how hard this can be to find these days). Backing this up is a highly volatile maths model, making this release impressive but deadly.
It's unclear yet if this release will have the Feature Buy BTG are now adding back into their portfolio, or if this may be added at a later date, but for now the demo we've had access to has no mention of a buy option. Win Exchange does soften this blow a bit though, and does give us an exact figure for the value of a free spins round, at 75x bet – so this gives an indication of what to expect if a buy option ever does get added.
Overall, Wild Portals is a solid release from the team, and a great addition to the portfolio. The best things in life are often the simplest, but in spite of being simple, we're sure it won't be long before we see some formidable wins from this release.
*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.