This is not quite Little Red Riding Hood. You’re going to have to leave out the ‘little’ in this one, because Red Riding Hood is all grown up. Also, she’s not exactly on her way to the woods to bring food to her grandmother. She’s more interested in meeting up with the handsome guy who turns into a wolf at full moon. Yes, this is also a werewolf themed slot. A bit of a mix of fairy tale and dark tale, if you will. And it is quite beautiful. The soundtrack is also appropriate. Somewhat dark, a little daring and adventurous, sometimes almost epic. And it’s never too much.
The background looks more like a painting of the forest than anything else. The reels show us wooden boards with a few symbols relevant to the theme. Red Riding Hood is there and she’s the most valuable of the regular symbols, paying out 20x our stake in a 5-of-a-kind win. The torch-wielding stranger offers up 8x our stake, the wolf 6x and the medallion 5x. The wild, which is the Dark Red logo, also pays out 20x our stake, if we get five of it in a winning combination.
The full moon symbol is the scatter in this game, which is quite appropriate given the theme.
If you’ve ever played Microgaming’s Halloween slot, the mechanics of Dark Red will feel rather familiar. One obvious feature as the wandering reels, which are three reels of four rows high that wander along the regular 5×3 reels. It can thus occupy reels 1, 2 and 3, or 2, 3 and 4, or reels 3, 4 and 5. It also has Mega symbols, meaning the whole 3×4 area is occupied by one of the high-paying symbols, which can create very big wins.
Once you get three bonus symbols onto the reels, you’ll trigger the bonus wheel (again just like in Halloween). Here you can get cash wins of up to 20x your stake until you finally trigger one of the features.
Forest of Fortunes Pick Bonus – Pick among a number of bags to reveal cash prizes. Each consecutive cash prize will raise the multiplier at the top of the screen by 1x, which will be applied to the next cash win. You can also land an axe and the wolf. If you get an axe, it will block the first wolf you may pick among the bags. Ordinarily, however, picking a wolf will end the feature. Unless, you find all cash prizes, which would then end the feature instead.
Free spins – The four main symbols will all trigger the free spin feature on the bonus wheel. Depending on which of the four main symbols you got, all high paying symbols that show up on the reels during your 9 free spins will be replaced by that symbol, enhancing your chances at big wins. Once again, the wandering reel with the mega symbol is in place and it will only show the selected symbol.
The theoretical RTP (Return to Player) of Dark Red is 96.1%, which is good value though not great. This is a medium variance slot, so wins are a regular albeit not frequent occurrence. And big wins are definitely possible thanks to the mega symbols.
The game mechanics are nothing original here, though they are quite effective and worthwhile, which is why we’re not complaining at all. And the theme has been done beautifully. It’s not your classic Red Riding Hood tale, instead it is a lot darker with werewolf elements. And it’s just the right thing to release around Halloween, which is what Microgaming has done.
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