Free Samurai Split slot
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Samurai Split slot does give a clue in its name as to what it's all about and you may well end up thinking this is a quite a cutting edge slot after this review (groan!). Joking aside, it is quite a unique game with Japanese pipe music setting the mood and transparent reels spinning over the silhouette of a Samurai army waiting to unleash the slicing power of those famous swords. This is Nextgen's first Samurai-themed game which reminded me slightly of Novomatic's Katana slot although having played it for a period it's now more reminiscent of WMS' Samurai Master as I see it. The vital question is though, will these finely honed blades be merciful on our bankroll or slash it to ribbons?
On the reels...
Samurai Split offers us 25 paying lines on the 5x3 reel set but we have to pay 40 coins for reasons that will become apparent. You do get Wilds on all of them though which will pay us 500 coins for a full line (12.5x bet) with the Samurai Master awarding 250, Pagoda 200, Horseman or Sword 125 and the last picture icon is the Decorative Flask at 100 coins. There are 5 card values paying 75 for the Ace and the rest 50 coins. the symbols aren't stacked so you may consider these pays low, but there's a very good reason!
There are two random but frequent in-play events which may occur. We'll dispense first with the least lucrative, the 'Warrior Spin' whereby the Samurai appears and smashes the reels and all card values disappear to leave only the higher picture icons for the spin.
The random feature you really could benefit from is the 'Split Symbol Bonus' when the Samurai appears and slashes 1 or more symbols in half to double their pays by effectively making the pay lines pay twice or more. Now if you have for example 5 Wilds on a paying line and he slashes all of them, you would then be paid the win 2x2x2x2x2 = 32 times! So the 12.5x win for this line of Wilds would now be 400x bet, to use the best example - or is it the best?
Fighting free spins
There is one remaining icon we haven't seen yet, the Samurai's Flag. This is the scatter which appears on all 5 reels and you need three or more to trigger 5 free games (10 for four or 15 for five in view). You may now be anticipating the next possibility: the Samurai can split those scatters too and if he splits one of the three then you would get 10 free games, splits two 20 and all three 40 free games. So if 5 scatters appear and he slashes them all you would get 32x15 free games, a ridiculous 480 spins! yes, you can retrigger them in the same way, and what's more all the free spins are 'Warrior Spins' as in the random in-play feature described above where the card values are removed leaving the picture icons and scatters.
Samurai Split slot is refreshing as it's unique in its construct and due to the frequency of events is action-packed and entertaining with decent graphics and good animations. The idea of 32x multipliers in the base game is not new - Netent's Big Bang can do that and split symbols have been around before on slots like Microgaming's Battlestar Galatica, but this arrangement is unique because it applies to scatters also and it works well! We get a wholesome 96.63% RTP and despite some potentially big wins the base game volatility seems quite low, ensuring longevity of that all-important cash balance. Well, that's all folks - it's time to split, as I'm off to see the Samurai...