Free Shields of The Wild slot
Please be patient, some games take longer to load than others!
I would imagine that when you see the words 'Nextgen' and 'Shields' together you will automatically think of their high-variance classic and brutal game 300 Shields which along with Medusa 2 are possibly the two most volatile games this developer has made. Shields of The Wild slot shares a similar historical warrior theme to 300 Shields only with more modern graphics and a less harsh maths model. The reels are transparent against a dark looking sky with our warriors silhouetted each side of them and a classical epic-movie soundtrack as we play along with some dramatic sounds when wins or scatters appear. Shields of The Wild looks very spectacular, but will we have a battle ourselves here in order to hang on to our bankroll?
On the reels...
Quite simply, every symbol is single and every symbol is some kind of shield here! There are only 10 pay lines over the 5 reels of 3 rows each and this may indicate some higher volatility to the game when we see the 5-of-a-kind awards. Wild Shields with the game logo appear on all reels and pay 25x bet, and rather than list another eight different shields it should suffice to say that these pay from 10 down to 2x bet for a full line of 5. The only time we don't see a Shield is the game's scatter which quite appropriately is a sword in flames. Now I suspected Nextgen wouldn't waste the opportunity afforded by this theme to introduce us to some eye-catching random events and I wasn't disappointed!
On any spin the 15 icons on the reels may disappear for a time and in a great wall of flame a defensive formation of 15 Shields will appear in the middle of the screen. These will then return to the grid and every icon except scatters and Wild will be upgraded one place before any wins are paid. This may repeat up to 8 times in which case all non-Wild or scatter positions would become the highest-paying Shield.
Marching stacks spins
Like Medusa 2 slot when two scatters appear on Shields of The Wild and you get the slowed 'heartstopper' spin, the reels turn monochrome and if the third or more lands you get spins with 'Marching Stacks'. A stack of Shields is randomly selected from 5 listed in the pay table. For 3-scatter triggers this will be from the 3rd. down to the 7th. best symbol, 4-scatters the 2nd. down to 6th. best and for a 5-scatter trigger the top-paying Shield down to the 5th. best. The chosen stack is placed on the last reel on the right and each spin it advances leftwards.
The scatters are now replaced by 'Upgrade' symbols and should one appear the stacked reel will remain in place and not move leftwards and the symbol will be upgraded to the next highest. If no Upgrade appears the stacked symbol moves one reel to the left and another similar stack will be added to reel 5. This is similar to the feature in Netent's Jack and The Beanstalk slot. The feature ends when all 5 reels are full of stacked symbols. The feature may randomly retrigger afterwards too.
Shields of The Wild slot ticks all the boxes for graphics, sound effects and animations, of that there is no doubt. The RTP is a creditable 96.53% but as I'm sure you will have worked out by now this is no big-win potential game. Your free spins round is nothing more than a convoluted way of a getting a 'full screen' win and with 10 lines and Shields paying 2-10x bet for 5-of-a-kind you will also know that without a retrigger the feature potential is thus 20-100x bet. This is simply the lowest I have ever seen when reviewing a slot. A mighty theme with miniature win potential - why, oh why? I think a Shakespearean theme would have been more appropriate - 'Much Ado About Nothing'...