Hot Gems

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The video introduction to Hot Gems is so much fun that players might want to watch it a few times before starting the game. “Somewhere deep underground,” an aged and toothless prospector digs with a pickaxe by lantern light. When he strikes the rock wall ahead of him, it cracks open and out pour colourful gems—so many of them that they form a river that sweeps the prospector away, hooting and hollering as country-style banjo music plays in the background.

After the intro has ended, the 5-reel, 25-payline game display appears with the music still rocking on. If the player does not spin the reels within a minute or so, the old prospector will make an appearance and do a little dance to liven things up. He also dances a jig when there are “big wins.” The graphics and audio are truly top quality. But the real fun in Hot Gems, of course, is the riches that are waiting to be won.

Hot Gems is modeled after the very popular “Bejeweled” arcade game. The “reels” don’t spin. Instead, the jewel symbols cascade into place. When symbols match up on active paylines, they “explode,” allowing the symbols above them to “collapse” downward and be replaced above by new symbols. As long as winning combinations continue to appear, no additional betting is required. Only when the explosions and collapsing stops is it time for a new “spin.”

Blue, Purple, Red and Yellow gem symbols require three or more matches for payouts of 5X to 80X. Green and Orange gems payout 2X, 5X, 15X or 40X for 2, 3, 4 or 5 matches. Higher values are pair for winning combinations with Ore Carts, Pickaxes, Lanterns or the Prospector symbols, ranging from 30X to 5000X for three to five matches. There is a Wild symbol, too, and it substitutes for all symbols except the Hot Gems scatter logo and the Free Games bonus symbol. Not additional multipliers are paid for matching Wilds.

The Hot Gems scatter logo pays a multiple of the entire wager at 1X, 4X, 20X or 100X for 2, 3, 3 or 5 symbols appearing anywhere on the reels. The Free Games bonus symbols appear only on reels 1, 3 and 5. All three must be displayed in order to trigger the 15 Free Games with a Collapsing Multiplier.

All free spins begin with a multiplier of 1X, but it increases by 1X each time gems explode in a winning combination, up to a maximum of 5X. The multiplier resets to 1X when all the explosions and collapsing concludes. Free Games may not be re-triggered during the free spins mode.

The denominations available for play on Hot Gems range from €0.20 to €20.00. That means the maximum wager possible pr spin is €500. Players may find it a bit odd to see some of Playtech’s “standard” controls missing from the control panel on this game. For example, there is no Max Bet button, nor is there an Autoplay mode. The “Options” under the “Tools” menu at the top of the screen offer just the most basic of changes, such as audio on/off, volume control and fast play.

Also, players should give a good look at the winning payline patterns before starting the game. Although many of them are typical of 25-line slots, several are quite irregular and what look like losing combinations are often winners, while what would typically be a winner may pay nothing at all.

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