We're all for cutting-edge Christmas-themed online pokies that take the festive fun in completely new and unusual directions, but we also have a very soft spot for games with a more traditional approach. Wonders of Christmas is a great example of the latter because it plays like a Christmas card that's packed to bursting with all the classic sounds, images and concepts you could want. At the same time, it also delivers plenty of high-volatility excitement, and if you get really lucky you could win as much as 100,000 times your bet.
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Playing this five-reel online pokie game is like celebrating tradition itself. The reels have a 3-4-5-4-3 format and are presented in front of the door to a large Victorian-era home. An old-fashioned lamp illuminates the evening, and snow is falling gently to settle on the ground below. To cap it all, a traditional soundtrack complete with sleigh bells jingling plays in the background.
Above the first reel, you will see a gift box counter, and above the fifth reel, there is a Free Spins Multiplier counter. Between these two counters is a Golden Arch that serves as a bridge from the one on the left to the one on the right. We will discuss how all of those things are used very shortly.
Lower-value symbols on the reels include ornate golden renditions of the playing card ranks of 10, J, Q, K, and A. The higher-value symbols are a Christmas stocking, a snowman in a snow globe, a gingerbread house, a toy train, and Santa's sleigh. A Christmas tree symbol serves as a scatter.
Another symbol that appears in this game is the Gift Box. When a regular Gift box symbol appears on the grid, it will mark its position with a golden frame that will remain in place. At the same time, the gift counter value at the top left of the game will increase by 1 and a little glitter will be added to the Golden Arch to mark the progress being made.
When a Golden Gift Box symbol appears, it too will be marked with a golden frame and increase the gift box counter. However, it will also transform into a wild symbol on the very next spin of the reels. In addition, any adjacent golden frames will also be transformed into wilds. Collect enough golden frames before the Golden Gift comes along and you could see more than half the grid turn wild, which is quite something.
When you have collected 200 Gift Box symbols the Golden Arch progress bar will be full and the Multiplier value above the fifth reel will increase. The Multiplier value begins at x1 when you start the game and will increase to x2, x3, x5, x7, x10, x15, x20, and so on, up to a maximum value of x1000.
To trigger the Free Spins feature, you will need to get a Christmas tree scatter symbol on each of the second, third and fourth reels at the same time. When you have done this, you will be awarded 3 free spins, to begin with, and all wins from this bonus game will be enhanced by the value shown in the top right Multiplier counter.
This part of the game takes place indoors, in front of an open fireplace, and special reels will be in play. The only symbols on the reels are gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins and sprigs of mistletoe. Every time a coin lands, it will be unwrapped to reveal a prize value and the symbol will remain in place. Your number of remaining free spins will be reset to 3.
You can keep collecting chocolate coins until you run out of free spins or the reel positions are already full of them. When either of those things happens, the total value of the coins you've collected will be calculated, multiplied by the Multiplier value and then awarded as your prize. The bonus game will then come to an end and the Multiplier counter in the main game will be reset so that you can start building it up for the next Free Spins round.
A settings menu is accessible from the game and this allows you to toggle a Quick Spin option on or off. You can also set your spacebar to spin if you'd like to do that. Those of you who'd like the game to play itself for a while can set Autoplay to do that for anything from 10 to 1000 rounds. In addition, you can instruct the game to stop Autoplay when a certain condition is met, such as the Free Spins round being triggered or a certain amount being won or lost.
Wonders of Christmas is a game that is as good to look at and listen to as it is entertaining to play. Its traditional Christmas card appearance will impress anyone who has a soft spot for nostalgia, while its highly volatile math model ensures that the game never gets at all predictable. Watching the Multiplier value increase in the main game really helps to build suspense for the Free Spins round, and when it finally comes you'll feel as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. In short, NetEnt have created a great Christmas-themed pokie slot, and we wouldn't be surprised to see it become something of a festive classic.