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What could be a more thrilling adventure of a lifetime than an African safari? But if you can’t go on a real one, you can do the next best thing–experience The Wild Life virtually in the IGT online slot game with that title.
Along the way, you’ll encounter lions, jaguars, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and zebras, and pick up lots of exciting rewards.
The Wild Life basics
The Wild Life is an online video slot by the best casino games manufacturer IGT. It consists of five reels, three rows, and 10 fixed paylines.
If you never played this slot before, upon discovering that it has only 10 paylines, your first reaction might be that you would be bored playing it. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As the title suggests, this slot is all about the wild animals of Africa. The vast sand- colored expanse with patches of green bordered by green foliage against a bright red-orange background creates the effect of a magnificent sunset over the Serengeti plains.
But the vivid background colors are surprisingly easy on the eyes and in no way detract from the equally colorful game symbols. Every aspect of this slot from the images of the animals to the scattered trees at the bottom of the screen shows close attention to detail. Even the letters on the playing cards have their own special flourish with a texture resembling animal skin. You couldn’t ask for a more picturesque setting for the action taking place on the reels.
But all this artistry would be for naught if the game itself proved disappointing. Fortunately, that is not the case. The sights and sounds of animals in the wild are entertaining in their own right. But it’s the winning combinations formed both ways (left to right and right to left), expanding wilds that fill an entire reel, and a special free spins feature that keep the action moving along.
Where The Wild Life falls short
However, in other ways, this slot could be better.
So-so RTP and high volatility
The Wild Life does not offer a progressive jackpot. That in itself is not a weakness because of the many other ways you can play online slots. In fact, most progressive jackpot slots compensate by delivering their lesser but still decent payouts less frequently than expected. This is reflected in their below average return to player or RTP.
However, even without a potentially life-changing progressive jackpot to shoot for, The Wild Life also has a mediocre RTP. The published theoretical RTP is 92.16% to 96.16%, for an average of just 94.20%. Many PA online slots have a higher RTP.
Of course, your results for any given playing session might deviate considerably from the theoretical long-term RTP in either direction. However, if your bankroll takes a substantial hit, you could find yourself without sufficient capital to make a comeback.
The problem is compounded by the high volatility associated with this slot. On the one hand, given the African safari theme, it makes sense to offer this game as a high-variance slot. The fact that you’re venturing out into unfamiliar territory where you don’t know what you might find makes every safari different. On the other hand, if the search is unproductive, you probably don’t have the time and money to keep it up indefinitely.
Only one bonus feature
Another disappointment is that this slot game only comes with one bonus feature. As nice as it is to win 10, 15, or 20 free spins, the game could benefit from some other bonuses as well, especially an activity like a pick’em game that entails some active participation by the player.
The manufacturer states that the free spins can be retriggered over and over again and that you could win up to 200 free spins. But playing three sessions in demo mode, I found it very hard to trigger the free spins even once, let alone retrigger them. And the whole time you’re waiting for that elusive bonus feature to materialize, unless you are very lucky in the base game, the size of your playing stake is likely to keep moving in the wrong direction.
The Wild Life bet size
Like most other modern online slots, The Wild Life can be played either in demo mode or for real money.
The minimum bet per spin is only 10 cents, while the maximum is $200. So this is a slot that should appeal to virtually all types of players from the smallest bettors to high rollers. Regardless of your bet size, all 10 paylines remain in play. So your line bet or coin size (which determines your payouts) is simply your total bet divided by 10.
Pay Both Ways feature
Some IGT online slots, and The Wild Life is one of them, include a special Pay Both Ways feature.
Instead of only paying out when three or more matching symbols line up adjacently on consecutive reels starting with reel 1, they also pay out on the same kinds of combinations going the opposite way starting with reel 5. In the latter instance, the combination of three or more matching symbols also needs to line up adjacently on consecutive reels, but the sequence would start with the reel farthest to the right.
In other words, winning combinations can be formed either from left to right or from right to left.
The Pay Both Ways feature produces more frequent payouts than this slot would give you otherwise. However, it is not as beneficial as you might think because many of the payouts are so small that they don’t even cover the size of your bet.
The Wild Life symbols
The Wild Life contains a total of 11 symbols–nine regular symbols plus a wild symbol and a bonus symbol. The wild symbol can only appear on reel 2,3,or 4, while the bonus symbol is a scatter symbol that can appear anywhere.
The five higher paying regular symbols are all animals that you might encounter on an African safari. Here they are in descending order of value.
The four lower paying regular symbols are the playing cards J through A.
The following table shows the payouts for winning combinations of 3, 4, or 5 of each of these symbols.
The Wild Life paytable
No. of Coins Paid Out for Different Winning Combinations
|Symbol||5 Symbols||4 Symbols||3 Symbols|
It almost goes without saying that it wouldn’t make much sense to offer a slot called The Wild Life without a wild symbol. Don’t worry, this game not only has a wild symbol, but it’s bigger than life. In fact, it can add immeasurably to your winnings because it takes the form of an expanding wild.
The wild symbol is a lion, the King of the Jungle. It can only appear on reel 2, 3, or 4. Although by itself, it is no value, it plays a very important role in the game because it can substitute for all other symbols except the bonus scatter symbol to form or add to winning combinations.
Every time the wild symbol appears and combines with other symbols to light up the screen with winnings, you’ll roar for more. And you’ll get more because the entire reel turns wild for that spin, potentially giving you even more winning combinations!
When I was playing in demo mode, betting a hypothetical $10 per spin, at one point in the base game, two reels turned completely wild and I won $240 on that spin alone!
But if you trigger the free spins bonus (see below), you can win a lot more. That’s because any wild symbols that create winning combinations during the free spins not only expand to cover the whole reel but become sticky wilds, too! They stay in place for the duration of the bonus!
Bonus scatter symbol
The bonus symbol is a map of Africa. It can appear on any reel, and two of them will show up quite often. But two won’t do you any good. You need at least three to trigger the elusive free spins bonus.
Free spins bonus
If 3, 4, or 5 scattered bonus symbols simultaneously land anywhere on the reels, you will be awarded 10, 15, or 20 free spins, respectively.
More scatter symbols can appear during the free spins. For each one that does, you receive an extra two free spins. It is also possible (though highly unlikely) to have three or more scatter symbols land again, even repeatedly, and keep retriggering the full bonus.
The free spins are played at the same line bet as the spin that triggered them but on special reels. As mentioned above, all wild symbols that contribute to wins during the free spins become both expanding wilds and sticky wilds!
The free spins bonus is by far the most lucrative part of the game.
The bottom line
The Wild Life is a highly entertaining online slot. However, if you find yourself ahead, your best bet is to quit sooner rather than later before the machine has a chance to take all of your winnings back. If you can do that, there’s a good chance you will want to keep coming back often to experience more of The Wild Life.