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Are you ready to be be sent to the wolves? Fear not. In the classic Vegas slot Wolf Run, a whole bunch of them is a good thing. They’re not about to eat up your bankroll. They are going to increase it!
Wolf Run basics
Wolf Run is an online video slot by a manufacturer whose name should be familiar to every online casino player–IGT. It consists of five reels, four rows (rather than the usual three) and 40 paylines.
Like many other IGT online slots, Wolf Run was originally created for land-based Vegas casinos. In 2012, the company released an online version of this popular slot.
The setting for the game is a dense forest in which lots of wolves are lurking Large, colorful symbols on a pale yellow screen make this a very eye catching slot, while the dark background suggests that it’s nighttime. But that is precisely what you want because that’s when the wolves come out!
Wolf Run is a fairly simple game compared to many other modern online slots. But it is not a boring game. Howling wolves, stacked wilds and a not hard to trigger free spins bonus are all the entertainment you need.
Wolf Run does not offer a progressive jackpot. But when you “run with the wolves,” it’s anyone’s guess what might happen. Your walk on the wild side could lead to very big wins.
Wolf Run bet size
Wolf Run, like most other online slots, can be played either in demo mode or for real money. But what puzzles this reviewer is the lack of uniformity in the range of permissible bets from casino to casino and also depending on whether you play the game in demo mode or for real money.
For starters, this slot game comes with 40 paylines. But it’s entirely up to you whether or not you want to play with all of them active. To determine your cost per spin, simply multiply whatever coin size or line bet you have selected (which can be as little as a penny up to much larger) by the number of paylines (anywhere from 1 to all 40).
In other words, this is a game where if you want to bet only a penny per spin, you can. But with such a small line bet and only one payline in play, don’t expect to win very often.
We recommend playing with all 40 paylines to maximize your chances of winning. This would raise the minimum bet per spin to 40 cents. However, the maximum bet varies depending on where you are playing. For example, at Unibet Casino, the maximum line bet is $10, so the maximum bet per spin would be $400.
The bet range for this slot game is more than wide enough to satisfy most players. However, the return to player is only average, so small stakes bettors need to be extra careful.
Wolf Run has been around in both land-based and PA online casinos for a long time. So if you play slots often, there’s a good chance that you are already familiar with it. But if not, playing the game in demo mode first is a good way to decide, with no monetary risk at all, if you want to play further for real money. This is a useful tip to keep in mind for any slot you’re playing for the first time.
However, with this slot, the minimum line bet in demo mode at most online casinos is not 1 cent but $1. You must also play with all 40 paylines. This makes the minimum bet per spin $40.
Unless you are a high roller, this is probably way more than you normally bet when playing with real money. It also calls for a substantial bankroll. If the game runs cold on you, the hypothetical starting bankroll that the casino has given you of only $1,000 is nowhere near enough. You also have the option to raise your line bet a lot more, even risk your entire bankroll on one spin, which would be foolhardy.
However, Unibet Casino offers the same bet range if you want to play for free that you’re offered when betting real money.
Wolf Run RTP
The return to player or RTP of a casino game refers to the percentage of the total amount bet the game will theoretically return to you in winnings over the long run. The RTP cannot predict how you will fare in a particular playing session, as the results can vary greatly from this figure in either direction. But the RTP is a reliable indicator for long term play.
Wolf Run has a published theoretical return to player (or RTP) of 94.98%. But don’t be too impressed by this percentage. It may be higher than most slot payouts at Pennsylvania land-based casinos, but it is only average for Pennsylvania online slots. Many online slots, especially those from NetEnt, have an RTP of 96% or higher.
Playing slots with an above average RTP is always recommended, especially for players with limited bankrolls, since you never know ahead of time how you are going to fare. It’s possible on any slot to experience a bad losing streak early on. But with a slot with a relatively high RTP, more frequent payouts usually keep you from falling so far behind that you risk losing your entire stake. You have a much better chance of bouncing back and maybe even winning.
Wolf Run volatility
The volatility of a slot game refers to the likelihood that, in the course of play, you will experience wild bankroll fluctuations. The swings can be in either direction.
High volatility slots can be very exciting, much like riding on a roller coaster is exciting. But the bumpy ride is not for everybody.
Wolf Run is described by the manufacturer as having medium volatility. This is what most slot players prefer. There is not so little variation in outcome between one spin and the next that the game becomes boring, but not so much that you start getting nervous that you might lose all of your money.
Wolf Run symbols
As mentioned, Wolf Run is a simple slot game. It has a total of 10 regular symbols plus a wild symbol and a bonus symbol.
Winning combinations are formed in the usual manner from left to right starting with the reel farthest to the left. You need three or more of a kind horizontally or diagonally on adjacent reels to produce a payout.
When more than one winning combination occurs on a payline, you will be paid just the one with the biggest payout. However, it’s possible to be paid for winning combinations that simultaneously occur on different paylines.
The four higher paying symbols are a black wolf, white wolf, and two Native American totem pole symbols. When three or more totem poles line up across the reels, you may think you have a winning combination when you really don’t. If you look at them closely, you may see that they are not all the same, so no payout!
The lower paying regular symbols are the playing cards 9-Ace.
A wolf howling at the moon is the highest paying symbol. Five of them across a payline pay 1,000 x your line bet, four across a payline pay 200x your line bet, and three across a payline pay 50x your line bet.
The howling wolf is also this game’s wild symbol. As such, it can substitute for any other symbol in the game except the bonus symbol to help create winning combinations or add to existing ones.
Another thing you’ll like about the howling wolf wild symbol is that it frequently appears stacked, On any given spin, up to four stacked wilds could appear on one or more reels. When they do, huge wins are possible.
You’ll recognize this symbol right away by the word “Bonus” printed on it. However, in this game, it can only appear on reels 2, 3, and 4, and you need for it to land on all three of these reels simultaneously to be of any value.
But it’s worth the wait. You immediately get paid 2x your total bet. You also trigger the free spins bonus with five free spins!
Wolf Run payout table
The following table shows the payouts for three, four, and five of a kind for all of the above-mentioned symbols.
No. of Coins Paid Out for Different Winning Combinations
|Symbol Name||3 Symbols||4 Symbols||5 Symbols|
|Howling Wolf wild symbol||50||200||1,000|
|Totem pole No. 1||20||75||250|
|Totem pole No. 2||20||75||250|
|Bonus Symbol||2x bet||---||---|
Wolf Run special features
The stacked wilds feature goes a long way to help make this game more exciting. It can randomly pop anytime in both the base game and the free spins bonus, and it frequently does, especially during the free spins.
Keep in mind that this feature unusually does not entail the wild symbols lining up across the reels horizontally (which would be extra nice) but simply stacking up vertically on the same reel. There will be times when the stacked wilds are of no help at all. They are only of value when they line up in such a way that they help to form a new winning combination or a better existing combination with other symbols.
Ideally, you’ll see stacked wilds covering all four row of more than one reel. That’s when they can create tremendous wins.
In the highly unlikely best possible scenario, four stacked wilds will appear on all five reels simultaneously, so the whole screen turns wild! If that should happen, you’ll be howling even louder than the howling wolf!
Free Spins Bonus
Like many other online slots, Wolf Run has a bonus symbol (or what is often called a scatter symbol). Usually, this symbol can randomly show up on any of the five reels. But in Wolf Run, the bonus symbol can only appear on the three middle reels.
You would therefore think that getting three bonus symbols to land simultaneously, which you need to have happen to trigger the free spins bonus, would be difficult, but that is not the case. I played three short sessions in demo mode, and all three times, I triggered the free spins.
This is the moment you’re waiting for the entire time you’re playing because the free spins are likely to produce the biggest wins. But first, to start you off on a winning note, you receive an immediate payout of 2x your bet.
From that point on, things only get better. Extra stacked wilds are added to the reels, which can result in some huge payouts.
Furthermore, the free spins bonus can be retriggered over and over again–giving you up to 225 spins! However, the three times I played, I did not retrigger the bonus even once, and many other reviewers have also noted that retriggering the bonus multiple times is the exception rather than the rule.
Five free spins are not that many. But a bigger problem is the likelihood that by the time you trigger them, your bankroll could be down significantly from when you started due to most of the base game payouts not even covering the amount bet. Your winnings from the free spins might not be enough to erase the deficit.
The bottom line
Wolf Run is an online slot game that will appeal to many players. Gameplay is simple and straightforward without being boring. Stacked wilds and the howling of the wolf after your bigger wins add to the fun.
But compared to other PA online slots, I find Wolf Run to be only average rather than spectacular. For starters, the graphics and sounds are somewhat dated. The wolves look cartoonish rather than scary, and the totem pole symbols and playing cards don’t fit in with the theme at all.
Since the RTP is a mediocre 94.98%, this game could also benefit from the addition of at least one more bonus feature.