Day of Dead: Overview
If you’ve been playing slots for a while, there’s a good chance you’ll be clued up on Día de los Muertos, the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’. Held in November, this is when participants remember loved ones that have passed on to the other side, in a positive celebratory way. Not only do the living visit graves and so on, but some say the souls of the departed return to visit family members. The theme is increasingly popular in slots, and now it’s Pragmatic Play’s turn to leap on the bandwagon. Interestingly, the team couldn’t call the game Day of the Dead since there is already a slot with that name. So, like The Facebook, they deleted the ‘the’ to settle on Day of Dead. Sadly, this quick band-aid approach is an indicator of the lack of imagination to follow.
Starting with the background imagery, which isn’t much since the 5×4 game grid takes up most of the view, there is a sort of Halloween-ish thing going on helped by the low light, spooky, graveyard location. There is a rather festive feel happening on the reels, and the jazz-infused mariachi soundtrack lightens the mood as well, so Day of Dead makes a passable first impression, just not one you necessarily feel the urge to drop everything to engage with.
With a solid default RTP of 96.50%, Pragmatic Play has given Day of Dead a volatility score of 5 out of 5, so it is high – potential not so much, but not terrible either at 4,500 times your stake. When it comes time to set stakes, bets selection ranges from 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin
The majority of symbols in Day of Dead are regular pay symbols; two of the others are wild symbols, one is a scatter. On the low-value side of the table are spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs, then shakers, drums, and guitars as the mids. Moving up to the higher value symbols are four-character symbols, worth a payout of 6 to 15 times the stake for a five of a kind winning combination. The green wild is a standard wild, while the tombstone wild is an expanding wild. Both wilds substitute all paying symbols, and the expanding one links to the features covered below.
Day of Dead: Features
With a name like Day of Dead, you might be expecting free spins where special symbols expand and pay all lines in all positions like Book of Ra or its countless followers. However, this is not the case. Instead, features in Day of Dead include Walking Wilds and a Free Respins bonus.
Whenever a tombstone wild lands, it expands to cover all positions on its reel, pays any wins, then triggers a respin. These expanded Walking Wilds move one reel to the left until they fall off the grid. While walking, additional expanding wilds may land, also expanding to cover whole reels. Respins continue to take place until no Walking Wilds remain in view.
Free Respin Feature
Landing 3 scatters on reels 1, 3 and 5 in the base game triggers the Free Respin feature. There is no set number of spins here, but as long as there are Walking Wilds on screen, the feature remains active. During respins, another tombstone looking symbol appears, which is collected. These collected symbols are gathered at the top of the game grid, where they may be added to the reels as Expanded Wilds.
The round starts with 2 collectable wilds already awarded. One or more is added to the grid, becomes a Walking Wild and respins begin. Collected wilds may be added back to the reels on random respins or when no Expanded Wilds are left on the screen. The round ends when there are no more Walking Wilds on the reels and no collected wilds left.
Day of Dead: Verdict
If you’re pressed for time and would prefer a quick capsule review, then Day of Dead can best be summed up as generic. Everything about it feels shallow. The features, effective as they are, have been used before; the imagery comes straight from a Day of the Dead stock image folder, even the name required a minimal amount of effort to think of. It’s the slot version of going shopping and buying a supermarket’s own brand of food. Don’t get us wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with that – own brand food’s still food. It just very rarely gets you amped to rush home and have a cook up.
So it is in Day of Dead, Pragmatic Play’s own brand version of the popular Day of the Dead theme. The Mexican festival has really taken off in iGaming, and a number of developers have released a version. Most of the time, studios put an individual spin on the festival regarding visuals or gameplay. Day of Dead doesn’t have a whole lot of that. It looks the part, just, and sounds pretty cool, then leaves it there without scratching further than the Mexican holiday’s surface. Moving onto features, these aren’t bad – again, like the theme, they do the job without being overly original. Max win isn’t terrible, and the game has been capped at 4,500x the bet to stop any runaway unlimited free respin rounds from occurring.
All told, Day of Dead comes across as a sanitised Día de los Muertos for foreigners. As if the celebration received corporate sponsorship and removed anything that could be remotely offensive. The result is a slot impossible to love or hate, making it okay if your goal in life is to play every single Day of the Dead themed slot ever produced.