Just when you think NetEnt’s done pulling the wool over our eyes, they come up and surprise us yet again. 2017 wasn’t that great a year, and with a few exceptions, we can’t really remember anything that really stood out. Then, along come our Swedish friends, with a smug smirk, saying “Have you heard of our new slot?”
Planet of the Apes is without doubt something that impressed us. It isn’t one game, it’s two of them smashed into one, with NetEnt pulling together ideas from other slots to make a somewhat complex masterpiece. It boasts a 96.33% RTP, and has a myriad of special features that will no doubt leave a fair few satisfied gamblers.
Planet of the Apes brings stacked Wilds that can copy from one reel onto another, Scatter activated free spins and a Dual feature which is randomly triggered, and singles out two icons. It then randomly picks one symbol from one side of the reel, and one from the other, and then keeps adding them onto the playing field until they run out.
The benefit of this is that if an icon from the left reel lands on the right one, it flips to be in the correct position. And that’s not all. There are Rise and Dawn bonuses, which highlight all humans and apes on their reels, and reward an additional coin win for as many as you have present when it appears. Finally, each free spin special feature has an additional bonus attached to it.
What’s there to say about NetEnt that people haven’t heard already? A Swedish company founded in 1996, its founders were well aware of what sort of hit the internet and online gambling would be at the time.
Since then, the studio spread globally, partnering with over 100 online casinos across the world, acquiring new developers world-wide and releasing their products under their own banner. There’s no doubt NetEnt was a major shaping force in the online gambling industry, and they still pump out quality releases players can enjoy.
How to play it
It certainly looks amazing, but like all licensed slots, it can’t help but make use of it to show scenes from the movie and make its main characters a highlight of the title. Fortunately, the movies are skippable, so unlike our review of RoboCop, you won’t have to click in annoyance a few times before the game registers you want to be doing something else.
But gameplay is king, and Planet of the Apes confidently strides and shows off that NetEnt can still bring it to the table. It brings two separate reels, one for the Rise and one for the Dawn movie from this series, which Rise paying left to right and Dawn paying right to left. It has a fair bit of dead spins, but it brings a fair amount of awesome wins too, although they are usually bound up into the various bonuses that the developers put into the slot.
Where to even start? None of the bonuses in Planet of the Apes are complicated. They all hold an easy gameplay loop, and the daunting nature of it comes with having two reels and a myriad of special features that make it look intimidating when you first launch it. The first thing we discovered was the stacked Wilds – and that if they appear stacked, they clone onto the other reel in the same position, making chaining wins together that much easier.
Free spins come next, and depending on which side of the reels you activated it on, you get a different prize. For the Rise side, you are rewarded ten free spins, and all Wilds are collected during those extra turns are put aside, and then reappear on the last spin.
The Dawn side rewards fifteen free spins, and has different collect icons. You need several of these icons to fill up a meter, which then activates a special feature. You can activate multipliers, extra Wilds, or extra free spins this way. Both are triggered by having three Scatters appear on their respective side of the reels.
Dual is the most random of the pair. It activates randomly, for one, and what symbols are chosen is also random. These symbols then fall onto the playing field, and are shuffled into the correct position. If yellow icons fall on the red side, they’re moved onto the yellow side at the appropriate location. If there’s already a symbol there, it just disappears. This continues until no new icons land on the playing field, at which point you get a cash reward.
And finally, there are the Rise and Dawn special features. There’s nothing to really comment on them, as they’re essentially a point and click prize without the pointing and clicking. It highlights all the apes and humans on their side of the reel, and gives a cash win depending on how many there are and how valuable they are.
It shouldn’t surprise people that, with so many bonuses, NetEnt wants to make sure you’re properly focused on them. We didn’t manage to pull off any solid wins during normal gameplay, but the big wins during all the special features meant that we didn’t really mind it that much. For us personally, free spins and Dawn bonuses were the biggest earners.
We’re floored at the development talent in NetEnt and what a fantastic game they managed to deliver for people to enjoy. We have no doubt this will be a major hit, as the many bonuses and dual reels will interest many people.
And while the slot itself is impressive, we can’t help but feel a little bit of disappointment comparing this to everything else the developers have put out in 2017, and how mediocre it feels compared to Planet of the Apes. If nothing changes until the release on the 23rd of October, you owe it to yourself to give it a spin, and feel the excellence of what NetEnt can really do.