Slot Machine Review: Santa vs. Rudolph by NetEnt

Holidays like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas provide game studios with a perfect opportunity to rebrand and resell previously released titles at a premium. Despite having a wide variety of slots available, NetEnt has never created a unique holiday-themed game. Their 2016 offering, Secrets of Christmas, is essentially a rehash of an older title, Secrets of the Stones. Jingle Spin was introduced the year before as Egg-O-Matic, and it was renamed this year. The gambling industry often frowns upon cloning, but if anyone can make it work, it’s NetEnt. Actually, you might be able to overlook the film’s sloppy idea because of how wonderfully Santa vs. Rudolf is carried out.

This year’s holiday offering from Swedish software developer and provider NetEnt is a battle between Santa and Rudolph. The slot machine has 5 reels, 3 rows, and 20 fixed paylines, and it pays both ways, thanks to the utilization of wandering wilds with respin features and a free spins bonus round that can trigger one of two additional bonus rounds. Ho Ho Ho yourself to the North Pole from your computer or mobile device and start spinning the reels from 0.20 to €/$10 a spin; the slot has a medium-to-high variance and a solid 96.35% RTP.

We’re impressed by how much story and character the designers were able to incorporate into this slot machine. Already stressed out from the enormous workload as he prepares to deliver presents around the globe, Santa now also has to cope with Rudolf’s unruly conduct. Rudolf isn’t in the mood to work, so he goes and hides Santa’s hat as a game. Naturally, this makes Santa very angry, and he and Rudolph end up fighting as they collide on the screen. It’s all brilliantly put together, and it’s presented to the player with a dazzling blend of bright cartoon pictures and amazing music. You can’t help but fall head over heels.

The lower-value royals, from 10 to A, are presented on the reels as candy canes. Wish lists, snow globes of reindeer, Rudolph collars, gifts, and Santa’s legendary sleigh are more rewarding. Five of the latter on an active payline will return 25 times your wager. Santa and Rudolph, respectively, serve as two separate wild symbols. Rudolf is a wild symbol that can emerge on reel 1 at any time and move one position to the right before each respin. Santa Claus, who appears on reel 5, follows this pattern, but in reverse.

Features of the NetEnt Slot, “Santa vs.

This game has an unusual and intriguing method of triggering free spins. If both Santa and his disobedient reindeer Rudolf appear on the same row, they will engage into a fight to signal the start of the free spins bonus round. You’ll get 10 free spins to start, and you can win up to 30 more by retriggering the feature the same way. During the bonus, wild symbols occur much more frequently, and each clash between the two antagonists adds four spins to your total. In addition, the free spins round might last for quite some time because of the wandering wild re-spin feature.

Both Santa’s (red) and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’s (green) progress bars can be seen at the top of the screen. The meters correspond to the wilds that are in view during the round. Santa or Rudolph wilds that make it to the end of their reel voyage will add 1 to their respective progress meters. Filling up all eight spots on one meter before the feature ends will now trigger that meter’s matching encore bonus. Here’s what you may anticipate:

The Santa’s Gifts reprise bonus is the less desirable of the two. What you receive is a bonus choose feature that is broken up into three parts, each of which can yield one of three outcomes: a monetary reward, a boost in your current multiplier, or Santa’s hat, signaling the end of the picking round. Your monetary prize may be increased by a multiplier of up to 4 times.

Win big with Rudolf Spins, an exciting bonus round in this game. Here, you’ll get 3 free spins with 5 random Rudolf wilds added to the reels throughout each spin.

Final Say on the NetEnt Slot, “Santa vs. Rudolph”

It’s not unexpected that developers recycle older games for holiday releases because they won’t get much use the rest of the year. To be fair, it probably wouldn’t be worth the time and effort required to create something truly unique. Santa vs. Rudolf is a reimagining of one of NetEnt’s initial branded slots, The Invisible Man (2014), with a holiday theme.

When compared to the other two Christmas-themed slot machines we’ve evaluated (Xmas Magic by Play’n GO and Festive Indulgence by Microgaming), this one is by far the most fun to spin the reels on. The entire production is fantastic, and NetEnt has done a fantastic job of making it feel new and different while being a rip-off. Like their previous holiday offering, Secrets of Christmas, we have no doubt that NetEnt has created another instant favorite.

The volatility is relatively low, as is typical for Christmas-themed slot machines (you don’t want to ruin your clients’ holiday spirits, do you?). This is the kind of slot machine where you can play for an hour without losing any money. The only true way to win big is to reach the Rudolf Spins, and even they aren’t that lucrative. However, we estimate that the highest payout is only around 1,000 times your stake, and in all the years The Invisible Man has been in operation, no one has ever won even half of that.

Finally, the other two Play’n GO and Microgaming offers mentioned are your best bets if you’re looking to win large. Santa vs. Rudolf is the superior option if your goal is merely to get into a festive mood and have some laughs.


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