This game was recommended to me when I was chatting about Pragmatic Play pokies with a friend recently, and although myself and this particular friend do tend to have quite different taste when it comes to pokies I was still keen to give it a try.
As usual with this developer the graphics are very well drawn and the animation is extremely smooth, but it is the pay table and features which inevitably make or break any pokie machine!
About The Developer
For years, Topgame created games only for play at casinos which used their full casino package, making them inaccessible to a huge percentage of players.
This situation changed with the creation of Pragmatic Play, a game development company created specifically for the purpose of licensing Topgame’s creations to casinos running other types of software.
Whatever you might think about Topgame-based casinos, their games are usually of excellent quality and so it’s great to have the option of playing them at other, more reputable casino brands.
This strategy appears to be working well for Topgame as well as for players, as these games are spreading amongst online casinos at an extremely rapid rate just now.
Unfortunately, most of my own personal favourite casinos are yet to add Pragmatic Play’s pokies for real money play, but I would take a guess that it is only a matter of time before these games are as ubiquitous as those from Microgaming and NetEnt.
How To Play
Pragmatic Play tend to keep their games fairly straightforward, and Hercules – Son of Zeus is no exception. It’s a five-by-four reel machine that utilises fifty fixed pay lines, and offers a free spins round which is triggered by hitting three scatter symbols… does that sound familiar?!
If you’ve played any Pragmatic Play game before you’ll have no problem getting to grips with the user interface too, as this developer likes to keep things consistent between each of their releases.
The information button located towards the left of the main status bar opens the games paytable, whilst bet sizing and spin buttons are located on the right. A smaller second status bar along the bottom edge provides access to configuration options, detailed bet settings, and autoplay controls.
Keep an eye on the second, third, and fourth reels whilst playing this game as that is where most exciting things tend to happen! The wild and scatter symbols only appear on these reels and they are also important during the bonus round too.
You’ll need to hit all three possible scatter symbols to trigger the bonus which awards six free spins initially, although extra spins are awarded for every scatter which lands during the feature.
During the bonus mode wilds are added to the central reels at the beginning of each spin, but whilst the paytable claims these will be frozen in place for the duration of your bonus round, it doesn’t quite work as you might expect.
These are not sticky wilds but rather the reels just become more and more filled with wilds the longer you manage to keep the feature active.
I was a little disappointed with this, but I guess it makes sense as if this were a true sticky wilds feature the entirety of reels two, three, and four would be completely wild within four spins every time you hit the feature!
This game definitely pays better than the last Pragmatic Play game I tried, but I do still have a couple of issues with it. The wilds have no paytable allocation of their own and the scatter symbols pay just 2x your stake, although I guess you can’t expect too much for those as there are only three on the reels.
The top character symbol returns 16x your stake for a five-of-a-kind, and it should be possible to win on many lines simultaneously thanks to the stacked wilds which can accumulate during the bonus mode.
The maximum win from a single spin can be had by hitting a full screen of the top character symbol, and returns 800x your total stake. That’s not completely terrible, but won’t please those who enjoy only high variance pokies.
An error in the games paytable means the RTP is shown as -1%, and I am quite certain that isn’t correct! It’s just a guess, but based on my experience of Pragmatic Play’s previous releases I would estimate Hercules – Son of Zeus returns somewhere in the region of 96%.
I can see why this game was recommended to me, although it is a little on the low variance side for my tastes! The free spins can be quite generous and I’ve played as many as 18 just whilst writing this review, which really isn’t bad to say you only start with six.
Medium sized wins felt very common, and in fact I actually had two hits over 100x my stake just whilst writing this review. For that reason, I couldn’t help but quite like this pokie despite it’s low maximum win and whilst it isn’t my favourite Pragmatic Play game, I think Hercules – Son of Zeus is a winner overall.