I haven’t spent much time playing Merkur pokies, and could only name two or three at a push without resorting to a google search. Because of this, I really had no idea what to expect from Jazz Nights.
At first glance, the game appears a little basic; the symbols are drawn in an unusual style and seem quite small, and the low number of pay lines is also quite rare for a modern video pokie.
I actually enjoy lots of nine and ten line pokies, not least because fewer pay lines usually results in a more generous paytable. With that in mind, I was keen to put Jazz Nights through its paces!
About The Developer
Merkur is a German gaming company who specialise in creating multi-game pokie machine cabinets for land-based casinos. The company began creating online versions of some of their most popular games a couple of years ago, but as of now their pokies are offered by only a handful of casinos.
That could well change over the next year, as Merkur have been ramping up their output of online games recently whilst also making their presence felt in a big way at recent online gaming conventions and trade shows.
There seems to be no doubt that this is a company who have set their sights on obtaining a larger chunk of online gaming market share as soon as possible.
How To Play
Whilst some players might find Jazz Nights a little too simplistic, I get a strange sense of nostalgia from playing this type of straightforward, no-nonsense video pokie.
It’s a five-by-three layout game with just ten pay lines, and a single free spins bonus feature that is triggered any time three or more scatters land on the reels.
Unlike many recent games, Jazz Nights does allow you to choose how many pay lines you wish to bet on, which might be of interest to players who enjoy increasing the variance of a game by playing a lower number of pay lines.
In the top right-hand corner of the screen are three icons, the first opens the configuration page where the fast play switch can be found, the next will enlarge the game to fill the entire screen, and the last is a mute toggle for the music and sound effects.
I noticed that the game looked much better when played in full screen mode, so if you aren’t doing anything else with your device whilst playing this game I would advise taking advantage of this option.
A button at the bottom left of the reels opens the paytable, which only requires a single screen on information in this game.
A more detailed explanation of the rules of the pokie can be viewed by clicking the “?” icon in the bottom left corner, but again it’s all very straightforward stuff and probably won’t be of much interest to most players. All that’s left is to choose your bet size using the controls underneath the reels on the right-hand side, and then hit the spin button!
Merkur have kept it simple with regards to features in Jazz Nights, implementing just a single bonus mode. Hit three or more scatters and you will receive ten free games with expanding wilds, as well as receving a payoff of up to 100x your stake.
I was pleased to see that both the wilds and scatters have been awarded their own paytable allocations – many modern games choose not to give any special reward for hitting these rare symbols, which seems very unfair to me.
The expanding wilds are a nice touch and activate any time the woman symbol lands during free spins. I had full stacks of wilds on three reels more than once just whilst writing this review, which suggests that large numbers of wilds can occur very frequently.
When you open the paytable in Jazz Nights the numbers shown take into account your current stake selection, which I think shows great attention to detail on the part of the developer. The top prize for a single five-of-a-kind combination is 100x your stake and can be won by hitting a full line of wilds, or all five scatters.
Even the lower royal symbols such as the T, J and Q pay 10x your stake for a five-of-a-kind, because with just ten pay lines even these lower paying combinations will occur relatively infrequently.
The overall RTP is fair at a little over 96% and the maximum jackpot spin is a full screen of wilds during the bonus mode, which returns 1,000x your total stake.
I would have liked to have seen a slightly higher jackpot in Jazz Nights, as 1,000x is a little bit low for a 9/10 line machine. That said, there aren’t many players who will complain about winning a thousand times their bet and the expanding wilds mean that medium sized wins should occur quite often too.
This might not be the most flashy or extravagant game around but what it does do, it does brilliantly – fans of nine/ten line games will almost certainly get a kick out of this one!