Sat, May 4, 3:51am by William Brown
Last Updated Mon, Oct 7, 11:25pm
While new bonus features and different wilds are common, very few pokie studios try out completely new ideas. Gem machine from Bally qualifies, this is a novelty pokie, where you get completely blank reels as often as you get wins.
The reels are surrounded by cogs, pipes and even a funnel that looks like an old-style gramophone speaker. If you do hit wins, gems disappear down this funnel before you are awarded the win. There are recognisable pokie features too – including progressive jackpots and free spins.
Here are the reasons to fire up the Gem Machine:
There are no win-lines or symbols to line up involved in this game. Before you spin, you have two decisions. First, you need to decide how many reels to enable. You do this by clicking the coloured button above each of the 5 reels. These are activated in sequence from left to right.
Second, you decide how much to bet per reel. This is from 5c and up from there. You’ll also find an auto-play option. This lets the machine create gems without you needing to click each time. You can choose between 10 and 100 spins – this will stop after any feature or jackpot.
When you spin the reels, most of the time you’ll see blank metallic brown-shaded blocks. Often, these will cover all 15 spots on the reels.
What you are hoping for are gems. Each time you get one, it will have a money amount (depending on which reel and which colour it is). This gem then jumps off of the reel, landing in the gramophone funnel, and then gets awarded to your bankroll. Some spins you’ll get a lot of gems – this pokie does have some big win potential.
There are 3 different gems, which can each have 3 multipliers. This multiplier is applied to the amount for each reel (20% of your total bet amount). Here are the numbers:
There are special symbols which can appear in addition to the gems. Free spins symbols show some cogs and a number. These give you between 1 and 5 spins, with one per reel possible. When the free spins start, the bet level stays the same as the triggering spin. More spins can be added. The soundtrack changes while your free spins are in play, turning into a lively piano-led track.
The symbols you’ll really want to see are gems showing the name of jackpots under them. One appears on each reel, with the smallest (mini) on the left and the biggest (grand) on the right. This gives you an incentive to play all 5 reels, as you can’t win the grand unless the final reel is in play.
There is no extra game-play involved with the jackpots. If the Gem Machine produces one of these symbols, you win that prize right away.
This machine looks like something from the future as envisaged in the 19th century. The level of detail is excellent. Under the reels are glass containers with bubbling coloured liquid. To the right some cogs and a control panel with a pressure gauge can be seen. To the left there is a whistle (which blows when a gem appears) and that gramophone speaker funnel.
This scene is lively, with movement between spins. When you spin and get nothing, the scene reels look plain. Sparkling gems contrast with this, bringing the game to life as they jump off the reels. In the base game a curious organ-led track plays. This replaced with a piano during the bonus spins.
This is a curious take on traditional pokie gaming. Bally usually stick with popular themes, so it is great to see them trying something brand new. It works, though I’m not sure it will be to everyone’s taste. Blank screens with no symbols at all are no different to any jumbled combination of symbols – though it feels somehow wrong. When the gems show up, you’ll soon start enjoying the game, especially if they are the higher paying yellow ones!