Sun, May 19, 2:11am by Ethan Anderson
Last Updated Tue, Oct 8, 12:25am
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At first glance, Free Spirit may appear to be yet another in a long line of basic three-reel pokies. The classic symbols and the standard single-payline setup are exactly what you’d expect to find in a very simple game, and even the wild horse theme isn’t a sign that there’s much depth to this game. However, looks can be deceiving. With wild symbols and a bonus round that is both popular and lucrative, Free Spirit is a game that offers plenty of replayability for those willing to give it a chance.
Free Spirit is a three-reel, single line pokie with a wild horses theme that was developed by Microgaming. Players can play up to two coins on each spin, with each coin costing $1 to play. Along with the standard gameplay elements, players can also win through the use of a wild symbol or by taking part in a “Wheel of Wealth” style bonus round.
Free Spirit can be played at virtually any Microgaming casino site, including Royal Vegas. At the start of the game, players may choose to play either one or two coins. That’s the only customization option open to players: this is a three-reel game with just one payline, and the only coin size available is $1. That makes the maximum bet $2, and there are incentives on the paytable that encourage players to play for the maximum bet.
As in most pokies, the object of the game is to match symbols from left to right across the reels. If you’ve played other Microgaming three-reel pokies before, chances are that you’ll know exactly what to expect here, with one big exception: the traditional cherry symbol has been replaced by a horse. If you hit just one or two horses anywhere on the payline, you’ll be given a small prize; three horses is a little better, giving you ten coins for each one you bet on that spin.
More lucrative are the bar symbols. If you can hit any three bar symbols on the game’s payline, you’ll win a prize of five coins. Hitting three of the same bar symbol (there are single, double and triple bars) is worth even more, up to 50 coins if you should hit three triple bars in a row. Even better are the sevens: hit three of these classic pokie favourites and you’ll win 100 coins for each one you bet.
There are two special features worth mentioning on Free Spirit. First, this pokie comes complete with a wild symbol: the Free Spirit logo. This symbol can substitute for any other as part of a winning payline, and will double the normal winnings you’d get for that combination. Hit two of these logos as a part of a winning payline, and the normal win you’d receive will be quadrupled instead.
Even more importantly, the Free Spirit logo also acts as the jackpot symbol on this machine. If you hit three in a row, you’ll win a massive prize: 2,000 coins if you played for one coin or 5,000 coins if you played for two. This makes it well worth it to play for two coins, as that’s a much better return for the player (2,500 per coin played, as opposed to the 2,000 coins won if you played for just a single coin).
Another reason to play for two coins is the opportunity to enter the Wealth of Wealth bonus round. This is one of the most popular bonus features on Microgaming pokies, and with good reason — it’s an easy way to quickly earn some big prizes. If you’ve played for two coins and you see the wheel symbol on the third reel, you’ll get to enter the Wheel of Wealth second screen bonus. There, you’ll get a free spin of the wheel, which contains a wide variety of different instant prizes that range from 20 coins up to a maximum of 1,000 coins.
There are some good things we can say about the theme of Free Spirit. The horse theme will appeal to plenty of gamblers, and the colour scheme provides a rustic feel that seems to fit the idea of wild horse roaming the “Old West” American countryside that seems to be this game’s inspiration. It’s not the deepest theme we’ve ever seen — and the Wheel of Wealth bonus game has absolutely nothing in common with it — but it’s an enjoyable one with wide appeal.
As for the presentation, it’s what we’ve come to expect from Microgaming three-reel games. All of the information is presented on a single screen, meaning you’ll never have to search around extra screens to find out how much a combination pays or how to take advantage of a particular bonus feature. The graphics are also attractive without being intrusive, making this game both enjoyable to look at and easy to play — always a winning combination.
Free Spirit gets high marks from us for its combination of a fun theme, good payouts and great bonus features. As with all three-reel games, we have to make the comment that this pokie isn’t for everyone: if you want lots of fancy animations or bonus rounds, you won’t find them here — this is a poker machine from an earlier era where those kinds of features just weren’t expected (or even feasible). The maximum prizes are also modest, and there is no progressive jackpot. But if you’re looking for a game that takes the old-style three-reel format and gets about as much out of it as possible, Free Spirit is an excellent choice.