Updated April 2013
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Sometimes, it’s best to keep things nice and clean when you design a pokie. While there are hundreds of great poker machine themes out there, they all come down to the same thing: making you some cash. So why not just use a theme that reflects the fact that you want to win riches beyond your wildest dreams?
That’s the idea behind Reel Gems, a 243 Ways pokie from Microgaming. It’s all about precious gems that might be worth even more than the impressive jackpots this pokie offers. Combined with some interesting special features, this is a pokie that’s worth its weight in jewels!
Reel Gems is a five-reel poker machine offered at Microgaming casinos like Platinum Play. It’s also a 243 Ways pokie, which means players won’t be distracted by worrying about paylines. Instead, one low flat rate will grant you access to every possible winning combination on the reels – all 243 of them.
Players have the choice of playing coins ranging from a penny to $0.20 each, though will have to bet a minimum of 25 coins to spin the reels. With a maximum bet of 250 coins, it’s possible to bet up to $50 AUD on each spin if you’re a high roller. Reel Gems can also be played in a free game version to see if you like it before playing with real money.
The object of Reel Gems is to match symbols from left to right across the reels. Since this is a 243 Ways machine, you won’t have to worry about where the symbols appear on each reel, however, they will have to appear on each reel consecutively. In most cases, you’ll need to hit three or more in a row to make a winning match, though a couple of the higher value symbols allow you to make wins with just two of a kind.
The lowest value symbols are represented by the poker ranks from nines through aces, as is common in these games. In order to win bigger prizes, you’ll want to match the precious gems that this game is named after, like sapphires, topazes, emeralds and rubies. The biggest winner of all is the classic diamond, which can win you up to 4,000 coins if you match five in a row.
In Reel Gems pokies, there are a number of special features to take advantage of. As usual, though, this starts with the two classic special symbols found in most pokies. First, there’s the Reel Gems logo, which acts as the wild symbol in this game. You can’t win any prizes using this symbol on its own, as it only appears on the second and fourth reels. However, it can substitute for any of the other symbols we’ve mentioned, helping to make winning combinations.
Next up is the ring symbol. This scatter symbol will earn you a prize equal to a multiple of the amount you bet on that spin if you hit two or more of them – up to a maximum of 100 times your bet if you hit five at the same time.
This symbol can also get you into a free spins bonus round: if you hit three or more of these on the same spin, you’ll win 15 free spins. During your free spins, all wins will be tripled, and you can even retrigger the free spins at any time.
The price of each re-spin is listed below the reel, allowing you to know exactly what the cost will be before you make a decision. Only wins created because of the re-spin will count – you can’t just keep spinning a fifth reel and win an existing smaller prize over and over again.
Reel Gems is a fascinating game. On the surface, it’s relatively straightforward as 243 Ways pokies go, since there are no second screen bonus rounds and only the one free spins special feature. But the re-spin feature adds a lot of potential replay value by allowing you to make strategic decisions about your re-spins. In most cases, it’s probably too costly to be worthwhile, but you might find specific spots where this feature plays to your advantage.
Finally, even if the special features don’t speak to you, the prizes available on the reels are rather large compared to the typical 243 Ways pokie, so this is definitely a game that should be of interest to those who find most 243 Ways games to be lacking in big prizes.