We can see Microgaming’s upper management running amok on a sandy beach or flinging bags of cash at each other as their subordinates, the independent developers, crank out most of the material.
There are currently six studios participating in Microgaming’s partnering program, and most of the content they’ve produced has been lackluster at best. Since Microgaming hasn’t impressed us since the days of 56k dial-up modems, our anticipation for future releases has waned. A “what if” question is constantly present in Microgaming’s initiatives because of their impressive track record of creating some of the top slot titles in the history of gambling (Immortal Romance, specifically).
The newest company to join the Microgaming family goes by the bland moniker of “Plank Gaming,” and it’s so new that it hasn’t even launched its own website. In what way does it relate to our discussion, Plank? Maybe it’s Maltese for “Hotshot” (although it seems unlikely). We looked into the company, but all we found was that Puffer Goes Wild and Neptune Rising are the only games they’ve released thus far.
Neptune Rising immediately revealed itself to be a fairly ordinary slot machine, with its 5 reels, 3 rows, and 10 paylines. The 95.92% RTP is little below the 96% average, but it’s still playable on all devices from 0.20 to 50€ per spin. The Neptune Rising feature is the only one in the game, and it can activate on any losing spin to award modifier bonuses for bigger payouts.
The Atlantis theme has been used in a number of games recently, including Blueprint Gaming’s Master of Atlantis, but this slot machine reminds us of something from Novomatic. While hardly a visual masterpiece, Plank Gaming’s Neptune Rising nonetheless manages to wow with its solid presentation of the Roman name for the Greek deity of the sea, Poseidon. The clear reels provide a view of the ocean’s blue depths. Watch as the waves crash into the coast and the clouds part to reveal rays of sunlight that seem to come straight from above. It’s true that some of the wave animations are a little cheesy, but it’s a minor issue.
Playing card suit symbols (9, 10, J, Q, K, and A) and higher paying icons (treasure chests, dolphins, sea horses, and mermaids) populate the reels. However, 5 of Neptune on an active payline will return 75 times your wager.
Plank Gaming’s Neptune Rising (Featuring)
Neptune Rising, denoted by a lightning bolt and the appearance of Neptune’s face from beneath the grid, is a random feature that can occur during any spin and results in stacked identical symbols or, on a near miss, more scatter symbols and regular symbols being added to the reels. However, there is an excessive amount of tease that makes you think the Neptune Rising function would activate, just for it to suddenly disappear.
The Free Spins bonus is activated by landing three or more gold coin scatter symbols anywhere on the reels. For the first 10 spins, the Neptune Rising feature will be active, increasing your chances of winning by building winning stacks and completing winning combos. Win up to 250 000 € or 750 times your bet if the Neptune/wild symbol fills the screen. The free spins feature, awarded if three or more scatter symbols appear, seems to activate frequently, as is typical of Novomatic slots.
Final Say on Neptune Rising (Plank Gaming)
This is really impressive for a studio of its own. Nothing here is really groundbreaking or innovative, and I wouldn’t expect it to be the catalyst for a major breakthrough for Plank Gaming. In addition, unlike some of Microgaming’s other partners, Plank Gaming understands both visual design and gambling.
It would have been more exciting to play if the rewards were more explosive, despite the fact that the maximum win possibility is 5000 times your bet. We can’t help but think that 750x is a fairly meager payout for getting a full screen of the top symbol, and if you manage to achieve it many times in the same bonus, we wish you the best of luck.
All in all, Neptune Rising is a decent slot with ok potential. There really isn’t enough there to make us want to come back for more. If we don’t win the first time, we won’t return for a second.