Book of Ra
Book of Ra is an online slot game designed by Novomatic. Not commonly found at gaming sites outside of Europe, Novomatic’s games are about on-par with Realtime Gaming or Microgaming in terms of overall quality. In other words, their titles are not the best in the industry, but certainly not the worst.
If the title wasn’t enough of a clue, the Book of Ra slot (and the many sequels produced in Novomatic’s Ra series) is centered on stories of Ancient Egypt and images from Egyptian mythology.
Book of Ra slot
Coins Range:0.01 to 450
Free Spins/Multiplier Better:10
The betting system is a little more complicated than with other modern slot machine styles, because of the existence of nine paylines. Matching symbols must appear on one of nine specific lines to form a winning combo. Five reels (and three vertical rows of symbols) make up the face of the slot.
Players can choose how many wagers-per-payline to place, between 1 and 100 for each of nine reels. That makes the full range of available wagers between 1 and 900 coins per spin. Coin sizes are as follows: $0.10, $0.20, $0.50, $1, and $2. That makes for a range of bets-per-spin between $0.10 and $1,800, which is pretty massive, even for a Web- and mobile-based slot.
The theoretical payout percentage for Book of Ra is currently set by Novomatic at 94.26%. That’s toward the low side of “good” by the standards of other online slots games. A player wagering the minimum per spin ($0.40) can expect to lose $13.78 from an outlay of $240.
An important side-note about that number regarding Book of Ra – the decision about whether or not to double or collect your prize after each winning round makes the game move a little more slowly than others. I played for an hour and counted just over 500 decisions. Since the above figure is based on 600 outcomes (the average according to the casino industry), we need to alter our numbers for a more realistic idea of the expected payout and outlay for a game of Book of Ra.
At the rate at which I played (500 hands per hour) bettors stand to lose $11.48 from a wager total of $200. That means when you play the game at a slower pace, your expected per-hour losses decrease ever-so-slightly. Of course, at 100 fewer outcomes per hours, players have 100 fewer chances at free spins and other bonuses that could lead to big winnings.
The fixed top prize for Book of Ra is 500,000 coins, worth between $5,000 and a million dollars, depending on the player’s chosen coin size. That prize is rewarded for lining up five Explorer symbols on any active payline. Other large jackpots are also available – 200,000 coins for 5 Ra symbols and 180,000 coins (for lining up 5 scatter symbols) are also big paydays, even if you’re playing at the penny level.
There are no “bonus games” in the traditional sense, but Book of Ra does use a scatter and wild symbol, and the in-game gamble feature acts as a sort of side wager bonus game.
The scatter symbol is a sacred-looking book – spin three of these symbols on an active payline and you’ll earn ten free spins, sadly without any multipliers. The sacred text symbol also acts as a wild in cases where it can form winning combos. Because this symbol performs the two most lucrative functions of the game, it’s what most players are spinning for when they pay Book of Ra.
Novomatic does a good job of producing mobile versions of their slot titles, though obviously any flaws of the game will remain in mobile-friendly formats. The traditional Web-based game isn’t exactly beautiful, with sub-par graphics in terms of the industry average, and no specific tablet-friendly version of the game available at the time of this review. The fact that some casinos (particularly those mobile apps and sites facing the Czech and German markets) host a lot of Novomatic games is a sign of the game’s relatively-high replay and entertainment value, even in a mobile format.
Novomatic’s designs are middle-of-the-road in the global casino industry, and they’re available to a limited number of customers, mostly in Western Europe. Book of Ra, which was a huge success for the company, has spawned an entire Ra series, so that’s a testament to its quality.
I personally found the game a bit boring – essentially, all I did was wait to earn the ten free spins feature. I played for an hour and ended up “winning” (with play money) a few hundred bucks, so that part worked out well. I just didn’t get much excitement from the game, and it isn’t all that attractive or well-designed.