The’man with the hat’ from Pragmatic Play is back for another adventure in the steamy jungles of Central America, so hold on to your artifacts! Moreover, he has immersed himself in the Mayan civilization, one of the more well-known ancient cultures in the slots industry. Although appealing, the title belies the lack of genuine gods in the game. This suggests that John hasn’t gone too far from his previous adventure, John Hunter and the Aztec Treasure, which focused on the Mayan’s neighbors. Compared to that slot, Pragmatic Play’s Mayan Gods is much more restrained. Here, the gameplay is streamlined, there are fewer elements, and the potential is far lower.
Mayan Gods follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, John Hunter and the Book of Tut, by featuring a 5-reel, 3-row layout with 10 paylines. The grid is partially obscured by ruins and rainforest, although Pragmatic hasn’t really gone all out with the concept. It’s lively and energizing thanks to the Indiana Jones 1930s matinee score, but it seems a little hurried overall.
John Hunter and the Mayan Gods is a high-stakes adventure, as depicted by the five lightning bolts on the opening screen. During testing, there were no qualms about that number, as both the game’s challenges and its rewards were clear. Mayan Gods’ default RTP of 96.46% is respectable, as is typical for Pragmatic Play’s offerings.
The importance of line-by-line victories is high as well. For example, if you get five of a kind with the low-paying J-A royals that are attractively patterned in a tribal style, you win 10 times your stake. There is no difference in worth between them. The prizes, which include mugs, knives, rings, a Quetzalcoatl emblem, a plumed monarch, and, of course, John Hunter, grow better from there. Five of a kind is a premium hand that pays out between 20 and 50 times the wager.
Slot Functions Inspired by John Hunter and the Mayan Gods
John benefits from a full-reel expanding wild and free spins with an upgraded symbol feature to maximize his time with the Mayan gods. Look for the shiny gold statue emblem representing the wild. When it occurs on reels 2, 3, or 4, it acts as a substitute for any other symbol save the scatter. When a winning combination includes a wild symbol, that symbol will grow in size until it fills the whole reel.
In order to access the bonus features, players must land three or more step pyramid scatter symbols anywhere on the reels. When 3, 4, or 5 scatters appear, the player is awarded 12 free spins and a payout of 2x, 20x, or 50x the wager, respectively. The free spins bonus has a six-tier leveling structure, with level one being the default. When a wild appears, not only do you get an extra spin, but you also advance a level. If you get two wilds at once, you get three more spins and a level up by two. Three wilds trigger an additional 3 levels and 5 free spins. When you level up, the lowest-valued premium symbol is replaced by the next-highest premium symbol in the hierarchy; for example, all cups become knives when you get your first wild, and all knives become rings when you get your second wild, and so on.
If you make it to level 6, the only symbols you’ll see on the reels are low pays or John Hunters, and this effect will persist until the round ends. Finally, triggering the feature by getting three or more scatters awards 12 more free spins.
The Mayan Gods, John Hunter, and a Slotting Defeat
Pragmatic Play went all out with Aztec Treasure, but with Scarab Queen and Book of Tut, it’s back to basics. The Mayan Gods slot machine is only one example of the John Hunter line that borrows ideas from other games. This time around, free spins feature an upgrade system based on the Eye of Horus (as pointed out by astute user “SixtyHertz” in the comments). Many programmers occasionally crib from one another; this is rarely newsworthy; but, three instances in a row make John Hunter appear to be losing his originality. Not that John Hunter and the Mayan Gods is without its charms, but the Indiana Jones imitator isn’t exactly making the most of his abilities and instead relies too heavily on his good looks.
After the events of testing, there is no denying that Mayan Gods is extremely dangerous. After the initial bonus game finally activated, however, the subsequent ones came very quickly and often. However, neither activating the bonus nor completing the game’s final level guaranteed anything. It wasn’t very entertaining when several rounds resulted in victories worth less than 10x the bet. Nonetheless, the feature occasionally activated it; the secret was to upgrade symbols as soon as possible. Bonus free games and progress toward the game’s end aim of filling the screen with John Hunters are both added benefits. Surprisingly, the maximum win possibility of nearly 2,500x the stake isn’t all that thrilling for such a highly unpredictable game, and it also seems oddly realistic for a Pragmatic Play slot.
While the main game may not always have you on the edge of your seat, the bonus round in Mayan Gods adds a welcome dose of excitement. To be fair, the show seems to be waning rather than dying, and a shot of creativity may give it a much-needed revitalization.