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Game Review: Da Vinci Diamonds by IGT
As slot machines become more colorful and interactive, there’s still a niche for a machine with a slightly more classic feel.
The Da Vinci Diamonds slot machine stays away from flashier designs in favor of a stark, slick look. It only adds a little bit of a shine to a relatively simple game with the featured tumbling reels.
The rows of gems and artwork collapse and give players an extra chance to win. The loaded free spins are also enticing, but remember that all that glitters is not gold.
While the graphics aren’t disappointing, it’s a mixed bag. The gems and logo symbol have a nice textured, painted look to them, and the use of classic artwork adds a nice touch of class to the reels.
The animation for the tumbling reels also works well. Watching the rows collapse and fill back up is satisfying.
Unfortunately, the background is just a flat black setting, and the reels are framed in a simple picture frame. It leaves the game feeling a little barren and boring.
Similarly, the lack of sound drains a little of the excitement from the game. Da Vinci Diamonds slots don’t use any background music, and the sound effects are very limited.
The gameplay is only accompanied by the repeating clinks of the symbols locking into place, the occasional crunch of gems under the tumbling reels and the little tune that signals a winning payline.
The bonus free spin round actually uses a little background classical music, which is fine but it only makes the quiet of the main game more noticeable.
Main Features on Da Vinci Diamonds Slot Game
Da Vinci Diamonds uses five reels and three rows with 20 paylines. Players are forced to bet on all 20 paylines. There is no additional feature fee, but there are also no scatter wins available in the main game. In the main game, all symbols require at least a three-of-a-kind, left-to-right match on a payline to trigger.
Wild spaces can appear on the second, third and fourth reels. While any wilds are nice for helping out with small wins, the lack of wild spaces in the first reel means that starting a payline is still tricky.
The one prominent feature in the main game is the use of tumbling reels. On any spin, winning combinations disappear after being paid. The rows above the empty spaces drop down to fill the gaps and potentially create new sets.
The best part is that any empty spaces with nothing above them pull in completely new symbols to fill the gaps. This can occasionally let players chain several wins together, turning a small win into a little jackpot.
As players might guess, the tumbling reels are really the heart of the game. The paytable is fairly generous. The only below-break-even payout is for sets of three gems.
Any set of three pieces of art or four gems pays to break even or above, but actual wins can be a little rare. The lack of first reel wilds starts to be very noticeable as the game goes on, and seemingly loaded boards don’t pay out because of bad luck at the start of the payline.
Players will tend to go through dry spells while they either wait for a good set of chain wins, a lucky set of five or the bonus game.
The Free Spins Bonus Round
Da Vinci Diamonds does offer a particularly nice free spin bonus round. While playing the core game, bonus symbols can appear on the first, second and third reels. Getting a set of three on one payline rewards the player with six free spins. The unique aspect is that Da Vinci Diamonds uses a special set of symbols and a new pay table for the free spin round.
During this bonus round, the three artwork symbols are scatter-based. Simply having at least three on the board will trigger a win. While they don’t pay very much, it’s a big deal because the reels will still tumble during the free spins.
Unless it’s a very unlucky pull, most free games will at least see a small scatter payout, which then disappears and completely mixes the board.
Chaining-together wins is fairly likely, meaning that each free spin actually feels like several as the board keeps shifting and changing until it finally settles.
It is also possible to win more free spins during this bonus round. Bonus symbols can appear in any reel during the free spins, and during this mode, they will also pay on a scatter. Just showing up is enough by getting a set of at least three rewards and a number of free spins.
Three bonus symbols can grant two, three or four extra spins. Four bonus symbols can give four, six, eight or 10 spins, and five bonus symbols can award six, eight, 10, 12 or 15 spins. Lucky players can potentially get 300 free spins before being forced out of the bonus round.
An Imperfect Gem
Da Vinci Diamonds is a somewhat disappointing game. It’s not bad; it just doesn’t have much of a real hook. Basically, it’s a one-trick pony.
The tumbling reels feature is fun and satisfying, especially during the bonus round, but there’s not much else to love. The graphics and sound design are basic and don’t do much to hold the player’s attention. Also, as the game drags on the 94.94% RTP starts to hurt a little, too.
It’s a slightly high premium to pay just to enjoy watching the chain combos form. Anyone interested should still give it a try for real money at Virgin Casino, but there’s not enough there to recommend it for a longer session.