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Players looking to roll the dice for high stakes thrills will love what Rich Uncle Pennybags has in store in Monopoly Money in Hand. Barcrest and SG Digital provide a fast and sleek slot machine with big payouts and one very rich bonus round. The included big bet feature is perfect for risk takers who want to play boosted spins for a premium price. Monopoly Money in Hand offers some high highs but also includes some fairly low lows, which may leave some players looking for another game.
This slot machine has a luxury look from top to bottom that focuses on a casino theme. The background is a nicely detailed felt game table and the rich red reels nicely stand out from the dark backdrop. The reels, title and symbols are all surrounded by brightly shining gold to complete the feel. The symbols are a mixed bag that honestly don’t do much with the Monopoly branding.
The game uses gold-lined card symbols “A, K, Q, J and 10” along with stacks of Monopoly money, the “Go” space and the hat, dog and cat game pieces. The highest symbol is just a bright Monopoly tile and Pennybags/Mr. Monopoly only shows up in the bonus game. It is also somewhat annoying that the Monopoly money symbols still have multiplier symbols on top of them even when the multipliers aren’t in play.
The sound is fairly well done and creates a soothing club and casino atmosphere. The soundtrack is a soft jazz set with a nice mix of gentle drums and the occasional blast of trumpets. The sound effects are also well done. Aside from the usual alarms and bells, each reel stops with a bongo drum hit that goes well with the music. There are a few nice animations too. Spins with the potential to trigger the bonus slow down and light up the potential winning reels in bright game show lights, and parts of the bonus game capture the feeling of a game show as players decide whether to push their luck gambling on free spins.
Monopoly Money in Hand features very simple and fast gameplay with a focus on getting as many spins in as possible. It is a 5 reel machine with only 10 paylines. Players have to play all 10 paylines at once. There are no wild symbols or bonus features in the base game. Winning paylines have to start on the leftmost reel and run along one of the 10 paylines to trigger.
One big thing to note with the basic game, and one of its biggest problems, is that there’s a penalty for anyone looking to play penny slots. Players betting less than 2.00 a spin play with a 94% RTP, as opposed to the 96% RTP for a 2.00 or higher spin. When coupled with the fast gameplay, this means that small bankrolls will not last long. The spins are just too volatile.
Small wins of just 3 card symbols or two Monopoly tiles give back half of the total bet which helps stretch out the game. Stacks of cash and sets of game pieces can also provide steady wins to make up for losses. The problem is that with only 10 paylines and no wilds, wins can be few and far between.
There can be long and painful dry spells before the game has a chance to turn around. While there is the potential for a 2000x the line bet jackpot, the real focus is on making it to the bonus game and its huge potential payouts.
The Free Spin Bonus
It’s almost a little disingenuous to call this a free spin bonus since the free spins are the least interesting part of the bonus round. To trigger the bonus round in the normal game, players need to get at least 3 bonus symbols anywhere on the reels. Scatter rules apply so landing 3 symbols anywhere is good enough. Getting 3 symbols starts the player off with 10 free spins. Finding 4 or 5 symbols respectively starts the player at 15 and 20 free spins.
Starts is an important word since players will have a chance to gamble for more free spins. Players will see their amount of spins in the center of the screen along with the higher and lower amount of free spins possible. For example, players starting at 10 free spins can gamble to get 12 or 7. At any point, players can just collect their awarded number of spins and move on, or continue to gamble until they max out or lose it all. The game caps out at 25 free spins.
The actual free spin round, as mentioned above, isn’t really about the free spins. While it is still possible to win the normal amounts for any combinations made, the heart of the game is about Rich Uncle Pennybags. All of the Monopoly money symbols and their associated multipliers between 2x and 50x that have been tormenting players all game are now active.
If an Uncle Pennybags symbol appears anywhere during a free spin, it vacuums up all of the multipliers sitting on the stacks of cash. The total bet that triggered the bonus round is multiplied by this total number for an instant cash reward. If two or more Pennybags show up in the same spin, they each pay out a multiple.
The Pennybags symbol also acts as a wild space for that spin. While it’s not guaranteed to trigger, it can quickly pay huge amounts that can fast erase a lot of losses and really put players ahead. Once the free spins run out, the game ends. It is not possible to retrigger the free spin bonus within the bonus game.
The Big Bet
Players looking to go even bigger can take a shot at the big bet system. In this option, players can buy a set of 5 linked spins at a premium price. The stake is always a 2.00 total bet/0.20 per line bet. Players can pay more to unlock more bonus features. There are 4 levels that players can play at, and players can expect a 97.75% RTP while playing big bet. While it’s a statistically better return, there’s obviously a lot more money on the line. Also, note that players lucky enough to win 500 credits in their spins and trigger the bonus game won’t be given a chance to gamble on more free spins.
The 20.00 credit game is the cheapest option. The extra 10 credits change the game to make “Go” bonus symbols lock in place on the reels and go wild. This makes it a little easier to form winning paylines and a little easier to make it into the bonus round. The 30.00 credit game keeps the locking bonus symbols, but also adds in a respin feature.
Players who get 2 bonus symbols locked in place by the 5th spin will get an extra 6th spin with mostly blank reels and a few bonus symbols. If one of these lands in an open space then players can go to the bonus round. This game also modifies the bonus round to include a special chance card once the free spins end.
Players choose from a set of 8 cards for a chance to get extra free spins, a small, extra cash reward or nothing. The cash reward and nothing cards end the game, but free spin cards extend the game including another chance card draw.
The 40.00 and 50.00 credit games are where things really change. These keep all of the above bonuses and also extend the reels up. The 40.00 credit game adds one row and the 50.00 credit game adds a second. These rows don’t have any paylines active on them, so normal symbols don’t count. But any bonus symbols that land in the two rows will still lock into place and count for the bonus game. The extension also carries into the bonus game. Just as before, normal symbols won’t payout in the 4th or 5th rows, but cash multipliers and Uncle Pennybags symbols will still trigger. It’s a big cost, but it adds a lot of new ways to win bonuses.
Rolling the Dice
Monopoly Money in Hand is a fun game as long as players are willing to make some big bets. Anyone who can’t afford to risk 2.00 credits a spin on a fast game should avoid playing. The 94% RTP is terrible and there are better games. Players who can afford to play should still enjoy it.
It’s not perfect. It doesn’t do a lot with the Monopoly theme, and there aren’t a lot of special features for the normal game. These slots are designed for players who want big stakes, fast spins and really big bonuses. Anyone looking for a thrilling ride should enjoy it, whether they stick to the normal spins or risk it all on the big bets.