Like many gunslingers and Wild West legends, NetEnt’s 3D video slot Dead or Alive has gone on to earn itself something of a cult status among slot players since its initial release in 2009. The software developer re-introduced it in 2016 specifically for the mobile market, giving its animated gunslingers and outlaws a new lease of life. It means you can play Dead or Alive at home or when you’re out on the go.
It’s easy to see why many players hold it in such high regard. For a game that is nearly a decade old, the graphics are still very impressive, with immersive and detailed backgrounds that really get you into the Western theme. However, it is the gameplay that is the most attractive element of Dead or Alive, offering big wins through a variety of bonus features.
When Dead or Alive first launched back in 2009, smart phones and tablets were in their infancy and mobile gaming was nowhere near as capable as it is today. With advancements in technology, NetEnt developed its range of NetEnt Touch games that were specifically crafted for smaller screens and touch responses. They revamped Dead or Alive in 2016 using this new platform, making it compatible with all iOS and Android devices.
Whatever device you choose to play on, you can immerse yourself in this homage to old western films, going full guns at dawn with a range of icons that hearken back to that era. The full reel is styled in the old wooden buildings of the old west, with iron signs used for the bet and win windows as well as the play buttons.
The reels are filled with Stetsons, cowboy boots, whisky shot glasses, a shiny Sheriff’s badge and a nefarious Wanted poster. The Sheriff badge is the highest paying of the base icons, offering 1000 coins if you manage to shoot a full payline of five icons. There are also traditional casino icons such as 10, J, Q, K and A that have been styled in gunmetal grey to match the western theme. As is common among slot games, these are the most frequent icons and also the lowest paying, with the A symbol offering 100 coins if you score a full payline.
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One of the reasons that Dead or Alive is still held in such high regard after nearly a decade is its wagon load of bonuses that should help you draw fast and net some cash. The Scatter symbol is a pair of pistols with some shiny bullets and the game pays out a 2x multiplier when you land two or more on a winning payline.
The game also offers Free Spins that come with Sticky Wilds. These are activated again by the Scatter symbol. If three or more of these appear anywhere on the reels, you’ll be handed 12 free spins. Don’t worry about losing count of how many Free Spins you have left, as a handy sign appears to count them down. All bet lines during the Free Spins session are doubled and once the bonus round is overt he total winnings are added to the cash pot.
However, the Sticky Wilds are where the real treasure lies. If you land any of these during the Free Spins bonus round, they remain fixed in place throughout the full Free Spins run. These take the form of infamous outlaws, with a total of five to find, one on each reel. They can be substituted for all symbols except for the Scatter, so hunting them out can prove very rewarding. If you root out all five, you’ll be gifted with another five Free Spins.
The Dead or Alive online slot is a cult classic game that has the polish you would expect from industry leaders NetEnt. Despite its age, the animation and graphics still feel fresh and evocative of old western films and TV shows. The bonuses are simple to grasp and can produce some high yield wins. The recent revamp for mobile devices shows that this old dog has a lot of fight left.
If you are looking for a more colourful and quirky Western-themed 3D slot game, check out Freaky Wild West by CTXM Software, or the True Sheriff by Betsoft Gaming. If the Western theme is not for you, you could check out some of NetEnt’s other popular offerings with similar bonuses, such as Gonzo's Quest, where you join the Spanish Conquistador on his quest to find El Dorado, the city of gold. For a more classic slot experience, try some spins on Starburst.
Senior content operations specialist at gambling.com
With over 12 years of experience in online gaming, Adam has seen, played, reviewed, and tested hundreds of slot games. He is always keeping an eye out for new features, themes, and potential jackpots by testing slot games even before they are released to the market.