The tragic story of the phantom of the opera is one that's been imagined in many forms, appearing on everything from the stage to the big screen. The latest incarnation, NetEnt's Universal Monsters: The Phantom's Curse online slot, was released at the start of 2018. If the game’s generous 96.5% RTP wasn’t enough, it also offers a host of different bonus features. Flashy graphics and sound are all well and good, but let's have a look at how the game itself plays below.
In most respects, this is a pretty standard slot. There are five reels, although a slightly more generous than usual 40 paylines, and three bonus modes that can help you potentially win the up to 200 times your initial stake. Couple this with a respectable return to player of just over 96% and there's a lot to like about this title on the surface.
When it comes to presentation, NetEnt has done a great job. There's even a fully animated intro sequence to help draw you into the world of the phantom. The music and sound are high quality, as you'd expect from a NetEnt title, and the smartly drawn opera house backdrop is really brought to life thanks to the animated mist, giving it a suitably eerie atmosphere.
The Phantom's Curse is optimised for use on Chrome, but is fully compatible with pretty much all browsers. You can play the game on both Apple and Android mobile devices, as well as desktop and laptop computers.
This modern slot gives you handy features like autoplay and max bet icons, so you can spend more time paying attention to the reels. The paytable can be found by clicking on the 'i' icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, so you can always get an idea of symbol value at a glance.
Settings are available at the bottom of the screen on the left-hand side and here you can mute the sound or alter the quickspin options for the game, as well as disable the intro screen and movie if you prefer. There's also a play for fun mode, which is good to see – you don't always need to place an actual money stake to enjoy the game after all and the free play also lets you get to grips with how things work.
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Symbols are refreshingly simple while avoiding the standard slot tropes of numbers and letters. Instead, you'll see traditional card suits, which make the standard low value symbols. They're nicely realised though, in the form of cracked mirrors. The Phantom is of course the highest value symbol, followed by Christine, the Phantom's love interest. The Phantom's mask is the wild here and the chandelier is the scatter.
There are three bonus features in The Phantom's Curse online slot. The first is a free spin mode, which is activated when you land three scatters anywhere on reels one, three and five. What's interesting here is that there's no set amount of free spins – you can keep getting them until the masked phantom appears on all reels. The masked phantom can also be stacked during this round if it appears on the same reel more than once.
The Masked Phantom Re-spin is activated as a result of the above, as long as you can also get a stacked normal phantom as well. The masked stacked phantom needs to be on reel five as well. Once triggered, any bonus symbols and wilds will hold in place when you re-spin.
The final bonus mode is a click bonus, which you can activate by landing an unmasked phantom on reel one, along with a stacked Christine on reel five. There are two mini games to play once triggered. The first one sees you clicking on roses to reveal prizes, before moving on to click on mirrors, which hold the multiplier bonuses.
Overall, this is a solid game from NetEnt. There are some good potential wins on offer and the presentation is top notch. If you enjoy challenging, slick and well executed themed video slots, then this is definitely worth a few spins. It does have some quite complicated bonus modes though, so might not be the best choice if you're new to playing online slots. And if you're a fan, then pretty much all of the NetEnt catalogue will be enjoyable too, thanks to the high quality and consistency.
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