“As timeless as a fairy-tale” – the expression is used to praise anything from Guillermo del Toro's latest film to a vintage cocktail dress, for the simple reason that fairy-tales never grow old. Countless adaptations of these evergreen stories have appeared in films, plays, musicals, cartoons and ballets, sometimes inspiring incredible innovations in entertainment like the Shrek films, which updated the fairy-tale for a new generation. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of NetEnt’s most popular online casino games is also one of its oldest – the thrilling video slot adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk, the story of a boy who swaps his cow for magic beans, much to his mother’s disgust and climbs a magic beanstalk into the clouds, where he finds his fortune in a murderous giant’s castle, like a flying Vegas casino.
The basic set-up is a standard video slot of five reels and three rows with 20 fixed paylines. Coin values vary between 0.01 and 0.50 and the bet level goes from 1 to 10, for an overall bet of anything from 0.20 and 100 per spin. (Use the Max Bet shortcut to get to the highest betting level fast.) The Wild symbol is the game logo, while the Scatter symbol is a treasure chest brimming with purple jewels – accumulate three or more across the reels to activate 10 Free Spins, plus an additional 5 if you earn 3 more Scatters while free-spinning. The Return To Player is 96.30%, and the maximum total payout is a whopping 600 000 coins! Originally launched for desktop gaming, Jack and the Beanstalk has been adapted for mobile devices and is fully compatible with iPhone and Android platforms.
For an online casino slot theme, it’s a great choice – who could not identify with the lucky boy who defies supernatural odds to escape with the giant’s treasure, including the harp that plays itself and the goose that lays the golden eggs? The graphics and animations are impressive and entertaining, set against a background of Jack’s house and the countryside beyond, complete with fairy-tale music and twittering birds. The basic symbols on the reels are beautifully designed playing cards (10, J, Q, K and A), with the higher-value symbols representing the important elements of the story: watering can, goat, two-headed giant and Jack, who can multiply your stake up to 1000x.
What really makes Jack and the Beanstalk one of the most engrossing online casino games of all time, though, is the built-in features. First and foremost is the Walking Wild feature. If any Wilds fall on any reel, you can re-spin at no cost – and the Wild keeps “walking” to the left, one reel at a time, so that the re-spins continue as long as the Wild remains on a reel, increasing the chance of landing even more Wilds. That’s not all – if you land three Treasure Chests on any reel, you get 10 free spins. All free spins earned with wild symbols are multiplied x3.
To top it all off, there is the Treasure Collection feature, unlocked by the Keys that land on the fifth reel during Free Spins. Land three keys and the next Wild becomes two stacked money bags. Land three more and the next Wild becomes three stacked gold hens. Three more still, and the next Wild becomes a golden harp that expands to cover the entire reel – a veritable mobile casino jackpot! All in all, you can get plenty of free spins and big wins in the bonus game if you are lucky enough to upgrade the Wilds quickly.