Apex Strike Megaways, a captivating online slot developed by Iron Dog Studio, immerses players in the untamed wilderness where survival against formidable wild animals is key. It’s quite remarkable to reflect on humanity’s evolution to the top of the food chain, overcoming the brute strength of bears and the collective ferocity of wolves. Despite the natural disadvantage in physical confrontations without weapons, humans have triumphed through intelligence and teamwork, establishing themselves as the planet’s ultimate apex predators.
The setting of Apex Strike Megaways transports players to the rugged terrain of North America—a dry, scorching landscape marked by dust, sparse desert vegetation, and imposing rock formations. This backdrop is a favored choice among casino game designers, offering a familiar yet thrilling environment for slot enthusiasts. What sets Apex Strike Megaways apart is its blend of classic background scenery with a nostalgic touch in its symbol design, reminiscent of the Wolf Gold slot. Particularly, the lion symbol emerges as a distinctive feature, adding a unique flair to the game’s overall aesthetic.
In Apex Strike Megaways, players are presented with a betting range that spans from 20 cents to $/€50 per spin, alongside an optional ante bet feature. Engaging the ante bet increases the stake by 25% while also doubling the likelihood of activating the Hold and Win feature. Importantly, the game’s Return to Player (RTP) rate remains constant at 96.13%, whether the ante bet is utilized or not. Operating on a medium-high volatility mathematical model, the game unfolds across a dynamic play area consisting of 6 main reels that can display between 2 to 7 symbols each, complemented by an additional reel above with 4 symbols. The total number of ways to win adjusts based on the symbols appearing on the main reels, reaching up to 200,704 possibilities.
As winning combinations are formed, the symbols involved are removed, allowing new symbols to fall into place, potentially creating further wins. This tumbling feature persists until no new winning combinations are possible. The paytable of Apex Strike Megaways features card ranks from 9 to A as lower-value symbols, while higher-value symbols include an eagle, a wolf, a lion (notably far from its natural habitat), and a bear. A six-symbol combination of royal symbols yields a payout ranging from 0.5 to 1.25 times the stake, whereas matching six premium symbols can result in wins between 2.5 to 25 times the bet. The wild symbol, which substitutes for all regular pay symbols, appears exclusively on the top horizontal reel, adding a strategic element to the gameplay.
Apex Strike Megaways: Slot Features
Apex Strike Megaways showcases its excitement through a series of tumbles, the distinctive Megaways Hold and Win feature, and the option to buy into a feature directly.
Megaways Hold and Win Feature: This feature activates when players land a combination of 6 Special Strike Nugget symbols and/or Special Sun symbols. Once triggered, all symbols responsible for activating the feature lock into place and remain fixed for the duration of the round. The feature kicks off with 3 respins, and any new Special Strike Nugget or Special Sun symbols that appear also stick to the reels, resetting the respin count back to three each time. Special Sun symbols reveal cash values directly, while Special Strike Nugget symbols can represent the Mini, Minor, Major, or Mega prizes, offering payouts of 10x, 50x, 250x, or an impressive 2000x the bet, respectively.
Feature Buy Option: For those eager to dive straight into the action, Apex Strike Megaways provides a feature buy option. This allows players to purchase direct entry into the Megaways Hold and Spin feature at a cost of 50 times their current bet. Opting for this route slightly enhances the Return to Player (RTP) to 96.35%, offering a strategic choice for players looking to maximize their chances of hitting big wins.
Apex Strike Megaways: Slot Verdict
At the time of its review, Iron Dog Studio was not in the midst of a particularly notable streak of game releases, and Apex Strike Megaways didn’t serve to change that trajectory. Its retro aesthetic might find favor with a niche audience, especially given its incorporation of a classic main feature, which does have its merits. While the hold ‘n win mechanic is seen in other Megaways titles like Gold Digger Megaways, Big Bass Hold & Spinner Megaways, and Floating Dragon Megaways Hold & Spin, it remains a relatively rare find within the Megaways framework developed by Big Time Gaming. Iron Dog Studio may have identified an underexplored niche with Apex Strike Megaways, aiming to carve out a unique space within the market.
However, the game could have benefited from a more thrilling implementation. For context, iSoftBet’s Aztec Gold Megaways, released around four years prior to Apex Strike Megaways, offered a similarly structured game but with visually striking graphics and a multiplier-enhanced hold ‘n win feature, setting a higher benchmark for engagement and excitement. The existence of various game options is positive for players seeking diversity, and Apex Strike Megaways may appeal to those with a specific taste for gambling, especially those drawn to the retro, North American wilderness, or nostalgia themes. This thematic choice is widely adopted, evidenced by the plethora of slots sharing this motif—though not all include a lion as Apex Strike Megaways does.
Nonetheless, the game’s hold ‘n win feature lacks innovation, contributing to an overall impression of mediocrity. Despite boasting a significant win potential of up to 10,000 times the bet, Apex Strike Megaways doesn’t quite reach the pinnacle of gaming excellence, failing to leave a lasting impression or to stand out as a leading title in its genre.