Microgaming’s Highlander branded slot is a nod to the legendary 1980s fantasy film and a chance to win immortality on the reels. Okay, so maybe not immortality, but the game does include several features in addition to the film’s scenes, images, and animations.
Interestingly, the film’s financial performance at the time of its release was so poor that it lost money. However, Highlander was far from a failure, becoming a cult favorite that led to four sequels, a TV series, and a slot machine. Fans can now travel from the Highlands to New York City in Microgaming’s release, which roughly corresponded with the film’s 30th anniversary.
In case you didn’t see the movie, it followed a Scottish immortal named Connor McLeod as he faced up against other immortals from all around the world. The Kurgan, who was out to kill every other immortal on Earth, was Connor’s sworn enemy. ‘The Prize’ is promised to the last remaining immortal on Earth. The Prize is a gift of knowledge that can be used to enslave the whole human population. Not a comedy then.
It’s true that “there can be only one,” as the famous movie phrase puts it. Even though they are immortal, a severed head will kill them. However, the game itself begins in a much more subdued fashion, so none of those antics occur. Just like the movie which featured present-day Connor politely running an antique shop in New York. However, there are many flashbacks to the old country, and the slot version of Highlander begins in the Scottish countryside, complete with rolling hills, meandering streams, and a dark sky.
The typical Microgaming 5-reel, 3-row game area lies in the middle of a realistic landscape, with a soundtrack that fluctuates between a type of Celtic mysticism, and a booming 80s melody. Bets can be placed from 40 p/c up to $/€30 using the menu located beneath the reels, kicking off the age-old conflict once and for all.
With a medium volatility setting, the mathematical model isn’t quite the Kurgan in algorithmic form. The return to player percentage (RTP) is between 96.4% and 34%, which is a range that should appeal to the majority of players. That equates to slightly more than one win for every three spins.
Winners in Highlander are not based on paylines. Instead, there are 243 possibilities to win as long as three or more matching symbols appear on consecutive reels from left to right. The included icons are both movie-themed and more basic 10-letter to alphabetical royals. Microgaming has based their prizes on the movie’s cast, including Heather, Brenda, the Kurgan, and both past and present versions of Connor. The logo acts as a wild, replacing other symbols (excluding the scatter), and has the same combination value as modern Connor.
Highlights of the Highlander Slot Machine
When the features activate, you’ll hear some rockin’ guitar riffs. The scatter is what you’re after; having at least three in sight will activate the 2 Scatter feature, but even just one will do. When two scatters appear during the main game, one of them will become a wild, increasing your chances of winning.
Having three in view is optimal, as this is the number required to initiate Free Games. A total of 10 free spins are provided to players, and the action moves to the seedy back alleys of New York City.
Quickening Wilds are a unique feature of the Free Spins bonus round. An interesting tidbit from the film is that when one immortal kills another, the victor receives the deceased’s strength in a process called The Quickening. In the game, what this implies is that bolts of lightning hit the reels turning random symbols wild. The number of wild cards in play increases steadily while Quickening Wilds are in play. The only downside of free spins is that they cannot be re-awarded.
Final Say on the Highlander Slot
With its retro graphics and simple gameplay, Microgaming’s Highlander slot machine is a fun way to relive the glory days of the 1980s. Microgaming’s implementation of retro charm is so convincing that the company’s products may appear older than they actually are. Microgaming has opted for a more traditional style in an attempt to evoke the swinging ’60s when the picture was first released. Although the setting is in high definition, the gameplay is much more basic, making it a perfect complement to the film.
From a purely gaming perspective, everything boils down to scatters doing their thing. The 2 Scatter Feature is a fantastic touch because it helps players string together more wins when they turn wild. An encouraging word when disappointment at missing the feature due to a missing third scatter is setting in.
In any case, once you get three scatter symbols, things will become interesting. The scenario is flipped, and a more upbeat song is introduced while Highlander ramps up the intensity. The centerpiece is undoubtedly the Quickening Wilds function, and a nice touch is that the amount of wilds increases with each consecutive hit. It functioned admirably in Microgaming’s Dragonz during the Flint bonus, and it functions admirably here as well. Launch the lightning and collect prizes worth up to 3,416 times your wager.
Okay, so Highlander might not be the most exciting slot out there, nor the highest earning, but it ticks all the key boxes to make it a branded slot hit. The movie’s themes permeate every facet, from the actors to the setting to the symbols those actors use. At the end of the day, fans of the movie will be all over it, as will anyone who fondly remembers the era wishing to relive some 80’s action on the reels.