Developer Iron Dog Studio has thrown its hat into the ring with yet another ‘book of’ type slot game based on the ever-popular topic of Ancient Egypt. One of the most remarkable aspects of this book is its name: Book of Ba’al. A cursory examination of the historical record reveals that Ba’al has appeared in many guises, making it challenging to provide a single, comprehensive characterization of the figure. The Book of Ba’al takes place in ancient Egypt, thus for the sake of simplicity, let’s use the Egyptian term. Set, the Egyptian deity of storms, bloodshed, and chaos, is said to have been linked to Ba’al by some. Let’s keep it open for now if this interpretation still doesn’t sit well with you; it appears many other individuals have used Ba’al to symbolize a wide variety of things.
It’s quite evident that the Book of Ba’al is completely familiar ground for the gamers. The game takes set in an ancient Egyptian building made of stone, either a temple or a palace. Somewhere with roaring fires and deity sculptures interspersed among pillars covered with hieroglyphs. This approach is comfortable enough, offering absolutely nothing novel but yet failing to put off gamers who are looking for some straightforward ‘book’ gameplay. The winged meter in the upper right corner shows that it’s not fully generic, though. This component contributes to the Book of Ba’al’s lone original feature, which is discussed in more below.
Bets start at only 10 p/c every spin and go up to £/€50 for those with greater pockets. The game is played on a 5×3 grid, and players are rewarded when matching symbols fall on any of the game’s 10 fixed paylines, which run from the left edge of the screen. There is a theoretical return value of 96% to be found in the Book of Ba’al, which is the result of a typical ‘book’ mix of a highly volatile mathematical model and substantial potential.
Book of Ba’al’s symbolism is also faithful to the source material, with low-paying tiles depicting 10-A Egyptian-style playing card ranks, middle-paying tiles depicting ankhs, eyes, and scarabs, and a high-paying tile depicting a dashing young Indiana Jones lookalike. Five low pay symbols on a payline will award a payoff of 10–15x the line bet, while five premium symbols will award a payout of 75–500x the line bet.
Slot Machines Based on the Book of Baal
The book icon is the standard wild and scatter symbol, appearing on any reel to increase your winnings. The book is the wild symbol, and it may be used in lieu of any other symbol excluding enlarged symbols to create more winning combinations. Scatter pays out 2x, 20x, or 200x the wager for 3, 4, or 5 books, plus 10 free games when they appear.
A normal pay symbol is selected at random to become the Special Expanding Symbol before the free spins begin. During free spins, if a special symbol contributes to a winning combination, it will grow to fill the whole corresponding reel. After that, expanding symbols pay across all lines regardless of where they land. Additional free spins may be won by landing 3 or more scatters at any time during the feature.
Round of Mini-Features
Book of Ba’al’s Mini Feature Round is one of the game’s distinguishing features. The side meter fills up whenever a book icon appears in a winning combination that does not result in the activation of free games. When 25 books are accumulated in this manner, a bonus function is unlocked. Each reel has one pay sign that has been transformed into a unique symbol. While the other reels spin once for free, the expanded symbols remain in place. When a newly selected symbol lands, it, too, grows.
Ba’al’s Verdict on the Slot Machine
Iron Dog is an imaginative bunch. Without further ado, let’s assume that when they aren’t nudging Megaways, they’re thinking of novel ways to promote BTG’s game engine to third parties. In contrast, it seemed like they were just coasting along with Book of Ba’al. One of the best things that can be said is that at least Iron Dog didn’t completely botch it. There are no out-of-the-ordinary personalities, nothing strange or unusual, and no moments of misplaced boldness. Book of Ba’al is hardly more than a paint-by-numbers exercise designed to expand the studio’s portfolio.
Players will have already experienced almost all the Book of Ba’al has to offer. The Mini Feature is its only new feature, and it’s actually very good. It’s a cool extra that works with the iconic growing symbol mechanic of these games. Although the Mini Feature didn’t exactly go off the rails during our playtests, there is still a chance that the dashing hero symbol will be selected, leading to a 5,000x the stake win if all reels are filled on the next spin. It’s quite cool that you can get this from the beginning of the game and it’s almost as much as the maximum victory in Book of Ba’al. Nothing much happens outside of the Mini Feature. The remainder of the game works as intended, but without much flair; nonetheless, if standard “book” slots are your thing, Book of Ba’al will likely appeal to you as well.
Is the one novel element sufficient to entice ‘book’ gamers away from their tried-and-true methods? If they’re used to performing primarily conventional arrangements, then maybe. Not if they like more complex games with bigger potential rewards, such as Book of Shadows.