Madness? This is Sparta. Unfortunately, the RTP is a bit Spartan on this one (95.30%), though that is somewhat made up for by great gameplay and high volatility.
"When our archers fire their arrows at you, there shall be so many that will block out the sun," said Xerxes to King Leonidis, the leader of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. "Then we shall fight in the shade," was the Spartan response.
Few historical battles are quite as iconic as the stand made by the 300 shields in the Hot Gates of Thermopylae. The small band of warriors faced down the entire army of the largest empire in their known world.
Now they are immortalised in 300 Shields Extreme, one of a large collection of slots that used the popularity of the movie 300 to spin gold out of those Spartan’s brave, but ultimately tragic, fate.
The graphics are pretty decent, as you would expect from a recent Nextgen product. The background is an image of the grain fields of Sparta, while the reels are laden with biremes, shields and those iconic Ancient Greek helmets.
The Bonus game takes the slot out to the battlefield, with additional shield symbols and a new background. These are coupled with excellent animations to create an atmospheric shift between peacetime and war. As you progress through the free spins, the background changes to contain more Persian troops and arrows begin to appear on the reels.
On top of solid visuals, the music is similarly evocative, tying the whole slot together and emphasising the ancient Greek feel of the game.
Much of the gameplay is very basic but is given pace and style by the graphic elements. The base game is little more than your standard five by three slot. It does sport a gamble feature that allows players to pick the colour or suit of the next card in order to increase both volatility and the player’s blood pressure.
Additionally, there is an option to buy directly into the bonus game, which is the more interesting gameplay element anyway (full details below).
The Wild symbol substitutes for all symbols except the Scatter symbol.
Three or more Scatter symbols trigger the Bonus game. This starts with five free spins and a multiplier of x2. During each free spin, every shield symbol that lands anywhere on a reel is collected and added to a counter.
After you collect two shields, five more free spins are added, and the multiplier increases to x5. At six shields, another five spins are added, and the multiplier rises to x25. The highest multiplier of x300 is achieved at twelve shields. Every time the multiplier goes up, the background changes and additional blood and arrows appear on the reels.
The return to player of this game is 95.30%, substantially lower than we would like to see on a slot like this. We use a yardstick for the average of roughly 96%, which this slot comfortably undershoots.
The range of bets on the site we tested ran from a minimum bet per spin of $/£/€0.25 up to a maximum of $/£/€12.50 per spin.
The volatility of this game is high, making it a perfect match for our preferred strategies. Hopefully, they’re as successful as Leonidus was.
Although the return to player is poor on 300 Shields (just 95.30%), it does offer very high volatility, which goes some way to mitigating this fact.
Given that the main gameplay is done so well, the visuals are so stylish, and the bonus is as much fun as it is, we can offer a cagey recommendation for this game.