With a name like Joker Gems, we can’t say we’ve expected the game to take place in outer space. But indeed, that’s the place! Poor attempts at rhyme aside, outer space and cluster paying games seem like a natural combination, although ELK Studios decided to go the more old-fashioned route and use gemstones instead of trying to make something weird like bits of rock fusing together to create star Wilds or something. Get on it, developers, that idea was a freebie from your good friends at VideoSlot! Joker Gems offers gamblers a large 5x5 playing field which uses cluster wins instead of regular paylines – simply collect three or more icons adjacent to each other, and reap the win! The title doesn’t have a standard Wild or Scatter, but it does make use of respins and a random win feature.
We quite liked the graphics in Joker Gems. The vastness of outer space is made quite clear while you’re gazing at it past the transparent reels and while there’s not much going on, ELK
Studios do great things with the little that’s offered. Stars will turn on and off in the background and the reels will occasionally light up with blue, passing stars if you idle for too long, which highlight how to win the three fixed jackpots you see off to the side. As the name might have implied, most of the symbols are gemstones – emeralds, citrines, sapphires, rubies, as well as a purple gemstone with a golden outer ring, and another sapphire, this time, in the shape of a lucky seven. The final symbol available is the Joker, who, when on the reels, will occasionally look at the player and give them a brief wink, before turning back around as if nothing’s happened. Gameplay wise, the title will often draw plenty of blanks on the field, which it makes up by giving you a re-spin for every winning combination, or for expanding an existing winning combination, allowing you to chain together wins with the aforementioned respin. The medium to high variance makes it a relatively rare occurrence, but when it did happen, it never disappointed in terms of pays.
The first special feature is called Light Chaser. Triggered randomly it will simply move through the reels, creating a cluster of four to five identical symbols which will result in a win when the chaser stops what it’s doing. This is the one and only bonus that Joker Gems has, but it’s also worth mentioning how to hit those juicy jackpots off to the side. Rather than it being a random occurrence, instead, those jackpots are awarded when symbols cover the entire selected area for that jackpot. For the bronze jackpot, gamblers have to fill all the inner blocks, while the silver jackpot has players filling out all the outer blocks. The golden jackpot, meanwhile, has you covering the entire reel with symbols. And just to make it clear, they have to all be of the same symbol, too, which means you’ll be collecting re-spin wins while achieving this, increasing your win even more!
While we would have liked to see a bit more in terms of the graphics, we won’t complain – Joker Gems proved to be rather enjoyable to look at, and even more so to play! The special feature wasn’t the most engaging, but thanks to the re-spins and cluster wins, we had a lot of fun. A great showing by ELK Studios, all around.