Microgaming has an entire series of slot machines which are inspired by rhyming reels for children, and in Hearts & Tarts they deliver yet another title of this type. The Queen of Hearts is the name of the rhyming reels which make up the theme in this case. Hearts & Tarts has 30 lines which are placed on a 5 reel setup, of 3 symbols each. You can only go after a top payout of $10,000 here, but the game has a number of other things to sweeten the pot, such as wilds, stacked symbols, multipliers, scatters and even free spins with doubled payouts.
A total of three elements are offered for the wager system, and you can change them all, though only within certain ranges. The coin value for example, is going to vary only between $0.01 and $0.25. You can have up to 10 coins for each line though, so the line bet can reach $2.50. With 30 active lines used at most, you have the option to place wagers of up to $75.
At the basis of this slot machine sits a nursing rhyme called Queen of Hearts. The rhyme basically tells us how the queen is baking tarts, and how someone steals them. The result is that the entire slot machine is built around the idea of a queen’s court, with tarts that are shaped like hearts being served by beautiful waitresses. There is a boy that steals the cookies as well, just like in the nursery rhyme. The five reels are placed on top of a book of nursery rhymes, and you can see its outline at the borders of the columns. Outside that area, you see a dark red background with red hearts on it, sort of like wallpaper. The symbols on the reels start you off with the Queen, then you get the heart with the logo on it, a crown, the boy, the waitresses bringing the cookies, the plate with tarts and some baking equipment. The graphics follow the same style as the other slots that Microgaming designed based on various rhyming reels. It’s going to be an interesting game design wise and I believe that most players will enjoy it.
One of the better paying symbols in this game, the Queen of Hearts, is the only regular one that appears stacked no matter where you get it, either during regular or free spins. Another major symbol of the slot is not a regular one, having the wild feature attached to it. This is the one to show the game logo, so it’s easy to spot. Symbols of this type can form combinations and pay as much as 4,000x by themselves, but most of the time you will spot them in all sorts of mixes with the regulars, as which they can act. The wild symbol may not act as a replacement for a scatter though. The wild symbol changes into a stacked one for the duration of the free spins, but more on that below. On the other hand, there is also a feature symbol which has the Queen’s Crown as its image. This is considered a scatter symbol thanks to the fact that it can appear anywhere on the five reels, without any requirements tied to its positioning. Just by having at least two Crown icons visible, you will be getting a prize, which multiplies the amount wagered that spin by 2x to 200x (for two to five symbols visible). As in most slot machines that use scatters, these symbols are also used to trigger features, not just prizes. 3 to 5 Crowns in view will bring you a feature with 10 free spins. The free spins have doubled payouts, so there is a permanent multiplier present there. You can retrigger the free spins along the way, with another set of 3 scatters, if you’re lucky enough to get them. It’s worth noting that the wild symbols are stacked for the duration of these spins, and that regular combinations benefit from both the wild’s and the free spin’s multiplier, so they end up being worth 4x more.
If you look just at the base game spins, the best rewards will come via scatter symbols, which can pay as much as $15,000. The wild symbol takes the crown overall though, since it pays up to $10,000 during regular spins and up to $20,000 during free ones. As stacked symbols during free spins, wilds have a huge potential to pay the slot’s players, even offering the jackpot multiple times during a single spin. The announced RTP for this game is at 96.10%, which most players would consider a very good number.
“Rhyming Reels: Hearts and Tarts” is one of four slot machines in a series and it’s one of my favorites among those. The features and the payout potential both make it a good choice for any player.