If you become irritated by filmic anachronisms like the kilts in Braveheart or the Converse sneakers in Marie Antoinette, you might want to skip Just For The Win’s Adventures of Captain Blackjack. The reason for this is because the heyday of Caribbean swashbuckling occurred throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, while the game of Blackjack didn’t become popularity until the early 20th century. Unproven speculation attributes the game’s inception to the Romans, and there are antecedents like Vingt-Un and the Spanish-derived Veintiuna. Blackjack, however, is supposed to have begun in Nevada in 1931, the same year gambling was legalized in the United States. But history is a debatable subject, especially in the digital age, so let’s give Captain Blackjack a pass for now and see where his journey takes us.
It all begins in a beach setting, with a wooden portside village somewhat reminiscent of the towering mountains of St. Lucia. The game’s 5×3 grid and 20 paylines are spiced up by a beautiful female pirate dangling perilously from a rope to the left. Four fixed jackpots are displayed on the other side of the screen, with values shown as multiples of the current wager. Screens with tentacles, chests, and wheels lay above a design reminiscent of Just For The Win, both visually and in terms of the amount of supplementary content.
The volatility is rated as “Very High” by JFTW, and regular wins occur at a rate of about 1 in 4 spins (23%), with free spins and the Kraken Wheel potential of throwing up substantial prizes. Bets range from 20 p/c to £/€50 per spin. Different versions of the game have different potential returns, with the highest version offering 96.18%. Otherwise, the game is identical in all other respects.
When three or more identical symbols line up from left to right on the first reel of the grid, you win a prize. There are four piratical character symbols, as well as bottles, explosives, swords, guns, and the like, ranging in value from low to high. If you get five of a kind with Captain Blackjack, you’ll win 20 times your original wager. For the other three persons, this decreases to 5-12.5x, and for the other four things, it falls to 2.5-4x. When a wild appears on the reels, it may substitute for any other symbol except the scatter. The value of a line of wilds is equal to that of a Captain symbol.
The slot game Adventures of Captain Blackjack has two bonus rounds that might lead to bigger payouts. These come from both the free spins and the Kraken Wheel itself.
Players have a chance to win a spin on the Kraken Wheel whenever Kraken Coins land on the reels. It guarantees a win of either the Mini (15x the wager), Minor (40x the bet), Major (250x the bet), or Mega (5,000x the stake) whenever it goes off. The reward is determined by the section of the wheel it lands on. The Kraken Wheel cannot be used during free spins; it is exclusive to the main game.
If you get at least three of the skull and crossbones scatter symbols, you’ll get six free games. Having 3, 4, or 5 scatters in view also awards the player with the corresponding number of extra feature selections. A screen showing nine locked boxes is used for the picking process. Each has an additional perk like:
Free rounds extended by 3, 4, 5, 6, or 9 spins.
The win multiplier is increased by a factor of 1, 2, or 3.
A standard icon becomes a crazy one.
The emblem was raised from the lower ranks to the middle.
Landing 2, 3, 4, or 5 scatter symbols triggers 10 free spins with a multiplier of x1 (or higher owing to picks), and 1, 2, 3, or 4 extra feature picks are awarded, respectively. When the maximum of 16 features has been activated, nothing but more free spins remains.
Captain Blackjack’s Slot Machine Decision
While we’re on the subject of the past, did you know that the black Jack of Spades or Jack of Clubs plus the Ace of Spades paid out at ten to one in early versions of Blackjack? Anyone who has played the updated version of Blackjack knows that this is no longer an official regulation. Adventures of Captain Blackjack evokes a similar sentiment with its design and gameplay that are reminiscent of several other games from JFTW. Not in a plagiaristic sense, but a similar vibe and atmosphere is evoked as in earlier works by the same team.
Adventures of Captain Blackjack’s mechanics are conventional fare. An otherwise dull fundamental game is made more exciting by the possibility of spinning the Kraken Wheel after collecting Kraken Coins. Although free spins provide a greater potential payout, the Kraken Wheel’s top prize seemed more attainable. The low potential payouts due to the low value symbols and little number of paylines. Players can benefit from a win multiplier bonus feature if they manage to acquire it from the feature select area, but even at its maximum value of x7, the game still presents a significant challenge. The maximum payout during free spins is 5,000 times the initial wager or £250,000, whichever comes first.
The whole experience of playing Adventures of Captain Blackjack was satisfactory, and it seemed like a typical release from Just For The Win. It looks and sounds about as well as we’ve come to expect from the studio, and it has much of the same features. That’s not to say it’s a terrible thing, but it’s worth noting that Adventures of Captain Blackjack doesn’t exactly represent a bold statement from Just For The Win to kick off the new year.