Have you ever noticed how much of a magician’s performance is devoted to setting the stage for the trick, rather than the trick itself? Swinging around the stage with pretty stagehands while cheesy music plays in the background is exhausting. Then, keep your eyes open so you don’t miss the magic. We know that the dramatic escalation is meant to heighten suspense; in fact, as long as there is a satisfying resolution, most viewers won’t mind the slick presentation one bit.
What happens if the performance and the payout fall short of the mark? Playing SG Digital’s Dave Lame Bad Magician, a slot machine with a magic theme located in a theater, leads one to wonder whether they were trying for a throwback vibe with the drum rolls and big top music. The game may have a lot of functionality in its many magician pockets, but it has a more antiquated aesthetic.
Dave Lame Bad Magician is played on a standard 5-reel, 3-row game grid that extends during a feature, and it offers 20 fixed paylines across which players may land winning combos. Dave may be a mediocre illusionist, but at least the game is powered by a solid mathematical model. The return to player percentage is 96.10 percent, and the volatility is established as medium-high. Bonus games appear to activate more frequently than usual (once every 153.9 spins), whereas regular winnings occur at a rate of 1 in 4.71 spins.
Line-pays are awarded for landing matching symbols on neighboring reels, starting on the far left reel, and may be played between 20 p/c and £/€50 per spin. The low-paying symbols are the traditional J through A playing card suits, while the high-paying symbols include various saws, bunnies in hats, flowers, and the game’s logo. Five of a kind of a premium symbol awards from 5x to 25x the wager, with the wild symbol paying up to 50x for a full payline. Wilds can appear anywhere on the reels, but their main purpose is to substitute for other symbols and create winning line combinations.
Dave, the Lazy, Bad Magician
The bonus games and unique symbols in Dave Lame Bad Magician are plenty. Dave Lame can make an appearance on either side of the reels at any time during the game, beginning with the Dave Lame’s Disappearing Act bonus round. When he does, wins on numerous lines are combined together, and winning lines pay both ways for two to five respins.
In the main game, the bonus symbol can appear on reels 1, 3, or 5, and getting three of them at once will trigger the Pick A Pot bonus. On the table in front of you are five red cups, each of which contains a bonus game. The 5 available bonus games are shown when the player selects a pot.
Then, you’ll have the option to take the feature as is or risk it. Players gamble by shuffling two pots and selecting one to advance one position on the feature list. Picking a cup with a consolation reward is available if the bottom feature was previously won. This one returns you to the main game with a win of 10–15 times your wager.
In-game extras that may be played include the following:
In the bonus round of Knife Throw, you’ll see a wheel revolve with an aide attached to the hub and 10 balloons lining the rim. Bet multipliers are revealed when one of three balloons is popped by Dave’s knife throws. The numbers that can be entered are 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 20, 30, and 50. After popping three balloons, the total value is calculated and prizes are given out. Dave won’t throw the knife at the girl, but he will throw it at balloons.
Dave’s Rabbits gives you the chance to win 6 free games. Wild symbols (rabbits or doves) are thrown into the reels at random at the end of each spin. There is no way to reactivate this functionality.
Six free spins are given out in the Card Trick bonus game, which is played on a unique grid with just card symbols. Each participant must choose a multiplier from 2x to 25x from a hand of five cards before the round begins. This card’s value is doubled if it is drawn during a free spin. When the feature ends, any locked-in cards on the grid are totaled and the win total shown. If a joker card is dealt, Dave will flip over one of the multiplier cards, and if it’s a match for the card you choose, the value of that card will be doubled.
A bonus game with infinite free spins is available if you manage to escape the Escapology function. When a special tap symbol appears during this round, it expands the current grid by one row and ten ways, and it also boosts the win multiplier by one. When the number of rows on the reels hits 9, the bonus rounds stop.
Sawing a Reel in Half is the last available feature. Dave splits the grid when he wins, giving you 2, 3, or 4 individual reel sets. When a wild symbol lands, it expands to cover the entire screen. Additional free games (+2) are awarded if 3 bonus symbols appear anywhere on the reels.
Slot Judgment: Dave the Lazy, Incompetent Magician
Dave Lame Bad Magician is more than simply a catchy moniker, much like Wayne’s World’s The Shitty Beatles. SG may have gone further back in time if they wanted to achieve a throwback appearance. They could have done better than the Freddi Fish period looking game we received if they had worked the very early days of illusion, employed an Edwardian/Harry Houdini approach, or even done the 80s stuff other firms are doing. Dave gives off an approachable Mr. Bean air, but it’s hard to shake the impression that everything about him is a little dumb.
This is also true of other aspects of the game; the animations are slow, the tempo could have used a kick to get going, and the features are entertaining but seem underwhelming. Lame Dave Like other SG-themed slots like Cluedo Cash Mystery, Bad Magician has a ton of additional features and games. The idea of spinning a reel to earn bonus games that can then be risked for possibly greater ones is a concept made popular by Blueprint Gaming and adapted by SG in the form of Gremlins. It exemplifies how far down the development path Blueprint Gaming is. When compared to other feature films, The Goonies Return stands out as a master class in execution.
Dave Lame horrible Magician’s payoffs aren’t going to set the world of illusion on fire, but they’re not horrible, either. The slot’s homepage advertises payouts of up to 5,000x the stake, yet the ‘Maximum Win’ is reduced to 4,048x the bet in the game sheet. Despite the irony of the term, Dave Lame’s Disappearing Act ended up being the review’s best success. We didn’t find any evidence in our tests that Dave couldn’t improve his performance in the bonus rounds.
In conclusion, the title, Dave Lame Bad Magician, set such a low standard that the remainder of the game was unable to rise to it. To end on a pop-culture note, it was like seeing Gob’s disappearing boat act on Arrested Development. Proclaiming, “Where once there was a yacht, now there is not,” he then sinks the family’s $700,000 boat to the tune of The Final Countdown.