The truth might be stranger than fiction at times. Joseph Hafele, a physicist, and Richard Keating, an astronomer, performed a relatively basic experiment in 1971 to verify tenets of relativity. A group of atomic clocks were flown around the world and compared to others that stayed on the ground. Time passes more quickly the farther you are from the earth’s surface, where gravity is lower, as seen by the discrepancy between the planes’ clocks and those on the ground. So, it turns out that people who reside on higher floors of apartment buildings age more quickly than those who reside in lower floors.
Don’t freak out if your downstairs neighbor has Frodo’s young skin and you look like Gandalf; we’re talking about extremely modest changes. Put relativity aside for a second and think about something more manageable. Northernlights Gaming has released a new video slot called Timelines, which has a time repetition function and a scatter reward structure reminiscent of 9 Masks of Fire. The action in Timelines occurs on a 5×3 game grid, and after each spin, a snapshot of the reels is captured and placed above the main grid; the snapshots from the previous 5 spins are kept there, which can lead to a cluttered screen. Background imagery of a fuzzy vortex across time serves the subject well enough, but the whole visual impression is a touch off and cheap-feeling.
Timelines is a moderately risky slot machine with 243 paylines and a hit frequency of about once per three spins. There are four different return-to-player (RTP) options available, with a maximum return of 96.17% and a minimum of 86.81% across different markets. Stakes may be anything from 10 percent to £/€25 every spin, and you can set sail into the ether from any gadget.
Eight standard pay symbols are also along for the ride, with four low-paying diamonds and four high-paying futuristic-looking things making up the mix. Five of a kind pays out at a rate of 0.5x to 1x the wager when formed from low pay symbols and 2x to 10x the wager when formed from high pay symbols. Timelines lacks wild symbols but has multiplier icons that increase the value of Ways wins and add up when many such icons are in view.
Features of Timelines with Slots
Let’s begin with Timelines’ crowning invention, the Timelines Bonus. A Timeline Symbol, represented by a clock face, may bring up to fifteen symbols from the five mini-reels stored above the main grid down onto the main reel-set at any given time. A victory is possible with either regular pay symbols or Epic Strike symbols, although neither are required. Mini reels are retained at each betting level.
The Epic Strike feature pays off whenever you land at least three Diamond symbols. Players win 1, 3, 10, 30, 800, 1,000, or 4,000 times their wager when 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 Diamonds appear on the screen, in that order.
If you get three Wormhole Symbols, you get 10 free games. During free games, the number of Timeline and Multiplier icons appears on the reels.
Decision in a Timely Manner
Timelines was introduced into a slot development community that seemed mildly obsessed with the past. 4ThePlayer’s 10X Rewind and Hacksaw Gaming’s ponderous slot Itero both suffered similar problems not long before Timelines. also three games offer something unique, yet they also tap into a common human interest: the past. Timelines’s ability to remember prior turns made us think about what kinds of experiences stick with us, how they inform our present, and which ones we forget and never think about again. Unless, of course, you have a condition called extremely superior autobiographical memory (HASM), which makes it possible to recall a startlingly large number of events from your past with remarkable clarity. Possessing a sharp recall might be a boon in some situations but a burden in others, especially if embarrassing memories kept popping into your head.
Without meaning to be harsh, certain positions at Northern Lights tend to share some cringeworthiness or tact with Timelines. The studio doesn’t appear to care about getting the tiniest details right, preferring instead to throw everything together and call it a day. In the end, timelines just appear like a jumble of precious stones, clocks, blurry backgrounds, and frail grids. After all, appearances might be deceiving, so let’s move on to the gaming section.
To be more compassionate on this point, consider that Northernlights made an effort to put their own spin on the issue, even if Timelines does follow in the tradition of 9 Masks of Fire, which the Microgaming family of studios can’t get enough of. They’ve accomplished this in two primary ways. Both the multipliers and the unique Timeline Bonus mechanism contribute to Timelines’ high maximum payout of 9,500 times the wager. One may argue that Timeline symbols’ unique selling point is diminished because they appear to be randomly selected from the previous five spins.
Even if you agree with this pessimistic outlook, you have to give credit to Northernlights for trying to innovate in the scatter symbol reward game space. While the presentation of Timelines is definitely odd, if you can get beyond that, it might provide some thrills in the vein of 9 Masks of Fire with a twist.