Casino Game Review: Payday Express (Fantasma)

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Screenshot of Payday Express online slot game.
BetMGM Dec 05, 2023, 9:48 PM

The success of Fantasma’s first Western-themed online slot, Bounty Showdown, has been followed up with Payday Express. This game has a much more comedic feel about it than the haunting audio-visuals of its predecessor, and it has a lower return to player (RTP) of 94.46% versus Bounty’s 96.16%. That’s not to say that it pales in comparison. Payday Express has a higher top winning potential of 6,254x, making it well worth the foray into the wild Wild West. 

If you’re interested in that era, there are a number of real-life saloons you can visit that recapture the time period of gold prospectors, gun-toting outlaws, and, of course, poker games in smoky rooms.

Game Overview

The game is set up with 5×3 reels and 10 paylines. It has a medium volatility, which goes hand in hand with its RTP for frequent modest wins and the expectation at any time of hitting pay dirt. The game can be played on all devices, from desktops to mobile tablets and phones, and can also be played in demo mode so you can test drive the features before electing to play casino games online for real money. You can also buy free spins for 70x the original wager, pushing up the RTP slightly to 94.55% to compensate.

How To Play

The gameplay is exciting and yet uncomplicated, with much more to offer in the base game than Bounty Showdown. There are only four characters on the reels, plus a wild and a scatter, and the regular playing cards of the 10 through to the ace. Lining up winning combinations from left to right will payout on a scale of anything from 4–500x. The big hitter is the mustachioed gold digger with a glinting gold coin.

Landing three bonus features wins you three free spins with a lock and respin mechanism. The wild symbol is represented by sticks of dynamite, and the scatter is the train. Wilds can land on any of the reels, and a full house of five wins 2,000x.

Graphics

The four characters are cartoon caricatures of types to be found in the frontier towns of the Wild West. There’s the Annie Oakley character, the unshaven prospector with his shovel, and TNT, the apparently successful gold digger who’s already clutching his shiny gold coin, and a fourth who’s trying to light their cheroot with a stick of dynamite.

The reels are set on a moodily lit landscape of soaring crags and cactus plants strewn with broken wagon wheels and the skulls of long-dead cattle and horses. The soundtrack has the beat of a chugging train, with the occasional whistle as it crosses the prairies and music that conjures up the spaghetti westerns of the 1960s.

Features

The free spins feature is linked to Payday Express’s train scatter, and landing three across the reels in the base game triggers 15 free spins. And everyone loves slots with free spins. Free spins are triggered by any winning combinations, where the winning symbols lock in place for a further spin. Payday wilds also drop in on the free spins rounds, increasing the chances of winning. Free spins can’t be retriggered.

The Payday Wild feature is activated by landing three or more Payday Wilds when each wild symbol replicates itself, landing randomly on the reels.

Bonuses and Jackpots

With the possibility of striking that 6,254x payout at any time, Payday Express feels a little like a jackpot slot, but like all the best online slots without progressive jackpots, this game keeps you playing in anticipation of landing the winning combination.

Bonuses in Payday Express come with the free spins, respins, and locked-in symbols, which are all enticing enough to keep even the most jaded gold panners excited. Doubling the number of wilds on the reels in Payday Wild is a big bonus, increasing the number of symbols that can create those winning lines and extending the bonus rounds.

Similar Games

Fantasma is a Swedish game developer that is making a name for itself across a variety of themes and genres. Read any online slot review, and you can see they consistently score among the top online casino games. Among their popular slots are Prometheus Titan of Fire with its ancient Greek theme and Safari Sun, set in the shadow of the African continent’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro. For more games with a Western theme, you can always try Dead or Alive, Bounty Raid, Bonanza, or Wild 3.

Digging for Gold

If you’re looking to play online casino real-money games, whether that’s slots or live dealer table games, come to BetMGM for the ultimate casino online betting experience. Simply register on the site and start prospecting for gold; it’s hidden there somewhere.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.