During the history of the online slots industry, there has been a somewhat linear push to improve that has led to the current state of the video slots sector. This push to improve has led to increasing levels of complications of games with stronger graphics, in-depth features and large pay tables. 1x2gaming's Santa 3x3 is a departure from all of that, and it gets back to the barebones roots of what a slot is supposed to be: chances to win sizable payouts. The graphics are very plain and straight-forward, and there's not much flash to be had in this game. However, it does have a certain minimalist appeal that some players will probably enjoy quite a bit.
Format of the Game
This game's format is super atypical, but it's largely based around the concept of a single-payline classic slot (more here). The idea is that you have nine different single-payline slots arranged in a 3x3 grid, and that's where the 3x3 comes from in the name of the game. Each individual set of three reels plays independently, and you can turn any of them on or off at any given time without hurting your RTP by just left-clicking them on the screen.
Betting works in a pretty atypical way as well. You get to choose a bet size that will apply to each of the [up to] nine mini slots being played on the screen. However, this company has made it a lot easier to choose a bet size than what you normally find in slots. It uses an interface that you normally see in table games like blackjack where you click on chip sizes to add them to your total wager. This wager will apply per slot, and it starts in denominations of just $0.25. With all nine mini slots activated, the smallest bet per spin that you can have is $2.25, but you can play with just one of them for $0.25 per spin.
Pay Table Structure
The pay table is structured in a way that's really minimalist in a lot of ways. There are a total of 16 symbols in the game, and you always need three of a kind to win. To keep you from having to keep going back to check the actual pay table, each symbol has a small number in the corner that lists is payout rate for three of a kind. This makes it easy to keep up with what the available payouts are without having to continuously interrupt your sessions by clicking over to the pay table screen.
The largest win in the game is 500x for five of Santa, and that makes sense given that this is a Christmas-themed slot and that Santa 3x3 is the name of the game. Three of the star earns 100x, and three stockings earns a 50x prize. You can also pick up 30x for three snowmen or 25x when you get three of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, which is a cute inclusion. The blue present gives players 20x for three, and three of the angel picks up a 15x payout for the player. For the blue holly, you'll get a 10x payout for three that rounds out the top end of the available wins.
Moving on down the line, you can earn a modest 8x for three Christmas trees, and the pay level drops slightly to 7x for three snowflakes. Three of a kind in candy canes gets players a 6x win, and that becomes 5x when you line up three of the red present symbol. You can also get 4x for three of the red holly or 3x for three of the green Christmas ornament. The yellow and purple ornaments are the lowest two symbols in the game, and they pay 2x and 1x for three of a kind, respectively.
This game is very clear about what it is what it's not from the very beginning. Santa 3x3 is a part of a line of games in the 3x3 series that have the same kind of format and play style, and they're not trying to compete with the top video slots in the industry with this game. Instead, they're shooting for a niche type of player who prefer a simple, down-to-earth experience where everything is based on value from the pay table instead of value from features that rarely happen. In this way, the game is solid, but don't expect it to give the same kind of experience as the top video slots in the industry.