A wet, windy, dull, and dismal morning may be as commonplace as a Tier 3 restriction in Manchester these days, but I know what you’re thinking – that sounds like the perfect excuse for a tea party.

And so the scene is set, alongside a floral adorned gift bag full of a variety of treats and mischief, for what was billed as a ‘first of its kind’ slot launch by iSoftBet last week.

The aim was a relatively simple one, to discover what is hidden behind the supplier’s ‘biggest’ release of 2020, Queen of Wonderland Megaways – the group’s eighth Megaways title of the year.

Interest was certainly piqued, alongside a touch of confusion, when an email popped into the inbox with the subject heading ‘Virtual Tea Party,’ but in a bewildering year such as the one we are, many would say thankfully, nearing the end of, you’d think we would know better.

Zoom, a place of much familiarity for so many these days, was the setting, as a variety of stakeholders convened to try and win a Playstation 5 test drive the supplier’s latest offering.

“This year has been like no other, so what better way to bring some much-needed positivity than by ending 2020 with a bang and an immersive virtual tea party. We wanted to showcase our passion for what we do by delivering a unique experience and giving invited guests a taste of what’s to come,” said Mark Claxton, iSoftBet’s head of games, when quizzed by SlotBeats on the launch event. 

Adding: “Our guests to the ‘tea party with a twist’ will see their curiosity re-awakened with mystery hampers arriving at their doorsteps filled with goodies that they will be invited to ‘wear’, ‘eat’, ‘drink’ and play as the event unfolds.”

Claxton dutifully greeted ‘guests,’ before handing over the reigns to casino streamer Fruity Slots who offered an explanation of what to expect from the title before the afternoon’s main event, a €1,000 ten minute battle royale where players fought it out for the top spot to be crowned the king or queen of wonderland.

Arguably the pride of joy of the slot, and something referred to throughout, is the combination of the Megaways free spins mode and a Hold and Win bonus feature, as the 6-reel, 7-symbol addition to the Twisted Reels series, joining Sheriff of Nottingham and Morgana Megaways, aims to enable players to capture the Queen’s riches. Queen of Wonderland Megaways subsequently rolled-out network wide following the event.

“We wanted to delve further into our successful Twisted Tales series, and this tale of old was a great fit for the mechanics that we wanted to achieve,” adds Claxton.

“From a gameplay perspective we are always keen to build upon successful and player-loved features, two of which feature in this game.”

And so onto the battle it was, and one which we would very much like to say went right down to the wire and was filled with as much tension as an England versus France Autumn Nations Cup final. However, let’s just say that strategy let us down and left us languishing.

Towards the summit the battle also filtered out into something of a damp squib, as Francois Dogon, Betclic’s casino manager, crushed the opposition to ease into, and very much safely stay in, first place. 

An Xbox Series X, iPad Pro, iPhone 12 and the highly sought after Alice in Wonderland DVD joined the aforementioned Sony games console on the Queen’s prize wheel, with good fortune continuing into that all important final spin. 

As the wonder and vibrancy of the 45-minute production drew to a close, and crushing defeat set in, CasinoBeats consoled itself in a hamper of goodies that was still idling by its feet. Who needs a PlayStation 5 anyway.