Arctic Valor (Crazy Tooth Studio): Review
Arctic Valor is a Microgaming powered slot developed by Crazy Tooth Studio, an independent Nevada-based software developing company that appears to have been producing slots mainly for the American market. Our background research came up pretty much empty handed and Microgaming themselves are yet to give Crazy Tooth Studio a proper introduction, though with a motto that reads "Quality Always Wins", what could possibly go wrong?
Ok, so this is a relatively small studio and it would be unfair to compare them to the big established giants we usually feature here on Bigwinboard. We also know that these guys are enormously proud of their work, so we'll try to be gentle even though we don't think too highly of Microgaming, a company that has completely lost touch with reality. Speaking of Microgaming - it was equally depressing as it was absurd to witness their futile attempts at the recent London iGaming conference, where they tried to hype their sad titles that would barely have been relevant 10 years ago, let alone in 2019. Anyways...
Arctic Valor is a 6 reel, 4096 ways slot that can be played from 0.15€ to 150€ a spin across all compatible devices. It features adjacent pays mechanics that allows you to win regardless of where on the reel set the winning combination appears as long as you land 3 or more matching symbols on adjacent reels. For example, land matching symbols on reels 4, 5 and 6 and the win is yours to collect.
In this slot you get to embark on an arctic adventure with a randomly triggered Icicle feature and Arctic Valor free spins. Similar to ELK Studios 2018 release Valkyrie, there's a Norse mythology theme going on here. Set in a heavenly arctic temple, you will see an animation of the northern lights putting on a show in the backdrop as snowflakes gently fall onto the reels. On the ice-cracked reels you'll come across fully stacked low-value pink, blue and snow crystals as well as medium-value shields, winged helmets, crossbows and swords. The top symbols are represented by 4 valkyrie warriors - all of equal value, giving you 0.66 times your stake for 6 across a payline. There are no special symbols included aside from the wild which substitutes for all symbols bar the scatter.
Arctic Valor (Crazy Tooth Studio): Features
In the main game, the Icicle feature may randomly trigger on any spin. 1 or more icicles fall onto the reels and can appear up to 3 symbols high on each reel. You are then asked to click on the icicles to reveal cash prizes or wild symbols. This feature triggers quite regularly but can also tease you without actually activating.
3 or more scatter symbols anywhere on the reels trigger the Arctic Valor bonus with 7 free spins on offer. In the bonus, the Icicle feature triggers on every spin to award you wild symbols. A set of Valkyrie symbols also comes into play here that are 3 symbols high. When Valkyrie symbols appear on the reels, the Icicles will specifically target them.
Arctic Valor (Crazy Tooth Studio): Verdict
Though Arctic Valor has a few things going for it, such as the 6-reel engine, the 4096 win all ways mechanics and fully stacked symbols, it ends up falling flat as a pancake due to the painfully dated visual design and the frustratingly low payouts. With that said, it does have a max win potential of 2700x per single spin should you land a full screen top symbol but with 38x wins being celebrated as a "huge win" here, it kind of gives you an idea what you're in for.
Aside from the somewhat choppy spins and not so impressive visuals (except for the intro which looks quite nice) we also came across a small annoyance. When the Icicle feature triggers, you manually have to click the icicles to reveal the prizes, rendering the auto spin function a bit useless since the feature triggers quite frequently.
The free spins don't make much sense either. The fully stacked Valkyrie symbols are removed to make way for 3 symbols high Valkyries instead. Furthermore, why make the Icicles automatically target the Valkyrie stacks when it should target the reels next to them to increase the chances of winning big. With the current setup it basically just adds premiums on top of premiums (please do correct us if we're wrong).
Microgaming seems to have made it into their life's mission to support independent studios. Whether its an act of kindness, laziness or a way to profit on them is hard to say but as gamblers, we could care less. All we expect is good games that don't rob us blind and that offer the thrill of knowing there's a chance to land massive wins, something Microgaming and its posse of studios repeatedly fail to deliver.
Dull visuals and mediocre gameplay overwhelm the math model positives of this lackluster offering.