Avatar Gateway Guardians (Yggdrasil Gaming): Overview
The LeoVegas Originals Series continues to expand with the addition of Avatar Gateway Guardians. This series is an exclusive collection of Yggdrasil games that can only be found in the LeoVegas line-up for their customers. The first impression of the playing grid brings back memories of that device used on Stargate SG1 to travel to different planets. Avatar Gateway Guardians has a singular look and way of spinning that you probably haven't seen before. In some ways, it's actually like stepping through a Stargate to a strange new world that combines old and new motifs. The only things missing are Jack's endless wisecracks and Teal'c saying 'Indeed' and raising an eyebrow every five minutes.
Instead of vertically spinning reels, the game spins 3 rings in a circular motion. Symbols are split into three parts which spin independently on each of the 3 rings. If the 3 parts of a symbol line up on a spin, they form a winning combination and payout. If they form within the glowing white highlighted areas, they trigger extra features. Essentially, you get a 3x6 set up during the base game and 3x8 during the bonus feature. It takes a little while to get to use to, but a few spins in and you will quickly get the gist.
Step one in getting the Gateway rotating is to choose a bet from 10 p/c to £/€200 per spin. Spin you will need to do a lot of, because this highly volatile slot can come with a fair amount of downtime between wins. The purple, green and blue dot symbols land most often having the lowest value on the paytable. The remaining 4 regular symbols are faces of what must be the Guardians. They look kind of like those masks you see in ancient Greek theater. We get a blue one, a green one, a purple one, and a reddish-gold one. The reddish-gold character is the most valuable at 40 times the stake, which is alright, but don't hold your breath because it very rarely falls. The game saw a lot of test time – it was hard to put down, and that symbol showed up once, if that. The return to player rating sits at a respectable 96.3% which is above average. Players can also set up to 1000 auto spins, which might come in handy for powering through dead spins.
Avatar Gateway Guardians (Yggdrasil Gaming): Features
Along with the unusual game dynamic there are two extra features to help bolsters wins – the Hot Spot and Free Spins. During base and bonus games, there are highlighted sections of the grid which are called Hot Spots. There is 1 during the bonus game and up to 8 during free spins. If a full symbol lands within a Hot Spot it triggers a Multiplier Wheel. The multiplier starts at x1 and the Multiplier Wheel, which is located underneath the grid, spins horizontally. The number it lands on gets added to the multiplier. This process continues to rack up multipliers until the Multiplier Wheel lands on the payout symbol, or it reaches its capped limit of x101. Then the win is calculated and paid out.
Free spins are triggered when the 3 free spins parts land on the grid. They do not need to land in one whole piece like pay symbols though. Just anywhere in view is enough to launch 8 free spins. However, the way they land effects the bonus round. If 0, 1, 2, or 3 parts land in the base game Hot Spot then 2, 4, 6, or 8 Hot Sots come into play during Free Spins respectively. If a free spin results in more than one symbol landing on a hot spot, each symbol has a turn with the multiplier wheel one after the other. Obviously, you want 8 because it means every winner that lands will trigger the Multiplier Wheel.
Avatar Gateway Guardians (Yggdrasil Gaming): Verdict
Avatar Gateway Guardians has a lot going for it as well as a couple of niggles that let it down. First, the good news. It's unique. You have to give it that. There is an alien quality to its look and feel, which is intriguing. The imagery is phenomenal and the background is subtly sinister. It definitely looks like an Yggdrasil game, just set on another planet. The gameplay is decent too and actually quite basic once you get the hang of what is going on. It's got the right dash of x-factor without being gimmicky which gives it a 'just one more spin' effect. Demoing it is great, just how much of your bankroll you would spend on it is another question.
That brings us to the room for improvement area. Now, every player probably wishes their game paid out more, but it would have made a significant difference to Avatar Gateway Guardians. At 2,525 times the stake, its max potential isn't awful, but it could have been a lot more enticing. What makes that figure irritating is that the game is mathematically capable of coughing up a lot more. For example, if the top symbol landed in combination with the x101 multiplier, it would be worth 4,040 times the stake right there. Getting multiple symbols on Hot Spots during free spins is already exciting, but it could have been epic. Wins could technically go much higher but for whatever reason they have been capped. It's a shame and would have boosted the game’s overall appeal.
So is the LeoVegas Original Series doing enough to persuade new players to sign up? Well, Avatar Gateway Guardians is certainly a game that will stimulate your curiosity. It' s after all a unique and beautiful creation. But go the whole hog and register to plough cold hard cash into it? That’s a harder choice.
Avatar Gateway Guardians’ unique qualities makes a great first impression, but almost every aspect of it soon devolves into a grind.