Beat the Beast: Kraken’s Lair (Thunderkick): Overview
Swedish provider Thunderkick is planning to release a collection of five classic slots designed to take players on a thrilling and highly volatile journey. Described by the provider as slots ‘made for the brave’ - that's not only due to the volatile nature of the games, but because each slot also features a terrifying beast. What is more, the volatility is matched by solid potential and coming from Thunderkick, high production values can be expected as well, which certainly helps with the allure.
So the first beast to beat in Thunderkick’s series is the mythical Kraken, the octopus-like guardian of the deep. This is the third slot to feature the denizen of the sea so far this year, which has blunted its visceral impact somewhat. Still, the series looks promising, and the Kraken’s Lair online slot has been equipped with a modern twist that Thunderkick claims to set it apart. We'll see about that.
Thunderkick describe their Beat the Beast range as a collection of classic slots. First impressions confirm this with a conventional 5 reel, 3 row set up that uses 9 fixed paylines. Thunderkick has quite a knack at making slots that look both basic, yet visually appealing at the same time. Beat the Beast: Kraken’s Lair keeps up the tradition with functional, yet pleasing visuals. This is pulled off by the high-def symbols, and an atmospheric underwater background replete with sunken ships. No doubt these ships and their crew were dragged to their doom by the beastly hero of the story.
Taking on the beast comes with stakes that start at 10 p/c and go up to £/€100 per spin. The rules are simple. Like we got with Sword of Khans, three low pays, or two premiums on a payline award a win. The low pays are made up of 10 – A royals, which have a metallic/stone look to them. The premiums include a trident, a pendant, a chest, and two Kraken symbols. There is a big difference in values of the two. The Gold Mid-Kraken is like the baby version and is worth 50 times the stake for five. The purple daddy Kraken is ten times better at 500 times the stake for a five of a kind combination. There is a Kraken styled wild symbol that also doubles as a scatter so we will go over that in the next section.
Mathematically, the game comes with a rock solid RTP rating of 96.12% so no complaints with the key stats. Designed to be highly volatile, there are dry spells to expect during the base game. Offsetting that are decent value combos that crop up now and then as well as feature drops. The good thing is that features can occur during the base game which helps the flow and keeps player engagement up.
Beat the Beast: Kraken’s Lair (Thunderkick): Features
Beat the Beast: Kraken’s Lair contains some high-value symbols, but the key to the most profitable outcomes is the Kraken Emblem. This golden symbol proves its worth as both the wild and the scatter. As a wild, it can substitute for any other symbol in the base game and the bonus game. When the Kraken Emblem is used as part of a winning combination, it triggers the Expanding Win feature. With this feature, the regular symbols that were used in the combination expand to cover the full reel to create even more winners. This effect is possible in both the base and bonus games.
When 3 or more Kraken Emblems land they trigger the bonus game which comes with 10 Free Spins. On top of the feature 3, 4, or 5 Emblems also award 2x, 20x, and 200x the stake respectively. In the bonus game, you will benefit from a Kraken Emblem being placed on the reels at random at the beginning of every spin. If 3 or more scatters land during the bonus game, they trigger 10 more free spins. Excellently, there is no limit to how many times free spins can be retriggered.
Beat the Beast: Kraken’s Lair (Thunderkick): Verdict
With its high volatility and fairly high rewards, Beat the Beast: Kraken’s Lair is a satisfying introduction to the series. Thunderkick has pretty much fulfilled what they set out to accomplish with it. Namely, to build a classic slot that possesses a modern twist. No, it’s not an entirely original slot, nor does it possess entirely original twists. The scatter/wild combination cropped up in Sword of Khans for one example, as did the expanding symbols mechanism. Though admittedly, the expanding symbol rules here have been changed slightly due to effect of the Kraken Emblem. Then there is the potential, which at 7,777 times the stake is good, but again, that level of potential is not exactly unheard of when it comes to Thunderkick's portfolio of games.
Still, the final product might not be completely new or novel, but the overall result is a thrilling and fast-paced slot with good payout potential nonetheless. In addition, it is still early days with the first release in the Beat the Beasts series. With four more follow up monster filled titles to come, the series could go anywhere. The overall impact will become more apparent when we can combine the later releases for a full assessment. For now, players have another solid Kraken driven slot to spin.
Be sure to take a look at Thunderkick's second instalment in the Beat the Beast series, Mighty Sphinx - a 5-reel, 9-payline slot with potential for wins of over 4,000 times your stake.
In spite of its simple premise, Beat the Beast: Kraken’s Lair is a solid start to Thunderkick’s Beat the Beast slots series.