Carnival Queen (Thunderkick): Review
It's been a while since we've heard anything from Thunderkick, something that is not all too unusual for the Swedish developer that has a tendency to take good time crafting its slots. Having had the privilege to try Carnival Queen, the 3-month absence does make a bit more sense seeing how much effort must have been invested in the production. In a nutshell, Carnival Queen is a Bonanza-inspired slot involving cascading symbols, growing multipliers and excellent win potential. It draws inspiration from the Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") festival that, although celebrated all over the world, is most widely associated with New Orleans and other traditionally French ethnic cities in America.
Using 6 reels and 4096 ways to win in combination with the increasing multipliers, this bad boy (slaps hood of Thunderkick) can pay out a massive 22,700 times your stake! It is by far the highest paying slot to date released by the company. Carnival Queen can be played on all devices from between 0.10 to 100€ per spin and comes with an industry standard RTP of 96.1%.
It's a cheerful slot using vibrant colours with the reels set against the backdrop of a crowded Louisiana thoroughfare. The cartoonish graphics and animations are excellent and quite typical of Thunderkick design-wise. On the reels you'll see gradient coloured A, K, Q, J, 10 and 9 royals as well as 4 high paying characters dressed in carnival-themed costumes. The king's crown and the wild symbol are the most lucrative of the bunch, however, giving you 20 times your stake for 6 across a payline.
Carnival Queen (Thunderkick): Features
Central to the game is the chain-reaction engine, or the Avalanche feature, as it's called here. You've seen it before in numerous slots - when a winning combination lands on the reels, the symbols involved are removed and replaced with new ones cascading from the top. Essentially, any win will set in motion a chain reaction that only stops when no more winning combinations appear on the reels. There is a twist to it, however. The Avalanche also triggers the multiplier feature. For each cascade, the multiplier increases by 1. You'll get the same in the bonus but with a major benefit as explained below.
Landing 3, 4, 5 or 6 bonus scatters triggers 12, 16, 20 or 24 free spins respectively. You can also retrigger the bonus by landing 2 scatters, adding 3 more spins to your total. Furthermore, any additional scatter grants 3 extra free spins. Now, the bonus plays pretty much the same as the base game but with a few key benefits. Most importantly, the increasing multiplier will not revert back to zero on a losing spin, something that boosts the big win potential significantly. Furthermore, following a losing spin, a wild symbol will eliminate all standard symbols from its position, both vertically and horizontally, thus giving you a second chance to land a winning combination and trigger a cascade as well as the increasing multiplier.
Carnival Queen (Thunderkick): Conclusion
Carnival Queen is without question one of the better slots produced by Thunderkick, although it's quite obviously Bonanza-inspired and an attempt to keep up with current trends. With that said, it's undoubtedly a competent and entertaining medium variance slot capable of producing wins of up to 22,700 times your stake. Despite being a rather basic cascading-type slot, Carnival Queen does in no way come across as a clone or rip-off. With fine-tuned maths, outstanding visuals and a sprinkle of Thunderkick magic, Carnival Queen is a captivating and thrilling game worthwhile.
Carnival Queen by Thunderkick is as fun as it looks.