Conan Video Slot (NetEnt): Overview
Ever since the grand announcement at the 2019 London iGaming conference, Conan Video Slot has been one of the most anticipated games of the year. For good reasons, we might add. Having enjoyed plenty of success with its most recent blockbuster slots Vikings and Narcos, and with Conan being a hero with a strong cult following, it has undoubtedly sparked a lot of interest in the game that has been described by NetEnt as a character-driven branded slot. For those of you who are not familiar with Conan, he's a fictional sword and sorcery hero created by writer Robert E. Howard in 1932 that is most widely associated with the 1982 fantasy adventure film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The author's universe is a ruthless place filled with dangers around every corner. The Conan slot captures that apocalyptic tone, and it does it very well. Set in the pseudo-historical "Hyborian Age" of Conan the Barbarian, this game utilizes a 6 reel layout that is rather unusual for NetEnt outside of its Cluster Reels series. Adding 3 rows and 24 paylines to that, along with a Pay-Both-Ways mechanic, the Conan slot comes with linked reels, three base game features and an additional Thoth Amon feature that can trigger as a result of the base game features. There are also three different free spin modes for you to choose from upon triggering the bonus, each offering different volatility. You can go berserk with the world’s most fearsome barbarian from 0.20 to €/£200 per spin acr0ss all devices.
Visually, Conan does not disappoint in the slightest. Looking absolutely stunning and with almost unmatched attention to detail, it's not hard to see why it took so long to finish the game. With thunderous skies over a snowy village serving as the backdrop, the reels are set inside an ancient temple where you'll see stone statues of Conan in various contexts. Spinning on the reels you will see a set of lower-value coins represented by snakes, lions and falcons alongside medium-value grappling hooks, swords, and helmets. The three premiums carry the faces of Conan's sidekick Valeria, Conan's arch-nemesis Thoth-Amon, and Conan himself who is the most rewarding, giving you 6 times your stake for a five of a kind combination.
Aside from the phenomenal design, one of the first things veteran players will notice is the brand new interface that was first introduced in Arcane Reel Chaos. Not only does it look more modern, but there has also been some improvement to the paytable which now displays symbol value relative to the current bet size rather than confusing coin values. This goes directly in line with the more stringent regulations that have been put in place, with added pressure on both casinos and developers in regard to transparency.
Conan Video Slot (NetEnt): Features
As you will see, the Conan Video Slot reel set is divided into three sections, each 2x4 in size and connected to a unique feature that comes into play when the respective symbol appears on the section it is associated to. This is what's on offer:
- Tower Wilds (reels 1/2) - If a blue tower wild appears on reels 1 or 2, it will expand to cover the reel either partially or fully.
- Mystery Symbols (reels 3/4) - The most volatile option with the highest win potential. If you land mystery symbols on reels 3 and 4, these will transform into random matching symbols. If the symbol appears fully stacked, it will trigger the Mystery Multiplier feature. You will then see Conan emerge battling a giant snake, increasing the multiplier by 1x for each blow to the snake. The minimum multiplier awarded is 3x and the maximum is 7x. Moreover, if a mystery symbol appears in combination with a tower wild and battle wild, the Thoth Amon feature comes into play. When activated, between 3 and 6 mystery symbols are randomly added on reels 2 - 5 for bigger wins.
- Battle Wilds (reels 5/6) - If a red battle wild appears on reels 5 and 6, it will expand to adjacent reels up to three positions sideways.
The Conan slot also fuses some Twin Spin into it. Randomly on any spin in the main game, the reel pairs in each of the 2x4 sections may light up to indicate that the Linked Reels feature is active. The 2 reels will then produce matching symbols arrangements to increase your chances of landing winning combinations. In the free spins, this feature can produce up to 6 linked reels.
Finally, there is the Free Spin feature - 3, 4, 5 or 6 scatter symbols anywhere on the reels will give you 10, 15, 25 or 50 free spins respectively. Before you get underway, you will be asked to decide which of the three modes you would like to play. These are as follows:
- City of Thieves Free Spins - medium variance, here you will benefit from tower wilds that can appear on any reel and expand to cover the reels either partially or fully.
- Temple of the Serpent Free Spins - this is the slightly more volatile option out of the three. Here, mystery symbols, including stacks, can land on all reels. Just like in the base game, a fully stacked mystery symbol will trigger the mystery multiplier to give you a multiplier of up to 7x. If you land between 5 and 9 mystery symbols, the Thoth Amon feature is triggered.
- Walls of Tarantia Free Spins - medium variance, you'll see battle wilds appearing on all reels, expanding up to three positions sideways.
Conan Video Slot (NetEnt): Verdict
As big and impressive as Conan appears to be, we just can't help to feel that NetEnt has over-complicated things a bit here. In their ambition to make Conan as massive of a slot as possible, it crumbles into a mess that pulls in all directions, leaving you with a game that lacks both personality and narrative. The features, which appear in abundance, are made redundant by their lacking ability to reward decent wins. And this is a serious flaw with Conan - the payouts are far too weak to make this game worth your time and money.
In best case scenario you will walk away break-even, or possibly slightly ahead, but you're much more likely to see your balance slowly dwindle away while one useless feature after another plays out on the screen. To make matters worse, the bonus frequency is quite low since a large chunk of the RTP has to be allocated to all the features. In terms of potential, it's not all that impressive coming in at a max win of 2016x in the base game and the Mystery Symbol free spins feature. Having played the slot for over five hours, it's fascinating to see how so little can happen in a game with so many features. If your idea of being entertained is to have your scalp ripped off slowly by Conan, then you won't be disappointed.
If you're a fan of NetEnt's branded blockbuster slots, we suggest you have a look at the Ozzy Osbourne video slot as well.
The ambitious and atmospheric Conan video slot will enthral you, if you can overcome its tedious mathematical design and disappointingly low payouts.