Cossacks The Wild Hunt: Slot Overview
If you've been around the block one or two times, you'll know there isn't exactly a shortage of Viking themed slots to try. It makes sense, too, since Norse mythology provides so much great imagery, attitude, and stories to draw on. Developer Foxium certainly noticed this abundance too, so when it came time to craft a hard-hitting warrior-style slot, they turned their attention to a uniquely underrepresented topic. Instead of Thor or Odin bringing the myth, Foxium has gone with something more realistic but no less dramatic to theme Cossacks The Wild Hunt.
The Cossacks have a long, interesting story, being a people originally from the Eastern European steppes around areas like the Wild Field, Dnieper River and the Black Sea. The term Cossack means 'free man' or 'adventurer' - which are two apt words to describe a people often drawn into conflicts or used as buffer zones between countries. Closely tied to Russia, the Cossacks helped colonise Siberia, and some went on to become folk heroes in the process. Following a decline in autonomy, all Cossack males in the late 18th century were required to serve 20 years in the Russian army. Theirs is a turbulent history, full of drama, passion, and adventure.
Sounds like an ideal topic for a slot then, and in Cossacks The Wild Hunt, the action takes place deep in a gnarled forest that can only be described as downright creepy. Flaming eyed owls haunt the trees, gold coins lay littered amongst long-deceased skeletons and plenty of smouldering candles. There are hints of magic in these woods, plus a fabulous soundtrack that layers on dread during quiet times before launching into full orchestral mode when the hunt begins - you can read more about the creative process in this interview we did with the creative director. Players who like Eastern European books or legends will love it, as will general players up for something that's as much video game as a video slot.
Hitting spin in the default mode drops up to 36 symbols into a 6x6 sized grid, providing up to 46,656 ways to win - known here as Wonderways. There are several ways of approaching Cossacks The Wild Hunt, so let's deal with the default method first. This means setting a stake from 20 p/c to £/€25 – on any device from smartphones, tablets, to desktop computers. The game comes in three RTP forms, the standard generating a return value of 96.19% and medium-high volatility. Breaking it down, Foxium states the base game is medium volatile, increasing to high for free spins. Players technically collect a win every three spins or so, or 31.76% of the time, when three or more matching symbols land left to right from the first reel.
Before we head to the feature section, here's a quick run-through of pay symbols, from low to high, including 9-A royals, boars, wolves, and bears. Then come three characters, the sort you wouldn't want to run into on a dark, stormy Steppe night, such as Yana, Taras, and Roman. Landing 6 non-royal symbols trigger a payout worth 0.6 to 1.5 times the stake. No, not massive values, but there are plenty of features on hand to turn them into the sort of victories to make a hetman proud.
Cossacks The Wild Hunt: Slot Features
At its core, Cossacks The Wild Hunt sounds simple, spin the base game in hopes of activating free spins. However, within this setup are stacks of extras to trigger, land, or tinker.
The first thing to mention is that the game area is divided into zones. In the middle of the grid is a 4x5 sized block, which is always filled with pay or special symbols. On the outside two reels and top row, blocker tiles may appear, possessing no value other than taking up space. If this bugs you, it is possible to remove them via the Foxify feature - more on that further below.
Cossacks utilises a cascade system, triggered whenever a winning combination lands. These symbols are removed and replaced by new ones – no matter which zone they occur in. Every cascade increments a win multiplier by +1, which resets to x1 between paid spins.
A couple of modifiers also light up the board from time to time. One is the To Arms! feature, where arrows fly randomly at the reels on any spin to change symbols and create a six of a kind win. The other modifier is Release the Wilds, which smashes the reels with blades on any spin, transforming symbols into wilds.
Some people hunt animals, others hunt for bargains. In Cossacks The Wild Hunt, it's free spins you're after. Triggering them occurs when 4 scatter symbols spelling 'H', 'U', 'N', 'T' are in view. This activates 8 free spins, while every extra scatter in view awards +2 free spins. During free spins, the win multiplier does not reset but can only increment higher. It is possible to win more free spins too. When every 4 golden axe symbols land, +3 extra spins are awarded.
Now, about those blocker tiles, it is possible to remove them from the base game with the Foxify feature. Doing so isn't cheap, as the base bet is multiplied by 5 when activated. Activating the Foxify feature increases the hit rate while also increasing the chance to trigger free spins.
In addition, where applicable, Cossacks The Wild Hunt allows players to buy their way to free spins rather than wait for them to trigger. The three options are 8 free spins where the win multiplier starts at x1, x10, or x20, costing 100x, 250x, or 400x the base bet, respectively. To be noted, the Foxify mode will deactivate when free spins are bought. Furthermore, blocker tiles are carried over to free spins.
Cossacks The Wild Hunt: Slot Verdict
The studio has found success in several quarters, yet up until now, when you thought of Foxium, it was Boom Pirates' 10 mill plus ways to win, which immediately sprang to mind. Thanks to Cossacks The Wild Hunt, those days are over. This is one of those games where every detail, large and small, has gone under the microscope, so if it doesn't add to the experience, it's been axed, leaving an ultra-tight product in its wake. Everything from the spooky wood setting with its mournful cello piece when the reels aren't spinning to the sensorial assault when the game is firing has been expertly conceived, then executed, creating a master class in world-building.
Make no mistake, though, there is a clear difference between Cossacks The Wild Hunt and reading an Andrzej Sapkowski novel – you definitely know you are playing a finely tuned slot offering a lot of gambling options. Speaking of options, Foxify is one that might stir up a bit of talk, increasing the bet by five times as it does. During testing, doing so made a huge difference to the number of cascades, combination sizes, and value of Wonderways wins in the base game. So much so it almost felt like a bonus round at times. Be careful because dry spells when the Foxify is active can be as deadly as a ravenous woodland beast with max win potential of 10,000x the bet.
Without doubt, Cossacks The Wild Hunt is Foxium's finest slot to date, one where they have both indulged and restrained their tendency to add complexity. There is plenty to get excited about with a new theme for players to explore, stunning production, and solid gameplay. After Cossacks The Wild Hunt, Foxium's talk about an evolutionary approach to future releases, means the studio has put itself well on notice.
Cossacks The Wild Hunt combines the world-building of a Triple-A video game with all the thrills of a superbly designed slot to create a flagship tour de force.