Crystal Quest: Arcane Tower: Slot Overview
Flaming haired explorer Gemma is back for the second instalment in Thunderkick’s Crystal Quest series. This time she voyages to another part of the jungle called the Arcane Tower to find her fortune. Any players hoping for new thrills are unlikely to find them in the runner up slot. Thunderkick appears to have taken it easy by giving Deep Jungle a new skin and little else. The stats are pretty much the same, a feature has been swapped, but otherwise, Arcane Tower is a very similar experience.
Reservations arise the moment the splash screen loads up as it’s almost identical to the first game with a promise of free spins and an unlimited multiplier. From there we move to the game area where the setup is very Thunderkick, meaning a 6x4 grid, using 4,096 ways to win – again, the same as before (a popular set up that works well we shall add). At first, the view doesn’t look much like an Arcane Tower. Some old trees, candles and books frame the screen, but when symbols drop in on each spin or are blasted off the grid via the Avalanche feature, a tower can be seen in the distance. Thematically, Arcane Tower is quite unlike Deep Jungle, which it kind of needs to be since not much else is.
Arcane Tower offers a wide range of bets from 10 p/c to £/€100 per spin, and the math model produces similar stats as before, though everything, bar potential, has been slightly increased. This time around, RTP has seen an increase from 96.14% to 96.17%, whilst Gemma remains as highly volatile as ever, possibly even more so technically speaking, yet not enough to make a noticeable difference.
Win lines light up whenever three or more matching symbols sit left to right from the first reel. Apart from the sorcerer symbol, who pays out when at least two of him land. He is worth the most at 20x the bet for five a kind followed by the knight henchman, then three mid pay crystals in red, green, and blue. Five lesser gems make up the bottom end of the paytable, coloured pink, orange, yellow, green, and blue. The pale blue circular gem tile is the wild, landing anywhere to substitute for all symbols except the scatter. It receives an additional helpful quality during the bonus game, covered next.
Crystal Quest: Arcane Tower: Slot Features
Thunderkick certainly didn’t scrimp when it came to features with five of them available in Arcane Tower. Avalanches plus multipliers appear at all times, backed by Linked Reels, free spins, and a Wild Explosion feature.
All symbols in pay way wins are removed by the Avalanche feature and replaced by new symbols dropping down from above. Avalanches continue as long as new wins appear in the same spin sequence. At the same time, a win multiplier is always active. Starting on x1, the multiplier increases one level each time the Avalanche feature is triggered.
One random extra is Linked Reels, where up to 6 adjacent reels may synchronise on an initial spin. Each Linked Reel becomes an identical copy of each other. This feature does not appear in the middle of an Avalanche sequence.
The slightly wonky looking treasure chest symbol is the scatter - 3 on the reels award 12 free spins. During the feature, any two in view award 3 additional free spins while any scatter past two adds 2 spins each, with no limit on how many may be won.
Free spins benefit from two things the base game does not have. For one, the win multiplier does not reset between spins, meaning it can continually grow without limitation. The second is a Wild Explosion feature comes into play. When there are no winning combinations, all wild symbols on the reels explode, removing the pay symbols in a vertical and horizontal line. This then triggers the Avalanche device.
Crystal Quest: Arcane Tower: Slot Verdict
Seen as a standalone game, Crystal Quest: Arcane Tower is another high quality, highly playable Thunderkick product. It’s got the bold, cartoony look the studio does well, complemented by slick animations, and satisfying crunching sound effects when symbols drop into place, or winners explode off the screen. The features are great too when they’re playing off of each other, leading to what can be a thrilling crescendo. In short, players will no doubt be entertained if they choose to fire up Crystal Quest: Arcane Tower.
Yet, as a continuation of the Crystal Quest series it’s a case of jogging on the spot while dealing with a strong case of déjà vu. Aside from some minor statistical alterations, it’s practically Crystal Quest: Deep Jungle all over again, in a tower. The graphics have changed to match the new location of course, but the gameplay has remained more or less the same. The win system, grid set up, and most of the features remain, the main modification was exchanging Mystery Symbols for Linked Reels. There is a lingering suspicion that the rest of the series is going to follow the same template, with variations to the outer wrapper accompanied by a feature swap and a new name.
Crystal Quest: Arcane Tower is certainly a good game though, the graphics are bright, well animated, the theme a little unusual. Gemma brings a bunch of fun extras with her and potential is high – wins of up to 15,000 times the bet are possible. Still, you can’t help but wonder if it’s worth making a range of games if they are going to be so similar. Wouldn’t it have been better to pour resources into making one incredible release rather than a bunch of okay/decent ones? Then again, Thunderkick might throw a complete curveball in the next Gemma game taking the series off in a totally unexpected direction, silencing any critics.
Crystal Quest: Arcane Tower certainly offers fine gaming, though there is practically nothing here that the first instalment didn’t already do.