Crystal Quest: Deep Jungle: Slot Overview
Boy, the team over at Thunderkick are on a series bender at the moment. We have barely finished the Beat the Beast range, and already they've branched off on the next escapade. This one sees another five games planned, based around the exploits of the courageous voyager called Gemma as she faces the 'challenges of an unexplored jungle world'. There's no mention of mythical beasts, but the jungle is a mysterious place and the door is wide open for anything to happen.
With the words 'Deep Jungle' there is no second guesses where the game is located. Yep, the 6-reel, 4,096 win-all-ways grid, a format Thunderkick has come to master and help popularize, is surrounded by deep verdant bush. It's a colourful scene, more jolly than menacing. Undoubtedly, Thunderkick having gone for a more light-hearted, cartoon vibe for this particular series.
Gemma's adventures start by selecting bets from 10 p/c to £/€100, on mobile, tablet, or desktop devices. The outer tone might be jovial, yet the math model has been constructed with a different goal in mind. An RTP rating of 96.14% should appeal to most players, but the high volatility will suit some more than others. This setting goes well with the features such as progressive multipliers to provide entertaining moments. Sprinkle on an above-average potential, and you've got the recipe for some intense gaming.
Another clue in the title is the word 'crystal' where you'll find the paytable encrusted in them. There are 11 pay symbols crowding the reels - the first nine of them are low pays gems of various colours. The other two symbols are the Snake Henchman and the Monkey General. Gems range in value from 0.8 to 1.8x for six of a kind, while the Snake pulls in 5x and the Monkey 20x for a line of six.
Crystal Quest: Deep Jungle: Slot Features
Where Beat the Beast went for the classic gaming angle, Crystal Quest appears to take the opposite approach. As well as Avalanches, players get progressive multipliers, mystery symbols, free spins, and wild explosions.
First up is the Avalanche mechanic which triggers after every win. The symbols used in the combination explode off the reels, allowing new ones to fall into the gaps for more chances to win. This process rolls on as long as new wins continue to be scored. Working hand in hand with this feature, in all phases of play, is the progressive multiplier. It starts at x1, and increases by +1 for each consecutive Avalanche. In the main game, win multipliers are reset back to x1 for the start of each fresh spin.
One side feature is mystery symbols, appearing as snake-head icons. These also appear in all phases of the game and transform to reveal the same matching pay symbol whenever they land on the reels.
The win multiplier is enhanced during free spins, triggered when 3 scatter symbols land on the reels - 3 treasure chest scatters get you 12 free spins, while any others in view add +3 spins to the tally. When the feature is active, two scatters award 3 more spins, while more onscreen add another +2. There is no technical limit to the number that can be won either.
Free spins possess two benefits over regular spins, one is the Wild Explosion feature. If a non-winning spin displays at least one wild, then all wilds in view explode to remove the symbols in the same vertical and horizontal line as them. This lets new symbols in, providing an additional chance to win. The more important addition to free spins is that the win multiplier does not reset between spins. The only way is up, or stasis.
Crystal Quest: Deep Jungle: Slot Verdict
Thunderkick's new series gets off to a good start, providing enough of the right elements to create a decent gaming experience. Crystal Quest: Deep Jungle doesn't make quite the same statement Beat the Beast initially did; it's not different enough from other games in the Thunderkick catalogue to do so. Carnival Queen, for example, is a very close sibling due to the layout, pay system, and several of the feature similarities.
That leads to us wondering if this series will be as samey as the last, or will Thunderkick push the boat out each time with something completely different. The other ponderable is what the thread running through, tying them all together, will be. Not really knowing Gemma; hopefully, she'll discover something new each time.
Getting away from the theme and speculation for a moment, the gameplay has a great mix of features going on. The pay-all-ways system mixed with cascades plus a progressive multiplier is popular – for good reason. When consecutive chains fire up, pulling in multipliers, it's a pretty thrilling ride.
There's nothing new about it if innovation is your thing, but it produces as enjoyable gaming here as anywhere else. One highlight is that the progressive multiplier is used in both the base and bonus game which you don't always see. The other benefit this mix of features brings is above-average potential. Gemma's capable of uncovering wins of up to 15,000 times the stake, which is an notable figure to kick the series off.
The Beat the Beast range has turned out to be pretty analogous from slot to slot. Sure the beasts changed, features and stats mixed it up to an extent, but their similar feel made it tricky to tell them apart at times. Will Thunderkick go down the same route in the Gemma series? The conservative money might well say yes. Still, it's early days, so let's make the most of part one while reserving judgment until number two drops.
A solid start to the new Thunderkick series might be close to what the studio has done before, but Crystal Quest: Deep Jungle still has plenty to commend it.