Crystal Wolf Infinity Reels: Slot Overview
Editor’s Note: This review evaluates Crystal Wolf Infinity Reels on its early access state and may be an unfinished product. We plan on reviewing Crystal Wolf Infinity Reels again once it gets a full release.
In April this year we reported on ReelPlay‘s Infinity Reels mechanic going on export following a deal with Relax Gaming, an agreement that also allows Relax Gaming’s partners to back door their way onto the device. The first to pick up the gauntlet is developer Boomerang Studios. Taking time out from their favoured Asian market slot production, the studio has employed the expanding reels feature in an unusual game titled Crystal Wolf Infinity Reels.
One of the hallmark features of Infinity Reels driven games so far has been the fine graphic standard. Crystal Wolf may make you question this assessment. It’s odd, mixing a Nightmare Before Christmas background with symbols that look like the unsold pictures in the IKEA art department. A hauntingly strange soundtrack wafts away in the background. The resulting mix is hard to warm to, in part due to the snowy location, in part due to the mismatched patchwork quilt vibe. Something’s a little off. Still, let’s not judge the cover too harshly before reading the rest of the novel.
Players can brave the icy wind on any device, selecting bets from 25 p/c up to £/€100 per spin. The game is light on official stats at the moment, aside from a slightly below average RTP rating of 95.63%. As a guide to volatility, the previous Infinity Reels have run on medium/high to very high settings. Wins were regular during testing, though low value predominantly, especially during bonus games, even when most positions were filled with moons (more on this below).
To win big, you’ll need to harness the expanding abilities Infinity Reels has to offer. Play starts on a 3×3 sized grid, where three matching symbols left to right in any row form a winner. When that happens, another reel is added to the right-hand side of the grid, providing a chance to extend the combo. If another winning symbol lands on it, then yet another reel is added, and the process continues as long as new winning symbols land. When they don’t, the win is evaluated, returning the slot to its default 3×3 size for the next spin. Take note; there is no 888x jackpot for adding 12 reels with Crystal Wolf as in other Infinity Reels games.
The symbols are a little peculiar, all having a crystal-like quality. The table starts with four low pay card suits (clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds) continuing with trees, deer, owls, eagles, and wolves. The five high pays are worth 0.8 to 4x the bet for 3 of a kind which might not sound like a lot, yet when reels are added, they can quickly add up. Each time a winning symbol appears on a new reel, it adds its value again. For example, say you land wolves on 5 reels, then you’ve got 12x the bet. There is no wild, but a couple of other special symbols are on hand to help improve the return rate.
Crystal Wolf Infinity Reels: Slot Features
As well as the Infinity Reels dynamic, players get multiplier symbols and a triggered bonus game to spin for. The game comes with a default x1 win multiplier, but whenever a paw symbol lands on the reels it increases it by +1. All wins, including feature wins, have the multiplier applied. Fresh spins reset the multiplier back to x1.
The bonus game is triggered when 3 moon scatters are in view at the end of a spin sequence. The bonus starts with 3 free spins on a grid made up of 15 empty individual positions. On each free spin, if new moon symbols land, they are locked in place and award an extra spin. The game ends when either all positions are filled or free spins run to zero. Each moon then displays a prize of 1-50 times the bet which is tallied up.
Crystal Wolf Infinity Reels: Slot Verdict
Good on Boomerang for trying something different, but sometimes the bringing together of so many strange elements doesn’t always produce a successful result. Crystal Wolf teeters on weird just to be weird, or, l’art pour l’art – art for art’s sake if you will. The problem is the execution isn’t good enough to carry this approach. Crystal Wolf either failed to hit the right nerve, or the point was lost on us. Either way, when testing was over, there was no compulsion to fire the game up ever again.
As Nietzsche said, the issue with art for art’s sake is the artist can’t help express themselves in it. This being the case, the level of Boomerang’s development talent is laid bare. Crystal Wolf feels very disjointed, the effects lag, they lack flow, one-bit plays, then another bit plays, in a jarring, disjointed manner. Compare this to the flair NetEnt showed in their slickly designed Gods of Gold which uses a similar dynamic. Crystal Wolf ends up looking like a video game from well over a decade ago. When you recall how stunning Odin Infinity Reels was Crystal Wolf feels like a major step back.
Another issue is, while Infinity Reels is a solid system, Boomerang hasn’t added anything to it. The jackpot offered in ReelPlay’s versions for linking up 12 more reels is gone for one. Okay, it’s difficult to hit, but knowing it’s there is a motivation to hit spin plus cause a tingle when you get close. Crystal Wolf’s bonus game is anticlimactic too. Land a few moons, rack up a few coins, and you’re done. Average wins during testing from the feature of 15-30x quickly dented any motivation to continue.
Crystal Wolf is not the finest example of Infinity Reels, or one that evolves the mechanic. The theme may suit some, but crystal wolves shattering on big wins didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and the game’s rushed, half-baked feel made it difficult to fall for.
Crystal Wolf Infinity Reels is ultimately let down by an uninteresting bonus game and high clunk factor.