Cygnus 3

(ELK Studios) Slot Review

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Cygnus 3: Slot Overview

The Cygnus constellation might be a long, long way from Earth, but Cygnus, the slot series from Swedes ELK Studios, is a phenomenon that flares up much closer to home. With the release of Cygnus 3, the series has technically become a trilogy (for now), and ELK Studios has fired it into territory the previous two games hadn't voyaged through. To put this more clearly, Cygnus 3's core feature is the Cygnus Wheel which awards instant prizes, free drops, and three fixed jackpots. The gravity-influenced Avalanche mechanic remains, as do multipliers, yet Cygnus 3 is a rather different experience, holistically speaking, than before.

Some things are familiar, such as the way players find themselves beneath a night sky blazing with stars. Cygnus 3 pays as much reverential homage to the majesty of the universe as the two slots preceding it. However, where the first Cygnus had an Egyptian inspiration, and Cygnus 2 was held in like a rich person's private observatory, Cygnus 3 takes place in a Colosseum-style location, and a battle helm on the load screen would tend to reinforce an Ancient Roman influence. The Roman-ness appears to be expressed on a few symbols, too, and like those that came before, Cygnus 3's mix of astronomy and history gives the game a secretively esoteric vibe, as if it knows something we don't.

Cygnus 3 slot
Cygnus 3 slot - base game

Highly volatile, Cygnus can be played in two different ways – regular mode or bonus mode via the X-iter feature. For both, a base bet of 20 p/c to $/€100 must be selected. Also, for both modes, the RTP value remains constant at 94%, normal for ELK Studios slot around this time, though sadder than the original Cygnus' value of 96.1%. Like before, Cygnus 3 is played on a 6-columned gaming grid, where each new spin sees 4 rows of symbols dropped onto the board, though it can be grown to 8 rows high by the Avalanche mechanic. Reels of symbols do not sit flush, so when symbols Avalanche, the gravity mechanic sees them fall left or right when they tumble rather than just straight downwards.

All symbols part of a win explode off the grid and are replaced by new symbols avalanching in. An extra row of symbols is added as well, up to a maximum of 8 rows. The Avalanche feature continues to trigger until no new winning combinations are created. With 4,096 to 262,144 ways to win, winning combinations begin from the leftmost side of the grid and consist of matching symbols on at least 3 adjacent reels. Seven regular pay symbols appear throughout, made up of low pay diamonds, pentagons, and hexagons paying 0.2x the bet for 6 OAK, as well as higher value eagles, horses, lions, and wreaths, worth 0.4 to 10 times the stake for landing 6 OAK.

Cygnus 3: Slot Features

Cygnus 3 slot
Cygnus 3 slot - cygnus wheel

Rotating around the night sky is Cygnus 3's prize wheel, or as it is called here, the Cygnus Wheel. The Cygnus Wheel is the game's core feature but is partnered with Avalanches, multiplier wilds, free drops, and the X-iter bonus modes.

Multiplier Wilds

The values of multiplier symbols and multiplier wild symbols on the reels are added together and applied to each win. A multiplier wild will revert to a plain multiplier once it has been used in a win. The first time a multiplier symbol reaches the bottom row, it reactivates its wild ability.

Cygnus Wheel

When a Cygnus Wheel symbol reaches the leftmost column, a spin of the Cygnus Wheel is awarded once Avalanches have ended. The Cygnus Wheel awards an instant win, free drops, or one of the jackpots – Cygnus worth €100,000, Star worth €10,000, or Sky worth €1,000. The chance of winning a jackpot increases at higher bet levels.

Free Drops

Each free drop starts with 4 rows of symbols. Multiplier and multiplier wilds remain on the bottom row between drops, making the multiplier level persistent. Multiplier symbols that reach the bottom row for the first time have the wild ability reactivated. It is possible to trigger a spin of the Cygnus Wheel in free drops when the Cygnus Wheel symbol reaches the leftmost column.

X-iter

The feature buy X-iter menu allows players to play Cygnus five different game ways:

  • Bonus Hunt – 2x the bet for 1 drop with double the chance of triggering the Cygnus Wheel.
  • Multiplier Wild – 10x the bet for 1 drop with a guaranteed multiplier wild with a value of at least x5.
  • Rising Multiplier Wild symbols – 25x the bet for 1 drop where multiplier symbols increase in value after each win.
  • Cygnus Wheel – 100x the bet for 1 drop triggering the Cygnus Wheel.
  • Super Cygnus Wheel – 500x the bet for 1 one drop triggering the Cygnus Wheel. If the Wheel stops on free spins, the Super Bonus game is triggered, where multiplier symbols increase in value after each win.
Cygnus 3 slot
Cygnus 3 slot - free spins

Cygnus 3: Slot Verdict

Playing Cygnus 3 was like watching a new series of your favourite tv show where everything is more or less the same as before, except a different actor plays one of the leading roles. Like the proposed swapping of Liam Hemsworth for Henry Cavill in The Witcher or Ashton Kutcher stepping in for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. For a lot of the time, Cygnus 3 slides along in the usual Cygnus groove - dropping symbols, gravitying them here and there during Avalanches, popping in multiplier wilds to bolster winning ways, and so on. Yet there is a definite change in the air, which comes about when the Cygnus Wheel symbol finally rolls along to touch the leftmost column, sparking the Cygnus Wheel into action.

That's when Cygnus 3 is most likely going to divide players between those who dig the new bits and those who despise them. Bad news first. The instant prizes are small, and they can be a real pain to win. For instance, you've just forked out 500x the bet to trigger the Cygnus Wheel with potentially the most optimal bonus round and… ended up with a 5x instant prize. Ouch. Just like that, not even going through the motions of a weak round of free drops to end up kicked in the crotch. Just instant kicked and sent back to the base game, almost like a punishment. Hey, this is gambling, plus the X-iter is optional, and it could go the other way, meaning free drops or Super Free Drops might end up being excitingly rewarding. While Cygnus 1 offered 5,000x potential and Cygnus 2 juiced that to 50,000x, the non-jackpot cap in Cygnus 3 is set to 10,000x, which is a decent number, but not one that will do much to hype this title.

What's crystal clear is the €100,000 Cygnus Jackpot is prominently advertised and is likely to be the most coveted outcome when playing Cygnus 3. Mixed feelings exist, but overall, Cygnus 3 is a strong release, but it is a game which can punish in certain circumstances and one that feels better suited to players who like a jackpot pursuit.

Good

Mixed feelings exist, but overall, Cygnus 3 is a strong release.

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