Dragon Shard (Stormcraft Studios): Review
5 by 5 grid slots can't thrive in mediocrity. In order for a slot of this kind to please its player base, there needs to be something about it that is both different and compelling. From Microgaming partners Stormcraft Studios, we get Dragon Shard, a world of mystery and magic that's being held hostage by a sad army of 40 paylines. This rather pointless setup is as distressing as it is annoying because, let's face it, when even 5x3 slots can offer you 243 ways to win, a mere 40 of them is pretty damn ridiculous.
Dragon Shard is a fantasy-themed slot that is based on the Fortunium engine, a futuristic steam-punk type game released in 2018 that quickly fell into oblivion. Instead of a world of mechanical wonders, you get an equally strange world featuring mythical creatures and mighty heroes. Playable from as little as 5 cents up to 200 Euros per spin, it comes with a Win Booster feature, Mystery Symbols and Free Spins with up to 3 mystery reels on each spin.
Set in a fictional universe, Dragon Shard is quite pleasing on the eyes and visually more attractive than its sibling Fortunium. Symbols on the reels include lower value spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. You'll also come across the more valuable Dragon Shard, Ice Dragon, Fire Dragon as well as the King and Queen. The latter two appear fully stacked on the reels and are also the most rewarding, giving you 8 times your total stake for 5 on a full payline. The wild symbol is represented by the Dragon Shard logo and yields 20 times your stake for 5 of a kind.
Dragon Shard (Stormcraft Studios): Features
There is a Mystery Symbol feature waiting to happen in Dragon Shard. When these symbols appear on the reels, they'll transform into the same randomly chosen symbol, including the wild.
Before anything else, however, you have to decide whether to activate the Win Booster feature or not. If you decide against it, the slot will play as slots usually do, paying from left to right. If, on the other hand, you activate the Win Booster, you'll benefit from left to right and right to left payouts. It's not free though - enabling the feature will cost you 2 times your stake (the 100€ max stake becomes increased to 200€). Moreover, with the Win Booster in play, Mystery Symbols will only morph into high-value symbols or wilds, which significantly increases the potential.
No slot is complete without a Free Spins feature, something Stormcraft completely forgot about in their previous release, Agent Jane Blonde Returns. They've added one here though and it's played when you land 3 or more scatter symbols anywhere on the reels. Starting with 10 free spins, you'll benefit from Mystery Reels here. Triggering the bonus with 3, 4 or 5 scatters will start you off with 1, 2 or 3 Mystery Reels respectively. These special reels, which only appears on reels 2, 3 and 4, will only contain mystery symbols on every spin. There is potential for 800x wins here per single spin, although it would require you to land a full screen of wild symbols, which is quite unlikely to happen.
Dragon Shard (Stormcraft Studios): Verdict
Dragon Shard is a fairly well-balanced medium variance slot with decent visuals, but that's all it really is. That was the courteous summary. What we're really thinking is - how dare they insult us with this nonsense. Out of all the endless possibilities (they're developers after all), these guys decide to clone one of the dullest slots ever created. Sure, it's a bit fancier looking that the original, but what difference does it make when it's really the same tedious game offering the same ridiculous payouts.
The game itself isn’t terrible, but unless you’re stuck playing at a casino with nothing but Microgaming slots, there is really no reason to play Dragon Shard.