Eldritch Dungeon

(Print Studios) Slot Review

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Eldritch Dungeon: Slot Overview

Isn't it amazing how one day you might be browsing a 3x3 3-line fruit slot, and the other, you've got a monster of a game on your hands, a rule book as thick as your arm, blurring the lines between slot and video game? It largely comes down to the maker in many instances, and Print Studios has repeatedly proven it's not the sort of software provider that's going to toss out easy-to-make, easy-to-understand production line junk, the likes of which have been seen multiple times before. Case in point is this battler we've got in front of us, Eldritch Dungeon, a borderline tabletop RPG of a game which is not your typical pull-the-handle online slot at all.

Eldritch Dungeon is a cluster pays slot that looks down on an 8x8 grid laid on a dungeon floor. Passageways branch off, and when progressing deeper, play shifts to fight levels before entering a treasure room for the final bonus round. It's all very quest-like, and once you get a look over the rules, the magnitude of the task becomes apparent. Fortunately, you're not alone. Players are joined by a Wild Warrior and the companion of their choice - Arcanist, Ranger, or Mauler. More on these to come.

Eldritch Dungeon slot
Eldritch Dungeon slot - base game

A cluster pays system is used for evaluating regular wins, where 5+ matching symbols must be connected horizontally or vertically. Winning symbols drop off the board before the vacated spaces are filled by a tumble mechanic. Cascades continue like this until no new win is created after a drop. Eldritch Dungeon is quite an all-or-nothing game, in many ways, assisted by a highly volatile math model, though it's not totally ruthless. The RTP varies depending on feature buys and companion selection, defaulting at the 96.1% mark. Bet selection is fairly wide, too, at 10 c to $/€50 per spin.

Four stone runes are the lower paying symbols in Eldritch Dungeon, while 4 gemstones are the high pays. Clusters containing 5 matching symbols pay 0.2 to 2 times the stake, and clusters of 15+ pay 20x to 1,000x. The wild symbol and the Wild Warrior symbol substitute for all other symbols on the reels.

Eldritch Dungeon: Slot Features

Eldritch Dungeon slot
Eldritch Dungeon slot - feature in action

The mission, should you choose to accept it, in Eldritch Dungeon is to clear a path to the Dungeon Battle Bonus by removing winning symbols, winning battles, and moving to the Treasure Hall Spins phase. Should the Wild Warrior on-screen defeat enemies hidden in the ground, he triggers Spectral Effects and collects Power Relics. It'll make more sense in a minute.

Wild Warrior

On each spin, the Wild Warrior appears on the leftmost reel, and an exit appears on the rightmost reel. When symbols are removed, the Wild Warrior moves to the position closest to the exit. The wild symbol and the Wild Warrior symbol substitute for all other symbols on the reels.

Base Game Battle

On each spin, 4 symbol positions hide an enemy. The Wild Warrior battles an enemy if there is a clear path to the enemy's position. Defeating an enemy grants 1 of 4 Power Relics and 1 Spectral effect. Spectral Effects trigger when there are no more wins.

Spectral Effects

  • Nightwing - 10 symbols are transformed into the same random symbol.
  • Elderwing - 19 symbols are transformed to the same random symbol.
  • Nightfang - 4 wilds are added in random positions.
  • Elderfang - 10 wilds are added to random positions.

Power Relics enhance the warrior's abilities during the Dungeon Battle:

  • Relic of Vitality - increases health.
  • Relic of Strength - increases attack damage.
  • Relic of Fury - some attacks deal significant damage.
  • Relic of Protection - blocks some enemy attacks.

Companions

The game starts with 1 companion unlocked. The other 2 companions can be unlocked by playing and selected when they become available. Each companion has a Companion Strike Ability and Dungeon Battle Attack. When there are no more wins, the Companion Strike can activate.

  • Arcanist - The Companion Strike Ability is transforming 11 to 16 symbols to the same random symbol and removing adjacent symbols above and below. Its Dungeon Battle Attack is to instantly defeat a single enemy. Its preferred enemy is Gnaw Brute. Volatility rating 4.
  • Ranger - The Companion Strike Ability is transforming 1 line of 8 symbols to the same random symbol and removing adjacent symbols above and below. Its Dungeon Battle Attack is to deal damage to a single enemy. Its preferred enemy is Wraiths. Volatility rating 3.
  • Mauler - The Companion Strike Ability is transforming two areas of 2x2 symbols to the same random symbol and removing all surrounding symbols. Its Dungeon Battle Attack is to deal damage to all enemies. Its preferred enemy is Elderkin. Volatility rating 5.
Eldritch Dungeon slot
Eldritch Dungeon slot - Dungeon Battle

Dungeon Battle

The Dungeon Battle occurs when the Wild Warrior reaches the exit on the rightmost reel. Winning battles against enemies unlocks grid positions in Treasure Hall Spins by awarding Spectral Keys. Portal Shards let the defeated warrior go to the next enemy room. Two Portal Shards are granted for each bonus. A Spectral Key unlocks one grid position in the Treasure Hall Spins. The ninth battle is against The Old One. The round ends after losing 3 battles or having battled The Old One.

Treasure Hall Spins

In this round, you want to land and merge coins to enhance the rewards. This bonus is played on an 8x8 grid with the 6 centre positions unlocked. Spectral Keys collected in the Dungeon Battle unlock additional positions. If The Old One was defeated in the Dungeon Battle round, it unlocks the full grid, places a 4x4 coin in the centre and awards a x2 multiplier on the largest coin. 3 spins are awarded, resetting when a coin or a Spectral Key lands. Coins merge into the biggest possible size; Spectral Keys unlock 2, 3, or 6 positions. When no more spins remain, coins award their values. 1x1 sized coins are worth 0.5-2x, all the way up to 8x8 coins worth 1,000-10,000x.

Feature Bet

Activating the Feature Bet guarantees 1 Companion Strike and up to 4 enemies defeated in the first spin.

  • 1 Companion Strike - 17.3x.
  • 1 Companion Strike + 1 defeated enemy - 43.5x.
  • 1 Companion Strike + 2 defeated enemy - 83.6x.
  • 1 Companion Strike + 3 defeated enemy - 143.7x.
  • 1 Companion Strike + 4 defeated enemy - 218x.
Eldritch Dungeon slot
Eldritch Dungeon slot - Treasure Hall Spins

Eldritch Dungeon: Slot Verdict

Cripes, that was like reading the D&D Player's Handbook for the first time then trying to decide which race, class, and background to choose. So many options, so many rules. It might be a bit confusing on paper, but pretty clear in practice - clear winning symbols to move the Wild Warrior from its side of the board to the exit while defeating enemies along the way. Then, defeat as many foes as possible in the Dungeon Battle round to collect Spectral Keys before spinning in the Treasure Hall to try and merge coins. Few make online slots feel like video games like Print Studios does; see Reapers or Cash Defense as prime examples, and Eldritch Dungeon swings its sword with the best of them.

It's not an easy game, though. Don't be expecting some level 1 dungeon crawler with a paper thin boss waiting at the end guarding piles of loot or magical artefacts. Patience might be needed to get to the better parts, and Feature Bets, despite the big advantages they bring, definitely do not guarantee glory by the end. Eldritch Dungeon is one of those Print slots which almost needs to be savoured like an expensive whiskey, taking time to let the liquid roll around the mouth, igniting taste buds before being consumed. A settle-in session that, okay, might go nowhere, but might lead to a fortuitous adventure, where peak returns are capped at 20,000x the bet.

Sparks of other games arose while reviewing Eldritch Dungeon, not to mention waves of Cthulhu vibes. Shinobi Spirit, Relax Gaming's Snake Arena, and ReelPlay's Mega Pearl Gigablox were three that came up, though Eldritch Dungeon is, on the whole, a very unique experience. It's also a prime example of output from a studio in possession of an inquisitive, sponge-like mind, soaking up ideas and inspiration from a wide variety of sources then pouring them all into imaginative, one-off slots.

Great

Eldritch Dungeon is a uniquely designed Print Studios production that’s as much an adventure as it is a slot.

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