Excalibur VS Gigablox: Overview
Yggdrasil Gaming partner Hot Rise Games continues to drill away at its VS Gigablox line of slots with the release of a multicultural release titled Excalibur VS Gigablox. We say multicultural because while Excalibur refers to the Arthurian Legends, an online slot staple, Excalibur VS Gigablox contains heroes from other parts of the planet as well. However, instead of being an inspiring United Nations-style meeting of different creeds and cultures, the heroes in Excalibur VS Gigablox come together to battle it out. The battling doesn't actually make any difference to what happens on the reels, but it makes for some weighty visuals. Here's how it works.
If heroes are going to battle, they need a battlefield on which to flex their martial prowess. In Excalibur VS Gigablox, the location is a wrecked landscape of flames, tattered flags, and swords plunged into the ground. It looks like the battle has already taken place, the combat over, the victors and vanquished already determined. However, when the bonus round takes place, two heroes square off against each other. Seems like some people just can't get enough conflict in their lives.
Excalibur VS Gigablox is played on a 6x6 gaming grid with 50 paylines used for evaluating wins. As a Gigablox slot, oversized symbols may land at any time in the base game. These oversized symbols cover areas of 2x2 to 6x6 positions. Any symbol bar scatters or wilds may be Gigablox symbols. Digging deeper, Excalibur VS Gigablox is a medium-high volatile slot, possessing a default RTP of 96%, or 96.3%, when buying the bonus round. Stake selection is quite limited and not very low-roller friendly, something to keep in mind, ranging from 50 c per spin up to $/€20 max.
To get a regular win, identical symbols must land on adjacent reels across a payline, starting from the first reel. The pay symbols are J to A card ranks as lows, then Cú Chulainn, a hero from Irish belief, the Chinese legend Mulan, Sigurd the Germanic hero, the Japanese warrior Musashi, Achilles of the Trojan War fame, and British King Arthur as the high pays. Players receive a reward of 1.5 times their bet for getting a 6-of-a-kind royal win or 2 to 10 times their bet for hitting a 6 premium symbol win. Wilds hit on all reels, too, substituting for pay symbols and possessing the same value as the King Arthur symbol.
Excalibur VS Gigablox: Features
Gigablox and wilds constitute the extras one may encounter in the base game, while the bonus round switches to a hold 'n win event once triggered.
On any non-winning base game spin that has not triggered Highrise Respins, the Excalibur Wild feature may trigger, transforming all Gigablox symbols on the reels into wilds.
Landing 5 or more gem scatter symbols triggers the Highrise Respins feature. When the bonus starts, each triggering gem symbol locks to the lowest possible position of its reel and displays a bet multiplier value. Once underway, 3 respins are awarded, where blanks, gems, or Highrise multiplier symbols may land. Gems appear on the bottom 5 rows and fall to the lowest possible reel position and lock when they hit, while Highrise multipliers only appear on the top row, where they also lock when they hit.
Highrise symbols reveal a multiplier of x7, x6, x5, x4, x3, or x2 when landing on reels 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, respectively. Multipliers are applied to gem symbols beneath them. If 2 or more Highrise multipliers are on consecutive reels, the multipliers are added before being applied to the gem symbols beneath them. Highrise and gem symbols reset the spin count to 3 when they land.
Players are able to buy Highrise Respins from the base game for 60x the bet. When buying the feature, 5 to 12 scatter symbols will hit to trigger it.
Excalibur VS Gigablox: Verdict
So far, most VS Gigablox slots have had one thing in common - massive confrontational characters who like nothing more than facing off against each other during bonus rounds. This Excalibur VS Gigablox has, too, as well as typically eye-catching artwork and a cast of impressive characters. It might surprise potential participants that Excalibur VS Gigablox isn't solely based on the Arthurian Legends but actually contains heroes from further afield. Some are characters that don't appear in slots super often, adding thematic interest.
Putting the theme aside for a moment, we come to Excalibur VS Gigablox's gaming component. Its base game benefits from the Gigablox to wild transformation ability of the Excalibur Wild feature, which should add a dash of variety when it triggers. But most of the time, Gigablox's oversized symbols do the heavy lifting to varying degrees of success. A measure of focus is shone on Highrise Respins since this is the first VS Gigablox slot to utilise a hold 'n win style bonus round. In the grand scheme of things, Highrise Respins are not the most exciting hold 'n win round ever devised. Pretty plain, really. Hit money symbols, which never seemed to have very high initial values, and if lucky, get some Highrise multiplier symbols up top. The situation may improve when multipliers are adjacent to one another, thereby combining values, perhaps helping gamblers get closer to the 4,050 times the bet max win.
When including Excalibur VS Gigablox, the VS range till now has included gods, monsters, nightmares, and heroes. Makes you wonder where the studio will go next should it choose to expand the series. There doesn't seem to be any obvious reason why High Rise Games would want to stop now it is four slots deep in the range. And while Excalibur VS Gigablox's bonus round isn't exactly paradigm-shifting, some of those gamblers who appreciated previous VS games (or newbies) may well appreciate this one as well.
While some may be excited by the prospect of a bonus round that’s unique for the series; others may find Excalibur VS Gigablox a bit weak.