Grand Melee

(Thunderkick) Slot Review

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Thunderkick

✅ Grand Melee Demo & Casinos

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Grand Melee: Slot Overview

Play a fantasy video game or RPG, and there's a good chance your character will be armed with a ranged weapon or a melee weapon, or a mixture of both. Ranged weapons, like a bow, for example, are good because you can pick enemies off before they get within striking distance. Unless, of course, they've got a weapon with a greater range than yours. But you also can't beat getting stuck in with a hearty melee weapon like an axe or mace and just cracking some pixelated heads. Today we're getting stuck into Grand Melee, an online slot from software designer Thunderkick. This is a sticky winning symbol respins-type slot that bends the rules of how these games usually go. Something new(ish) to sample then, so why don't we gear up for a bit of melee-ing and see how it fares?

The first impression was surprisingly low-key for a Thunderkick game. Not that there's anything off-putting about Grand Melee's looks or sounds, but it didn't leap off the screen like a Thunderkick slot often does. Down the bottom, we've got a crowd of spectators watching the show, which takes place on a gaming matrix up on like a raised stage or something, with a couple of striped pavilions and trees to the sides of it. Even further into the background, a castle rises up, reinforcing the idea players have travelled back in time to somewhere like Europe in the Middle Ages to take Grand Melee on.

Grand Melee slot
Grand Melee slot - base game

Described by its maker as a highly volatile slot, Grand Melee produces a default theoretical return to player of 96.17%. Its game grid consists of 5 reels holding 4 symbols each, utilising an unusual connected pay ways system. Basically, wins begin on the leftmost reel and must be connected to each other across at least 3 adjacent reels, flush or corner to corner. If this sounds confusing, the paytable has a handy picture of how it all works.

The paytable also has value information on its 10 regular paying symbols. The lower value 5 are 10-A card symbols, worth 1 to 1.5 times the bet for a 5 OAK win, while the 5 higher value bunch are characters of varying colours and looks. Hitting a win made up of 5 matching premium symbols pays 3 to 10 times the bet.

Grand Melee: Slot Features

Grand Melee slot
Grand Melee slot - respin feature

Grand Melee does not have wild symbols, but it has a scatter, and several special symbols can land during the respins feature. The other feature to look out for is free spins.

Sticky Respin Feature

When randomly triggered, the Sticky Respin feature picks an arbitrary symbol (though not Symbol Upgrade, Symbol Expansion, or Game Area Expansion symbols) and displays it above the reels. If at least 5 of these chosen symbols land anywhere on the grid, they turn sticky and lock into position. During the respin feature, landing new chosen symbols also locks them in place, while the other positions respin. When no new chosen symbols hit, a win evaluation of the sticky symbols takes place and the feature ends. During respins, special symbols may also land:

  • Symbol Upgrade feature – this symbol may appear to transform all instances of the sticky symbols into more valuable sticky symbols.
  • Symbol Expansion feature – this symbol may appear to transform into the sticky symbol type then expand to vertically cover the whole reel.
  • Game Area Expansion feature – this symbol may land to transform into the sticky symbol type and add a new row to the top of the grid. At most, the grid can be 7 rows high.

Bonus Game

Landing 5 or more scatter symbols triggers the bonus game. This may also occur during the Sticky Respin feature if the scatter symbol is shown in the area above the reels, meaning it is sticking during respins. Respins continue in this case until no new scatter symbols land. The number of free spins awarded is equal to the number of scatter symbols in view when the round is triggered, and the bonus game can be retriggered. The bonus meter below the reels can be used to track progress. The meter resets between each spin and free spin. Presumably, symbols are chosen to be sticky more often, but this is not mentioned in the game info.

Grand Melee slot
Grand Melee slot - free spins

Grand Melee: Slot Verdict

Pat on the back to Thunderkick for trying something different with the sticky winning symbol respin device, but it probably won't be for everyone. Compared to, say, NetEnt's Jack Hammer, one of the originators of the feature, Grand Melee requires more patience. In some cases, a lot more patience. Since these sorts of games can blow up during their respin feature, there seems to be a greater number of dead spins compared to a 'regular' slot. Grand Melee seemed to push this further than normal and delivered a lot of dead spins. Like Homer Simpson sort of said, welcome to dead spin city, population you. Something along those lines.

So yeah, not every win triggers the respins feature; that's important for players to wrap their heads around before tackling Grand Melee and worth repeating. You gotta wait for the game to randomly pick a symbol first, then land at least five of them. Even then, sticky symbols don't guarantee a win is going to result. They say every dog has its day, and patience might pay off, should fortune be smiling, as Sticky Respins could cobble together a lifeline that boosted the balance. What's strange is despite what felt like fairly low-action gaming much of the time, the balance remained surprisingly buoyant. Not saying Grand Melee can't go the other way, of course. Those special symbols are handy, too, and are a nice way of expanding the respins feature further. Then there are free spins too, where strangely, nothing new officially occurs, which is not in the base game. Still, despite this, Grand Melee is good for wins of up to 5,000x the bet.

Grand Melee possesses an interesting and unique take on the winning respin feature that resurfaces every so often but is not super frequently used. However, after seeing how Grand Melee's version of it functioned a few times, clocking the nothing new in free spins aspect and the generally pleasant yet low-key vibe meant Grand Melee wasn't one that had us rushing back like charging into a virtual melee armed with a level 9000 bastard sword would.

Fair

Grand Melee has a novel take on sticky respins features, though the novelty wore thin surprisingly fast.

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