Katmandu X

(ELK Studios) Slot Review

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Katmandu X: Slot Overview

Let's say you've got two tip-top games on your hands; what to do with them? One thing you could do is follow Swedish casino game maker ELK Studios' lead and mash them together into something altogether different. Well, somewhat different. The game in question is Katmandu X and is the love child of Katmandu Gold (of Kane fame) and the dystopic delight Propaganda. Just how kids share traits of the gene pool which collided to produce them, dad's eyes, mum's smile, for example, Katmandu X mixes the outer wrapper of the previous Katmandu Gold game with the gameplay of Propaganda with an extra bit or two on top.

The original Katmandu Gold was quite a looker, and so by extension is Katmandu X. This snowy domain is not a part of the virtual world regularly visited by the online gambling community, so there was an element of shock when seeing the first time round. Like, a good one. As is usually the case, doing the same thing twice dilutes some of the shock, but Katmandu X remains pleasing to the eyes; the exoticism quotient expands when symbols fall in and out of the game grid, revealing a majestic pagoda-like structure in the distance. Technically, Katmandu X could be classed as an Asian-themed slot in some ways, though one that yanks players off the usual tourist path to somewhere a little less well-trod.

Katmandu X slot
Katmandu X slot - base game

The aforementioned game grid consists of 6 reels holding 6 symbols each, but unlike Katmandu Gold, this one does not expand. Beneath the veneer lies a highly volatile math model churning out a theoretical return to player value of 95%. Not exactly a superstar stat, yet compared to much of what ELK Studio's been doing recently, this is actually a pretty generous number. For them. While offering five additional ways of tackling the game via the X-iter feature, bets of 20 p/c to $/€100 may be selected as regular single spin (or drops as they are called here) bets or as reference values when calculating the X-iter cost.

Katmandu X is a cluster pays slot, meaning wins are awarded when matching symbols are adjacent to one another in horizontal or vertical directions anywhere on the board. Winning combinations then get removed from the grid by the avalanche mechanic, generating a wild symbol before the rest of the gaps are filled by symbols dropping down from above. On the lower side of the paytable are four stone-carved icons coloured in blue, green, purple, and red, then four symbolic representations of animals as the high pay symbols. Winning clusters containing five matching symbols are worth 0.05 to 1.5 times the bet, while clusters of 16+ identical symbols pay 4 to 100 times the bet. Not hooj values, yet Katmandu X can pour on the multipliers at times to augment them; let's check out how.

Katmandu X: Slot Features

Katmandu X slot
Katmandu X slot - super free spins

We mentioned the wild symbol generation following cluster wins, and Katmandu X's wilds come in several forms. All substitute for any regular pay symbol. When more than one wild symbol is used in a win, they merge into one wild symbol, generating a multiplier value. This multiplier is applied to any future wins the wild is part of. Multiplier wilds that connect more than one winning cluster are split into the corresponding clusters. Another wild is the exploding wild. This one is new, and it explodes all symbols around it, thereby generating a redrop.

Wild Strike

At random, the Wild Strike may activate, randomly replacing symbols with wilds, exploding wilds, or multiplier wilds.

Multiplier

On top of wild multipliers, Katmandu X has a global win multiplier which is applied to all winning clusters. Each winning symbol and any symbol removed by exploding wilds increase the total multiplier value. When wins occur, any applicable wild multipliers apply their values first, followed by the total multiplier. The total multiplier resets between spins in the base game.

Big Symbols

All pay symbols exist in four different sizes from regular 1x1 to Super 2x2, Mega 3x3, and Epic 4x4. Each big symbol counts as the number of 1x1-sized symbols it consists of. Big symbols which are redropped crush 1x1 symbols on their way down. Symbols not crushed are symbols of the same type, wilds, bonus symbols, or free drop symbols. Any empty spaces below a big symbol are filled with normal-sized symbols of the same type.

Bonus Game

Landing 3 regular bonus symbols trigger the free drops bonus mode. In this mode, the total multiplier does not reset until the feature ends. In this bonus and the Super bonus, landing Yin & Yang symbols awards additional free spins.

Super Bonus Game

If 3 bonus symbols hit in the base game, and one of them is a Super bonus symbol, then the Super bonus game is awarded. Or, landing a Super bonus symbol in the regular bonus game upgrades it to the Super bonus game. This one guarantees a Super Wild Strike on every free drop – replacing symbols with multiplier or exploding wild symbols.

X-iter

Entering the X-iter feature buy menu presents these 5 choices:

  • Bonus Hunt – 2x the bet for a symbol drop with more than double the chance of triggering the bonus game.
  • Expoding Wild – 10x the bet for a symbol drop with a guaranteed exploding wild symbol.
  • Super Wild Strike – 25x the bet for a symbol drop with a guaranteed Super Wild Strike.
  • Bonus – 100x the bet to buy the regular bonus game.
  • Super Bonus – 500x the bet for entry to the Super bonus game.
Katmandu X slot
Katmandu X slot - feature buy menu

Katmandu X: Slot Verdict

Katmandu X came as a bit of a surprise. Not because it's a follow-up or a branching off of Katmandu Gold - there's a bunch of Gold slots on the shelves already and no doubt more in the pipeline. It's just that peeling off the outer wrapper and slapping it on what is basically Propaganda's gaming engine was a curveball. Then again, maybe it shouldn't be so much of a surprise. The two games are sturdily constructed slots which were a blast to review, and for the most part, Katmandu X mixes the best of both worlds. Perhaps Propaganda's bleak worldview was a little too bleak for some. If that's the case, then Katmandu X's reprocessing of the gameplay while adding one or two new bits of its own makes it an ideal stand-in.

So, no faulting Katmandu X's action then. When it comes to stats, Katmandu X takes some of the good and not-so-good prior numbers. On the less good side, the RTP it shares with Propaganda is significantly lower than the values found in Katmandu Gold. However, on the rosier side, Katmandu X also shares the larger of the two previous games' winning potential, topping everything off with a 25,000x the bet win cap. Swings and roundabouts, but like a smorgasbord, players now have several interrelated options they can pick from or reject.

Ever heard the saying 'greater than the sum of its parts'? Katmandu X isn't exactly like that. There's no doubt it delivered an entertaining time, reproducing the compelling gameplay of Propaganda in the icily exotic land of Katmandu Gold. Yet somehow, it's neither significantly greater nor worse than the two games which spawned it. Let's be clear this is no scathing criticism but rather an acknowledgement of how excellently designed the original two slots were. Katmandu X delivered a satisfying mix of the two games, though the merging process didn't quite result in a symbiotic entity that greatly transcended its two DNA contributors. Still fun, though.

Great

For the most part, Katmandu X blends the best of two already great slots into one rollicking good mash-up.

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