North Storm (Rabcat): Overview
Rabcat is an up and coming gaming company based in Austria that works alongside gambling titans Microgaming and Yggdrasil. They are a group of developers that certainly enjoy a mythological/fantasy slot as their back catalogue testifies. Some examples are gods in Legend of Olympus, fantasy in Dragons Myth and Forsaken Kingdom, among others. Their latest slot North Storm follows this tradition, with more than a little inspiration from other well-known slots and TV shows.
Let’s just come out and say it, the game bears heavy resemblance to NetEnt's Asgardian Stones. It even uses a similar game mechanic, which here is known as the Rolling Reels feature. Then there is the background, is that the Fist of the First Men, where the Night’s Watch fought off the Army of the Dead? Maybe that’s a coincidence, but that wild also looks freakishly similar to House Stark’s emblem, and the scatter like a White Walker. Whatever, chalk it up to coincidence and roll with it for now. Because the game is a looker, no doubt about that and Rabcat has captured the look, sound and feel of the fantasy genre nicely. Fans of the theme will find plenty of visceral appeal.
First things first - players get 25 fixed paylines spread over 5 reels and 3 rows. Bets start at 0.25 p/c and go all the way up to £/€50 per spin. Not exactly a heroic amount, but more than enough for most brave warriors to get fired up. With a respectable RTP of 96.13% and medium volatility, those who like more consistent, ongoing rewards may find that here. The great thing about the game mechanic means that wins can multiply, which keeps the action rolling. Still, it doesn’t mask the imitative nature of the game though, it actually highlights it.
Symbols offer decent value throughout the paytable. On the lower side, we get runic style 10, J, Q and K symbols worth from 0.2x to 4x the stake. The three top base game symbols are Celtic patterns worth from 0.8x up to 100x the wager. The dire wolf is the wild and takes the place of any paying symbol. It is also worth 100x the bet if 5 of a kind land in a winning combination. Mix in the Bonus Falls feature, and these symbols can build up into satisfying amounts. Though, with the game’s top prize of approximately 500-1000x per spin in the bonus, jackpot fans may prefer juicier hunting grounds to get a hit.
North Storm (Rabcat): Features
Bonus Falls is the most common feature you will come across. When a winning combo lands, it disintegrates to let existing or new symbols fill in the gaps. This can lead to more winners off one spin and so on. What makes things even more interesting is that consecutive wins are subject to a multiplier that increases by x1 up to a maximum of x4 with each win.
The glowing-eyed bad guy is the scatter and ties into the Bonus Falls feature. If 3 land on a payline, 8 Free Spins is awarded. If they land on other paylines during that spin or on consecutive Bonus Falls spins then they result in 2 more free spins - capped at 20. During the base game and free spins, the multiplier increases like so:
- Default – x1 during bonus game, x2 during free spins.
- 1st Cascade – x2 during bonus game, x4 during free spins.
- 2nd Cascade – x3 during bonus game, x6 during free spins.
- 3rd Cascade – x4 during the bonus game, x8 during free spins.
Like many new slots at the moment, North Storm is at its raging best when its extras combine in that fashion.
North Storm: Verdict
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then North Storm will be make a few people blush right now. As well as Asgardian Stones, it has gameplay ported right from Jungle Jim, and if we go back a few steps, even the ghost of Gonzo’s Quest can be felt. No big deal, the entertainment industry is rife with borrowing ideas and finding inspiration in each other's work. As long as the new product isn’t an exact copy, from a legal standpoint, and builds on past endeavors to offer something new, we can live with it.
Then again, imitation might be flattery, but it also rarely leads to greatness. What we get with North Storm is an entertaining game with decent potential, though one that will neither shake up the slots world nor win awards for originality. In Rabcat’s defense, it is unlikely they were aiming for either of these goals when they developed North Storm. Instead, it feels like they have leapt on a theme and game mechanic that are both super popular at the moment.
Many could see this as a cynical cash grab, but Rabcat’s previous game history proves that this is a company that clearly enjoys creating fantasy themed slots. With that in mind it is easy to be a bit more lenient with the criticism, but still, this is the slots business and we all want bang for our buck. Taking all of that into consideration, North Storm has plenty of ticks in the pro column. The graphics are outstanding, symbols hold ok value, and the dynamic action of the Bonus Falls are dynamite when they roll together. Overall, it's a great looking game with strong appeal, but hardcore gamblers and veteran punters will be harder to please.
North Storm manages to be both epic and a farce.