Pillars of Asgard: Overview
One way of standing out in a crowded market is to either do something that no one has done before, or go so unbelievably large that you end up transcending the genre. SG Studio developer NextGen Gaming has decided to do both by combining unique features with an insane number of win ways. Megaways takes it big, but even its 117,648 win ways pale in comparison to what is possible with Pillars of Asgard. It’s so extreme that it is set to polarise people - gamblers will either love or hate the figures that are associated with it.
If you are going to use an epic number of win ways, then it makes sense to bolt it to an epic theme. In the gaming world, it doesn’t get much more epic than Norse mythology. Well-trod ground for sure, but one that can hold its own when it comes to a massive game engine.
The journey begins with a trip over the rainbow bridge Bifrost to reach the mythical world of Asgard. A 6 reel, 4 row grid sits flanked between the two towering pillars of the title. A little unassuming at first, with ‘just’ 4,096 paylines to begin with, but give it time and that figure will climb significantly. The symbols are a mix of low pay 9 to A icons done in a Runic font, with additional symbols from Norse mythology with Odin, which is also the wild, being the most rewarding - 6 on a full payline will provide you with 200 times your stake. Playable from 0.25 to €/£50 per spin, Pillars of Asgard is set to be the highest volatility game ever in NextGen Gaming's history.
Pillars of Asgard: Features
Pillars of Asgard comes packed with features and unique mechanics. First out is the Wild Multiplier feature. When one or more Odin wilds land as part of a winning combination, it applies a random multiplier to the total. The more Odin symbols, the better, as the more that land, the greater the chance of scoring a higher multiplier. Players can expect at least x2, all the way up to x10 at the most as such:
- 1 wild symbol - 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 8x or 10x multiplier.
- 2 wild symbols - 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 8x or 10x multiplier.
- 3 wild symbols - 4x, 5x, 6x, 8x or 10x multiplier.
- 4 wild symbols - 5x, 6x, 8x or 10x multiplier.
- 5 wild symbols - 8x or 10x multiplier.
Pillars of Asgard also includes a Free Spins feature which comes into play when you land 3 or more scatter symbols - this will give you 20 free spins. Also, the more scatters that landed to trigger the feature, the more rows will be added up to a maximum of +4:
- 3 scatters will give you 1 extra row and 15,625 ways to win.
- 4 scatters will give you 2 extra rows and 46,625 ways to win.
- 5 scatters will give you 3 extra rows and 117,649 ways to win.
- 6 scatters will give you 4 extra rows and 262,144 ways to win.
If a scatter lands during the free spins round it adds an additional symbol to that particular reel - this is known as the Reel Rise Engine. Up to 10 symbols can be stacked on a reel and win ways climb with each additional one. If all 6 reels get maxed out with 10 each, then the game hits its full potential with 1,000,000 win ways in play. Not only that, but when a reel manages to climb 10 symbols high, it receives the Odin’s Blessing feature. This blessing consists of 5 more free spins, and all scatter symbols being turned into wilds for the rest of the bonus round.
Furthermore, if a player is lucky enough for all 6 reels to hit 10 symbols high, then the Pillar Shift Engine comes into play. Odin awakens, and one full reel becomes completely wild and moves from reel to reel with each consecutive free spin.
Like other NextGen Gaming titles, players who can’t wait for the bonus game to be activated can take the shortcut route by buying it for 80x the wager using the Buy Pass feature. Alternatively, players can lower the cost and spin a wheel of chance to possibly trigger it for the cheaper rate. The lower the price is set, the lower the chance of being successful.
Pillars of Asgard: Verdict
Credit where credit is due, NextGen Gaming deserve points for attempting to push what slots are capable of. If Pillars of Asgard garners the hordes of fans that the developers are hoping for, it could widen the win ways gate even further. That will be music to the ears of gamblers who like to push the envelope, not so great for fans of the classics. If you thought Megaways offered a ludicrous number of win ways - steer clear. For others, Pillars of Asgard looks like one of those unique experiences that needs to be tried at least once, to see what all the hype is about.
And there is a lot of hype. We can only speculate as to the game’s top payout since NextGen Gaming rarely reveals it, but judging by other slots from the same provider we are hopeful of a significant figure. Medusa Megaways, for example, has a top payout of up to 50,000x, so expectations are high.
With so much attention on the win ways and features, it is easy to overlook the game’s theme and graphics. Again, NextGen deserve credit for incorporating the Norse theme seamlessly with the massive extra features. Odin and his blessings add legitimacy to the big numbers, and help avoid them looking completely overblown. So far, all the hype is pointing to an exciting slot. If the payout can match the rest of the figures and features, NextGen Gaming could be onto a classic. If not, well, at the very least it's one of those slots that needs to be played once to be believed.
Norse themed slot provides the vehicle for some over-the-top gameplay in Pillars of Asgard.