The Vault Slot: Overview
Stockholm and Helsinki based developer Snowborn Gaming has a couple of new slots on the horizon, with jewel heist The Vault one of them. A relative newcomer to the iGaming scene, Snowborn has teamed up with giants Microgaming and still has a pretty sparse catalogue of games at the time of writing. There is mention of a previous space slot called Portals which is hard to track down – it’s not even mentioned at the developer's website. Looking to rectify the empty cabinet, Snowborn is set to release two slots in the upcoming months. Arguably the most interesting is The Vault, which is based around a burglar called Jewel who is planning a heist on a high tech vault. The story and stats sound promising, so let's pull on that balaclava and join Jewel as she cracks safes to nab other people's property.
The team has gone to town with the back story basing Jewel on Lisbeth Salander from Steig Larson's Millennium series. She's not just jacking any old vault either. The heist is taking place in a Parisian art gallery which contains the world's largest diamond called ‘The Pink Dawn’. What that means for players is a dark background; Snowborn calls it 'Paris Noir', and 5x3 transparent reels which reveal a laser filled room with the safe tucked away in the back along with 20 paylines crisscross the reels like glowing green anti-thief lasers. The accompanying UI is a little different with a clean modern look. Accessing the stakes area, players can adjust bets there from 20 p/c to £/€40 and engage auto spins easily.
Visually, the slot has a video game quality to it. That certainly applies to the PS2 style symbols which are perhaps the least attractive part of the game. Regular pay symbols come in two forms – low pay 10-A royals, and theme inspired premiums. From lowest to highest are gold bars, a diamond case, a jewel, and a pink diamond. Best returns come from this big pink stone at 100 times the stake for five of a kind – four times more than the next symbol down.
Setting out to steal the world’s largest diamond is pretty much the definition of an all or nothing venture. Following the spirit of the theme, Snowborn has programmed The Vault with a very high volatility. RTP is a bit gentler, and clocks in at 96% which evens things out somewhat in the very long run, as does a hit rate of 19.97%. But those stats don't stop The Vault from being a volatile prospect indeed.
The Vault Slot: Features
Snowborn has loaded several extra features that pop up during the base or need to be triggered to give players something to look forward to. To start with, there are 2 types of wilds. The first is a standard 1x1 tile that substitutes for any symbol except bonus symbols. Combinations of the standard wilds also payout up to 100 times the stake for five of a kind. The other wild appears during the Vault Bonus round and completely covers the middle reel throughout the feature.
The Vault Bonus Free Spins feature is triggered when 5 of scatter symbols land in view to award 10 free spins. This is referred to as hacking into the Vault Bonus. The Vault Bonus begins with a win multiplier of x3, which increases by 1 whenever an ‘x1’ symbol lands. Along with this is the ‘+1’ symbol which adds an additional free spin, and there is no theoretical max limit to how many free spins may be awarded.
The final feature to be aware of is the Respin feature which is triggered when 2 or more bonus symbols land. When this occurs, the bonus symbols are locked into position while reels are respun. If another bonus symbol lands it awards another Respin. Respins continue until no more bonus symbols land, or if five do, then the Vault Bonus is triggered.
The Vault Slot: Verdict
It's clear that Snowborn has put quite a lot of thought into The Vault. They haven’t created something blazingly unique which could fall flat as easily as light the slots world on fire. Instead, they have taken a more considered approach and crafted a decent looking slot, without being stunning, and filled it with cinematic animations which build a game world with some depth. The extensive back story and the character named Jewel flesh things out further before they drop in that viciously volatile game engine. The result has a personality that might not please everyone but gets points for originality.
The Vault also gets points for a bonus game which can be a cracker when players manage to eventually trigger it. A locked wild reel coupled with an x3 multiplier is a great way to start and it has the potential to get even better via additional multipliers and free spins. This is where players, and cat burglars, get the chance to make the most of the cracked vault. Single spin wins aren't bad either, provided a few of the high-value symbols turn up. A line of the diamonds during the Vault Bonus with the default x3 multiplier is worth 300 times the stake. Boost the multiplier further and satisfying returns of up to 5,000 times the stake are theoretically possible.
Overall, Snowborn has created something of value with The Vault. Visually, it has a unique, modern look that video gamers can identify with. The stats are solid, and the bonus round has enough juicy elements to make it a desirable, not to mention, profitable experience when it's on. The Vault might not be the world's largest diamond of a game, but it's no cubic zirconia either.
The Vault delivers periodic thrills, but fundamental imbalances and bland gameplay might make this high volatile slot a tough sell.