Towering Pays Valhalla: Slot Overview
Scrolling through software provider GamesLab‘s catalogue of releases, it quickly becomes apparent the studio has a soft spot for mythology. They’ve got Egypt in there naturally, as well as Asian fantasy, Aztec, and now another Norse themed game. This one is titled Towering Pays Valhalla and is a repeat performance of the studio’s Towering Pays mechanism. If you haven’t come across this before, it’s where towers of symbols appear on certain reels, expanding the number of rows and paylines when they hit. Is it all gimmick or ingenious innovation? Let’s join several Norse Gods to see.
Towering Pays Valhalla starts on a 5-reel, 3-row grid providing 15 fixed paylines to landing winning combinations across. Graphically, the standard is quite high, the background imagery bathed in an eerie blue light, featuring Viking longships, an unusual red leafed tree, and one of those fabulous Norwegian stave churches in the background. Equally eerie is the soundtrack, and when added together, the game does a good job of drawing you in to explore whatever else it might have to offer.
Setting bets is the first step, where choices range from 25 p/c to £/€31.25 per spin, available on any device. Math models in all Towering Pays games so far have been pretty similar, here meaning medium volatility and an RTP value of 95.75%, dropping to 95.65% when buying the bonus feature. This one does offer the greatest potential, however, so players who liked past use of the mechanic but were turned off by a low top prize will be happy to see GamesLab loosen the purse strings for Towering Pays Valhalla.
Winning combinations are formed when three to five matching symbols line up across one of the bet ways. Horns of Odin wilds help in this task by replacing any of the pay symbols. Wilds are also worth up to 10x the stake for a line of five. In total, 10 symbols make up the regular pay symbols, divided into card suits – clubs, diamonds, spades, and hearts as the low pays worth up to 0.8x for five of a kind. Next are some nicely designed icons such as dragons, two-headed eagles, horses, rams, wolves, and a Viking warrior. Landing a five symbol combination of these is worth a payout of 1 to 6 times the stake. Not a whole lot, considering the number of paylines, but a growing grid and multipliers are used to boost what Towering Pays Valhalla has to offer.
Towering Pays Valhalla: Slot Features
Features in Towering Pays Valhalla include Mega Tower Magic, Stage Play, Prize Multipliers, and a Feature Trail where four rounds of free spins are unlocked – a little like Thunderstruck II.
Mega Tower Magic revolves around Towers (stacks) of special golden symbols, grouped on reels 1, 2, and 3 in the base game. When Towers hit, they transform into regular paying symbols and also lead into other features.
Whenever a Tower appears on every reel that holds them, play progresses to the next Stage. Each Stage adds 1 extra row of symbols and 10 extra paylines. This continues until reaching 5×8 in size, where 65 paylines are active. At the end of free spins, or if free spins are rejected, the grid resets back to its starting size.
At random, a multiplier may be applied to the prize amount on any winning spin. The possible value is dependent on the Stage, so the more rows in play, the higher the multiplier can be from x2 to x10.
When at least 1 Tower appears on reels 1-3 on the 5×8 sized grid, a feature is offered. It may be accepted or rejected to play on for a better feature. There are 4 features offered in sequential order – Valkyrie, Loki, Thor, and Odin. Each awards 7 free spins and starts on the regular 5×3 reel size. When at least 1 Tower appears during the feature on all applicable reels, an extra free spin is awarded.
Valkyrie and Loki Free Spins are similar to the base game where Towers appear on reels 1-3, except in Loki, the win multipliers are guaranteed. In Thor or Odin rounds, Towers appear on reels 1 to 4. When the grid has fully expanded in the Odin feature, Towers appear on all 5 reels where the game’s biggest potential has a chance to be won.
Players not in the mood to build rows or wait around for Towers may be able to buy the feature instead. Doing so costs 50 times the stake. Once purchased, players spin a wheel divided into segments: 10 segments award Valkyrie, 3 for Loki, 2 for Thor, and 1 segment awards Odin.
Towering Pays Valhalla: Slot Verdict
Towering Pays Valhalla has its ups, but it also feels like a game that would have been high tech several years ago. It suffers from the same criticism afflicting Reflex Gaming’s game Sea God we reviewed not long before this one. The issue is the relatively restrictive number of paylines that have a knack for confining you to a tiny corner of a fully expanded grid, even when masses of the same symbol type seem to appear. Not always, of course, yet it’s just the near misses are more apparent when the screen overflows with eight rows and some pitiful three symbol combo hits in the bottom left corner.
On the flip side, occasionally the larger grid does connect larger value combinations, helped by Towers which act like mystery symbols. The four bonus feature trail is kind of interesting, though there’s not a lot separating one from the other, except more towers on Thor and Odin, climaxing at all five reels when the grid expands during the later one. It gives players something to shoot for, but you really have to be into the game to stick around for so long. Does Towering Pays Valhalla do enough to hold interest? For some maybe, for others, building rows and pay ways will get stale pretty fast.
There are rewards, where up to 6,500x the bet can be won during Odin free spins. Odin’s selling point is its Towers on all five reels, yet even if they cover the screen in the top symbol, you’re looking at a win of 390x the bet, which seems meagre for an eight-row grid. Win multipliers can drastically improve that amount, but still. Also, there’s no mention of what the other bonus games can produce, which could well be a deal-breaker since it’s no easy task triggering the Odin bonus, either organically or from the bonus buy.
In the end, a clear plan has been laid out for progressing through Towering Pays Valhalla some may enjoy, and it’s executed in attractive surroundings. It ends up being a little convoluted, though and might have worked better if GamesLab had condensed everything into one bonus round or updated the pay system to something more contemporary.
Towering Pays Valhalla leaves you feeling the overcomplicated gameplay could have been tightened to greater effect to match the attractive presentation.