Viking Runes: Slot Overview
Viking Runes is a grid slot designed by independent studio TrueLab in collaboration with Yggdrasil Gaming as part of the YGS Masters program. The first thing you notice about Viking Runes is just how big it is. Its 9x9, 81 symbol grid is much larger than you usually find in these sorts of games. Having all the extra space to play with does help juice Viking Runes' potential, so that's a bonus right away for big win chasers. The supersized grid also helps distance itself from its nearest competitor which appears to be Play'n GO's Viking Runecraft – more on that later.
According to the sagas, runes had inherent magical properties, and Viking Runes' background imagery enhances this idea. The grid is found in a rocky mountainous region, dappled in snow turned purple by the glowing Aurora Borealis lighting up the screen's upper section. It produces an eerie glow, made eerier by the faces in the rock peering out like spirits of the earth. Extra life is injected by the horn-helmed warrior next to the grid, ready to slam it with his Warhammer at any moment.
Viking Runes uses a cluster pays system, where 6 more identical symbols connecting either horizontally or vertically award a win. More than one cluster can land simultaneously, and if so happens, they all award wins. Winning clusters are then removed from the grid, allowing new symbols to drop down to fill the empty positions. This can lead to consecutive wins from single spins, only ending when no more winning clusters appear.
Runic popping fun is available on any device, where bets from 40 p/c to £/€40 per spin may be selected. Big potential is matched by volatility measured at '2065', which doesn't mean much on its own, but translated into plain language equates to 'very high'. Symbols cluster up regularly, keeping the action going, as borne out by a total hit frequency of 31.8%. RTP is rather high as well, where we find a value of 96.2%.
Runes certainly rule the paytable, where three are used as the low pays, four as the mids, while two gem-encrusted items of jewellery make up the high symbols. TrueLab has given each individual cluster of 6 to 42 symbols different values, making the paytable exceptionally lengthy. At the top end, a cluster of 42 low symbols are worth 100x, mids 200-300x, and highs 500x to 800x the bet. Players are assisted in clustering up symbols by 2 wild symbols. One is Lightning Wilds, covered below, the other a regular wild. This one substitute for all symbols in the game, except Lightning Wilds.
Viking Runes: Slot Features
Lightning Wilds are central to much of the action and are joined by 3 random modifiers, plus a round of free spins. There are 4 Lightning Wilds, stored on a bar to the right of the grid. When a winning cascade occurs, one Lightning Wild is activated and placed in a random position. Up to 4 Lightning Wilds in a sequence are possible, and each one moves to a different position after each winning cascade. Lightning Wilds remain on the board until cascades end; then they are removed for the next new spin.
The 3 random modifiers are available during the base or bonus game. They trigger at various points, keeping in mind only one can activate on a cascade:
- Runic Shuffle – reshuffles symbols on random losing spin to guarantee one or more winning clusters.
- Spell of Ancestor – when no new winners appear, this may trigger to transform low pays into the top high pay symbol.
- Viking Sorcery – when no new winning clusters appear, 3 to 9 wilds may be added in random positions.
If you manage to score 5 consecutive winning cascades or more, then 6 free spins are awarded. In free spins, all 4 Lightning Wilds come into play for the duration, moving to new positions after every cascade. The major difference now is they also come with a progressive multiplier that increases by +1 whenever used in a winning cluster. Snowballing cascades is the name of the game here since free spins cannot be retriggered.
Viking Runes: Slot Verdict
Viking Runes might be inspired by Viking Runecraft, even the name is pretty much the same, yet TrueLab's manages to be the bigger game. It's not as complex, where the main concern is just landing consecutive cascades to work your way up to free spins. Sure, there are random modifiers, but on the whole, Viking Runes is the simpler game. For a comparison, reading Viking Runecraft's paytable is like deciphering the rules of a roleplaying module. In short, the two games probably offer enough variety to set them far enough apart to avoid too much finger-wagging.
Size kings and queens will no doubt be curious to know where all of this XXL grid slot gaming can lead them. Quite far indeed. To prevent things getting too crazy, TrueLab has slapped on a 25,000x the stake win cap. As in an interesting aside, the win cap was hit 1,506 times in a billion simulated game rounds which works out at around 1 in 664,000. Not exactly easy odds, yet in some ways quite heartening when compared to much of the competition.
To sum up, Viking Runes is a big grid slot with big rewards. Graphics are a little dated, though easy to overlook when you're knee-deep in the action. Viking Runes doesn't come with a huge amount of features, but its modifiers plus cascade/Lightning Wild system can create those solid win chains grid slots are renowned for. While it is close to Play'n GO's release, if you think of Viking Runes as picking up where Viking Runecraft left off, there is plenty for aficionados to enjoy.
The super sized grid, massive potential och great stats set it apart from the pack, but somewhat dated design, and lack of innovation hold it back from being a really good grid slot.