Yokozuna Clash (Yggdrasil Gaming): Overview
Even though it hasn't achieved the kind of global recognition of football or tennis, most people know what sumo wrestling is. It's a trial of wills between two colossal men who are hell-bent on using their voluminous mass and a strong grasp of Newton's Laws to force their opponent out of the ring. In spite of the size of the athletes, there is a remarkable amount of grace to the sport, and you simply cannot denigrate the intense discipline required to be a champion. Being a slot machine, of course, not that much of that comes through in Yokozuna Clash.
Played on a 5-reel, 243 ways to win, pay-both-ways reel set, you're invited by Swedish developer Yggdrasil Gaming to the Grand Sumo Tournament for some belly slapping, feet stomping action. Taking on the role of sumo wrestlers Riku or Haru, your mission is to defeat all your opponents and claim the trophy to become the Yokozuna (grand champion). You can transport yourself to the dohyō (ring) using your computer, mobile phone or tablet and get going from 0.10 to €/£125 per spin.
Although sumo-themed slots are not wholly unique, Yokozuna Clash is. Set inside a Ryōgoku (sumo hall) with intense music playing to set the mood, you'll see two sumo wrestlers facing each other in the foreground with the reels spinning behind them. Though the sport is one of ancient origin, the gameplay and presentation is anything but traditional. Yokozuna Clash is as modern as video slots come these days, designed to engage the player through advanced video game style animations and graphics. Though it might not appeal to all players, it's impressive nonetheless.
Looking at the paytable, we see that Yggdrasil has decided to abandon the confusing coin value, which is great news. Displaying the symbols in cash value relative to your current stake is much more straightforward and transparent. Spinning on the reels you will see lower-value card suit symbols along with dragons, turtles, tigers and phoenix birds. The latter is the most rewarding, giving you 12 times your stake for a five of a kind combination. The wild symbol, which has the word "wild" written across it, substitutes for all symbols bar the scatter.
Yokozuna Clash (Yggdrasil Gaming): Features
Yokozuna Clash relies almost entirely on the free spin feature to deliver big wins, but there are a couple of random features to benefit from in the base game to keep you going:
- Riku (wearing the blue belt): can randomly add up to 2 wilds on the three central reels.
- Haru (wearing the green belt): can add a 2x or 3x multiplier to boost your winning combinations.
At the heart of this game is the multi-level Tournament Free Spins feature which is initiated when the free spins scatter appears on the first and last reels simultaneously. Before the bout gets underway, you'll be assigned either Riku or Haru to fight a randomly chosen first-round opponent. Now, all fighters have their own unique powers (this can be up to 4 wilds or multipliers of up to 4x) for you to benefit from and which are added to the reels as the sumo wrestlers try to force each other out of the ring.
Winning from left to right make your sumo attack the boss and progress to the right. If you land a winning combination from right to left, however, the opponent will push you back. The battle bar below the ring keeps track of which fighter is winning - if it turns all red, your sumo is tossed outside of the ring and the free spins end. If, however, it turns all blue, you advance to the next boss. In total, there are only 2 bosses to defeat to take home the trophy. If you make it to the finals, you'll be up against the demon sumo where a doubling multiplier will be applied to your total winnings if you beat him.
Finally, there's also the Sumo Clash feature which comes into play when you land a five of a kind combination. You will then see 2 to 4 extra symbols of the highest 5oak symbols added to the reels to award you an even bigger payout than the initial one.
Yokozuna Clash (Yggdrasil Gaming): Verdict
Booting up Yokozuna Clash the first time you're likely to be as clueless as we were. But once you get going, you'll soon realise it's not as complicated as it first seems. Essentially, the random base game features also come into action in the free spins feature where they're enhanced (if you get to the second stage) and appear more frequently to give you bigger wins. With potential to land wins of over 3000 times your stake, Yokozuna Clash is somewhere in the medium variance range. The free spins are not too hard to trigger, but you can expect the payouts to be quite low for the most part.
As usually is the case, Yggdrasil excels at delivering innovative ideas and exceptional visuals, but once the novelty of Yokozuna Clash wears off, you're left with a rather lacklustre slot that lacks punch. It might keep casual players entertained for a week or two, but hard-core gamblers will roll their eyes and scroll past it.
On its own merits, Yokozuna Clash is a solid grappler. But the novelty of the unorthodox gameplay wears thin quickly.