ABOUT THE CRUSADER SLOT
Crusader is a one-of-a-kind video slot theme amid the vast and varied world of video slot themes. The game was released on March 2020 by ELK Studio and is based on the siege of Acre in the Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1291. It was a watershed point in the Crusade Era, when the Crusaders surrendered the city to the Mamluk army, losing a key bastion in the region. The fight was undoubtedly brutal and violent, and ELK does an excellent job of conjuring up the scene with smoke and flames strewn across the city’s stone walls. In fact, the game is reminiscent to Blueprint’s Valetta Megaways™, a recent historical slot.
THE GAME, SYMBOLS, AND GRAPHICS
The conflict from the novel is brought to life in the intro and when you spin the reels, with a blood-red skyline, smoke, and city walls creating a spectacular background to your gaming, thanks to ELK studios’ usual excellent production quality.
The basic game is played on a five-reel, four-row layout with 26 fixed paylines. The low value symbols are represented by the cards of Queen through to Ace. Three shield emblems, a dagger, a bible, and a glass adorned with jewels are among the luxury symbols. The highest earning symbol is the last one, with a payout of 10x for five on a payline. Keep an eye out for the Wild (a cross with the word WILD running through it), which can take the place of any other. In both the regular game and the bonus rounds, ANY symbol, including the Wild, can land stacked.
Crusader received an 8/10 on ELK’s own variance scale. So that’s on the high end of the medium, implying that it’ll be a tough nut to crack. It may not be as high as the monster slots from companies like Big Time Gaming, but casual players should be aware that Crusader will test their patience before paying out anything substantial. The stated hit rate is 21.2 percent (1 out of every 5 spins results in a win) and the RTP is 96.1 percent, which is decent for a slot of this type.
NOTE: Crusader’s highest payout is 2,500x, but you can only get it if you enter the bonus round and start playing with fully-expanded reels (more on that later).
FEATURES AND GAMEPLAY
Re-Spins and Crusader Wilds
The Crusader Wild is the most crucial symbol in this simple slot; everything nice happens around it. The wild symbol appears only on the first and fifth reels and replaces all other symbols. If it only displays partially, it will nudge up or down until it completely fills the reel. A re-spin is triggered for each nudge necessary to properly reveal the wild stack. The re-spins begin when the nudges are completed.
Expanding Reels and Free Spins
The Free Spins round is activated when Crusader Wilds stacks cover both reels one and five. The Crusader Wilds will be locked in position for the duration of the 8 spins.
A fresh symbol is introduced to the reels during the Free Spins. The Expansion Symbol, represented by an Arrow, is this. When it lands, it raises the reel set by one row and adds one additional spin to your free spins total. The reels may be expanded up to 12 rows high, bringing the total number of paylines to 98.
ELK Studios’ Crusader Slot is a refined offering. The basic gameplay and intriguing backdrop hook you in and provide for some exhilarating spin time, despite the lack of features. Your enjoyment will be determined by how frequently you can land those Crusader Wild stacks, as well as whether you can land two at once to go to the bonus round, where the expanding reels add a new dimension to the game. The maximum payout of 2,500x is a little low for a high volatility slot, but that is our only criticism of a game that we plan to return to several times this year to try our luck.