Right now, there are literally thousands of slots doing the rounds with themes that focus on anything and everything to do with gems. Narrowing the field down to just two to put under the microscope isn’t an easy job, so we thought we’d look specifically at a couple of crystal-themed slots for this write-up. Specifically, Crystal Clear and Crystal Gems, which were launched by two of the biggest names in the business quite a while ago now.
The only question being, how do they stack up today when considered by 2017 standards?
Well, the first thing to be said about Crystal Clear is that in terms of visuals, it doesn’t disappoint. Instead, it delivers exactly what it promises – gleaming visuals of the highest quality and an overall theme that’s delightfully fresh and inviting. It comes from the team at Realistic Games and (of course) has a jewel, with the usual five reels and ten total paylines to play for. Spins start out at just 10p each and go as high as £100 and Crystal Clear is fully compatible with desktop and mobile platforms alike.
The standard symbols include a bunch of colourful gems, with the red and blue being the highest paying during normal play – five in a row being worth a payout of 32 coins. Slightly unimpressive, but it’s worth noting that there’s also a wild in the form of a white diamond that’s worth a hell of a lot more. Along with being able to take the place of any other symbol on the board, the white diamond when lined up three, four or five in a row is worth 8X, 32X or 1,000X your wager respectively.
The number underneath each of the reels specifies how many wilds there are currently on that reel – the minimum being 8, which can be increased as you go along. With each winning payline, non-wild symbols that make up the payline are changed to wilds and remain on the reels. When this happens, you instantly get a free re-spin and this cycle can continue over and over again – more wilds, more free spins and so on. If you don’t win, the number of wilds goes back to eight and you’re once again looking at starting again from scratch.
And that’s really where it all comes to an end with Crystal Clear – a simple slot that lives up to its name. It’s a bit of an odd one in a way, because normal play incorporates the key bonus feature so the two are basically one and the same. Which is a good thing in our books, as it makes the base game plenty of fun to play with and you’ll always have the chance of winning a solid prize, without having to access the usual bonus rounds. And in terms of the prizes on offer, it’s not impossible (though it’s certainly tricky) to win up to 1,000X your bet, or a jackpot payout of 10,000 coins.
Next up, Crystal Gems comes courtesy of the folks at 2 By 2 Gaming – perhaps not the biggest of household names but nonetheless a powerhouse in quality online slot development. Once again, you’re looking at a shiny and sparkly overall look and feel, with bold, bright visuals and a backdrop featuring a purple rocky outcrop of some kind. Spins are on offer from 25p up to a maximum of £50, there are some interesting bonus rounds to play for and the base game takes the usual five-reel, 25-payline approach.
Once again, gemstones are the symbols to look out for which in this instance are joined by the usual playing card values. The orange, blue and red gemstones are more than a little lucrative, which upon landing three, four or five on any winning payline will net you 15X, 40X or 200X your wager respectively!
Still not enough? OK, well, keep your eyes peeled for the green emerald symbol, which lined up in the same configurations is worth a generous 20X, 75X or 300X your bet. And then there’s the diamond, which rewards line-ups to the tune of 20X, 80X and 400X times the total line bet. Last but not least, there’s also a wild symbol which takes things even further – along with being able to take the place of most of the other symbols in the game, it can also see you taking home a whopping 2,000X your bet!
Of the two bonus features, the first is the Crystal Mystery Bonus. Simple yet potentially effective, all you need to do is choose one of the available crystals you’re presented with and see what kind of cash prize it offers. After this comes the Free Spins Bonus feature, which as usual is where the real action is. You’ll need to line up three, four or five mine cart scatters in any positions on the reels, in order to win eight, ten or 12 free spins. There are also plenty of additions wild multipliers in the bonus round, meaning that anything won might be increased by up to 4X.
Last but not least, you can also re-trigger the free spins at any time during the bonus round by landing more of the scatter symbols once again. During the free spins feature, any gemstone symbol that hits will result in a prize being awarded worth five times your bet.
In conclusion, Crystal Gems has done a great job of nailing that elusive balance between simplicity and playability. It’s simple enough to dive right into and enjoy from the word go, but there’s also enough to keep things interesting for a while. It might not have the most long-term playability out there, but it’s great fun for killing a little time if nothing else!