Crystal Kingdom Online Slot Game
Although co-developed by IGT, High 5 Games released Crystal Kingdom in 2011 and it quickly became a popular slot game in casinos. The game's theme is based on a young queen who resides in a frozen palace in the far north. The palace is guarded by polar bears and wolves. Although it may seem that the Norwegian film "The Polar Bear King" inspired this game, the resemblance is superficial. High 5 Games could easily point to other stories, such as the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about the Snow Queen, as inspirations for their theme.
The game was the first to combine tumbling reels with split symbols together. Tumbling reels, sometimes called avalanches by other game makers, remove tiles that form winning combinations and then drop new tiles down from the top of the screen. New winning combinations may be formed, or scatter symbols may appear and trigger a bonus game.
Split tiles count as two even though they take up only one position on a reel or pay line. The combination of these two innovative features creates and maintains an air of expectation even though game play itself is simple and straight-forward. It's no wonder this game is so popular with many players.
The game uses a rich arcade-style soundtrack that is almost distracting because of the intricate melodies and ambient sounds that are skillfully interwoven into the theme. There is a magical, wintery feel to the music that sets the mood better than any of the graphics.
High 5 Games promotes Crystal Kingdom for land-based, online, mobile, and RMG Online casinos.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
The Crystal Kingdom is a 5-reel, 3-row video slot game with 40 pay lines. There are three high-value tiles (the Queen, the Prince, and the Polar Bear) which have special rules.
According to the help screen, the single Queen and single Polar Bear tiles only appear on reels and 4. The single Prince tile only appears on reels 2 and 5. Double character tiles may appear on any of the 5 reels. The pay table help screen does not explicitly state that the double tiles can appear on all 5 reels but you'll see this happen frequently in game play.
It is possible to get up to 10-of-a-kind for any of the three high-value symbols. To do that you need a double tile to appear on a pay line on reels 1 and 5.
That is because the Wild symbol, the game's logo, substitutes for double tiles rather than the single tiles. However, the Wild symbol only appears on reels 2, 3, and 4.
Hence, you might get a double Queen, Wild, Wild, Double Queen, and Wild combination on a pay line, thus awarding a 10X bet (on that pay line) prize.
The Wild symbol substitutes for all others except the scatter. The Wild always counts as a double tile for any high-value symbol it replaces in a winning combination.
The scatter symbol is a Free Games tile.
When you start the game the default settings are 40 active pay lines and a bet of 0.01 per line. Of course, if you just walk up to a machine someone else was playing in a land-based casino the settings could be on any value.
You can change the number of active pay lines by tapping on the up and down arrows next to the pay lines control. You have five options:
- 1 pay line
- 10 pay lines
- 20 pay lines
- 30 pay lines
- All 40 pay lines
The Bet-per-line control works the same way. You choose from 0.01, 0.05, 0.10, 0.25, 1.00, 2.00, 5.00, and 10.00. If you are feeling really lucky or can afford to risk losing a lot of money, the maximum bet is $400 per spin (40 pay lines times 10 dollars).
The amount of your total current bet is displayed to the right of the Bet-per-line control.
Your last win and available credits appear in a window between the betting controls and the game controls. The game controls consist of three options: Replay, Help (a question mark), and toggling sound on and off (a speaker icon that indicates whether the sound is on).
The Replay button is a nice touch that High 5 Games includes in all its slots games. You can watch your last spin over and over, which is a neat way of letting everyone around you know you just had a Big Win.
Auto Play offers five choices:
- 5 spins
- 10 spins
- 15 spins
- 20 spins
- 25 spins
You can stop the auto spinning at any time.
Every time a winning combination appears the music becomes dramatic and exciting. The winning tiles light up and then vanish with a magical flair. Although this is an interesting effect you can cut the animation time by clicking on the Spin button again. The tumbling still happens as it normally would so you are not accidentally losing out on any possible additional wins.
All prizes are awarded from left to right.
Triggering the Bonus Round
When 3 Free Games tiles appear anywhere on the screen the bonus game begins. The Free Games bonus feature may award you 6 or more free spins. This can also be tweaked as the official rules say 6 to 16 games but on some machines it's possible to win 20 free spins.
The following changes take place during the bonus round.
- Extra Wild Symbols
During the Free Games feature the scatter symbol is replaced by a special Wild symbol, so you have two Wilds but no chance of retriggering the bonus.
The soundtrack changes to a heart-pounding, exciting fully orchestrated choral piece. It's almost like listening to a Christmas choir singing up an enchanted storm as a holiday show.
The backdrop also changes to a lighter blue depiction of ice. The effect seems to imply that you have entered the Queen's magical crystal palace and come to the heart of her realm, where everything is happening.
Despite the confusion that may arise from the incomplete explanations in the pay table help screens of how the high-value tiles work, after a few spins you'll see that the tiles do behave consistently. You can win a prize with only 2 tiles on a pay line provided at least one of them is a Wild or a double.
The tumbling rolls feature is really nice because you can keep winning several times in a row. It almost feels like a free game bonus, although it's not.
The ambient sound effects are interesting. You can hear a polar bear growl in the background if a Polar Bear prize is awarded. When a Prince prize is awarded you can listen to an extravagant keyboard solo on both piano and organ. The riffs are very reminiscent of a Rick Wakeman solo on a Classic Yes song.
Even the low-value tiles have their own riffs and they depart from the screen after their winning combinations with a stylish magical twinkle.
In other words, instead of having the characters briefly come to life and change posture, as many other slots games do, Crystal Kingdom clears the board with a magical arcade of glittering crystal borders, ringing bells, blaring horns, and flashy sparkle effects.
This game's subtlety may be lost on some players, especially when compared to more modern games that feature characters running or swooping across the screen, intermission videos, and complicated back stories.
High 5 Games creates the basic casino experience, which works well in a large area filled with hundreds of machines ringing, singing, and orchestrating all around you. The nice touch with Crystal Kingdom is that you still get something of that effect even while playing by yourself on a computer. They bring the arcade lights and sounds into your living room.