In a slot machine themed around the ever-popular legend of King Arthur, developer GamesLab exposes their Towering Pays gaming concept to the light of day. Towering Pays Excalibur, also from Yggdrasil Gaming, shares many of the same features and benefits as its predecessor, Towering Pays Valhalla, although having a different name. There are a lot of features to go over, and the company has tweaked some of them this time around. Let’s travel to happy olde England and try to get swords out of rocks.
At first glance, you may notice that the visuals are less ethereal and more grounded than those of Valhalla. A square, blocky, gray castle with a bridge across a river or moat stands in the background of the dynamic game screen, giving the impression of coldness. The grid starts off with 5 reels and 3 rows, but the Towering Pays feature allows it can grow to 8 rows high. When more rows are added, more paylines become available. When the grid is at its smallest, three rows high, 15 paylines run across the reels; at its maximum height, 65 paylines do so. In general, Excalibur is pleasing to the eye without being particularly stunning. To put it another way, it doesn’t exactly leave an indelible mark.
Towering Pays Excalibur, playable on any device, is a highly feature-packed, somewhat volatile slot machine. Bets in the base game range from 25 percent to £/€25 every spin, while activating the Quest Bet raises these limits to 40 percent to £/€40 per spin. When Quest Bet is engaged, players have a chance to unlock an extra Hold & Spin feature that is unavailable otherwise.
There are 10 normal pay symbols, and you win when you land at least three of them on one of the paylines running from the left side of the game panel. Prior to the wolves, horses, and four character high pays, the first four are low pay card suites that pay out between 0.6x and 0.8x the stake for five of a kind. If you get five of these non-card symbols, you win between 1 and 6 times your wager. The King Arthur wild may appear on any reel and replaces any other symbol to increase your chances of winning. Five wilds on a payline are worth 10 times your wager.
Slot Machines with Excalibur’s Sky-High Payouts
Even though many of the features are variations on the same theme, there is a mountain of them to review. You’ll discover the Hold & Spin feature, in addition to four other types of free spins, the Avalon bonus round, the Hold & Spin feature, Stage Play, and Prize Multipliers.
A Magical Excalibur
On reels one, two, and three during regular play and the Lancelot and Merlin bonus rounds, the Excalibur appears. In the Arthur and Camelot features, it can land on reels 1, 2, 3, or 4, and in the Camelot feature’s 5×8 game grid, it can land anywhere on the reels. When multiple Excalibur symbols drop on a reel, they all change to the same random symbol, covering all or part of the reel.
Excalibur triggers the next level of play, which includes an additional row and +10 paylines, whenever it appears in at least one spot on each reel that can contain one. After the Avalon segment concludes, the stage resets to a height of 8 rows, and the performance begins again.
Adder to Prizes
Any successful spin has a random chance of receiving a multiplier on its prize. The multiplier ranges from 2x to 10x depending on the number of active rows.
If there are Feature Wheel symbols on reels 1, 3, and 5, you’ll get to spin the Feature Wheel. When the wheel respins, players have a higher chance of winning a better feature if they have Wheel Upgrades, which boost their chances of winning the Hold & Spin, Win Spins, or one of the free spins rounds.
Wins during Lancelot or Merlin Free Spins may be multiplied by an additional amount. Excalibur occurs on reels 4 and 5 in the Camelot Free Spins bonus round when the grid is 8 rows high, and it can appear on reel 4 in the Arthur Free Spins bonus round as well. All of these specials launch on a 5×3 grid and provide you six free spins. If the Excalibur symbol appears on all five of the active reels, an additional free spin will be granted.
Spin to Win
During a Win Spin, Excalibur will expand to cover Reels 1, 2, and 3 of the active grid, leaving Reels 4 and 5 to spin normally. There is always a chance to win, and the grid size never grows.
Facet of Avalon
Excalibur appears on reels 1, 2, and 4 of the standard 5×8 grid to activate this feature. Players can activate the Quest Bet to spin the multi-level feature Wheel for the chance to win wheel upgrades, free spin bonuses, Win Spins, or the Hold & Spin feature.
Grab and Toss
If the Quest Bet feature is used, Excalibur may occasionally display shield symbols. The Hold & Spin function activates if at least six shields appear. Each additional shield above the first six will result in an additional row, up to a maximum of eight. All triggering shields remain in place for 3 respins after being activated. During this feature, only shields can land, and doing so will reset your respin count. Rewards indicated by the locked shield symbols are given out at the round’s conclusion. When the Hold & Spin round concludes, a Feature Wheel is given if the shield symbols during it showed one. If you manage to place a shield on every square, you’ll receive a payment of 1,000 times your wager in addition to any additional rewards.
Incentives to Purchase
The final choice is the purchase feature button, which offers two alternatives. Players can spin for Wheel Upgrades, Win Spins, or Lancelot Spins at 50x the stake, or for 80x the bet, they can spin for Merlin Spins in addition to the other two.
Slot Game with Excalibur’s Sky-High Payoffs
Gameslab has followed up Valhalla Towering Pays with a game that is even more intricate and resembles a Gordian Knot. It’s complex, with parts that activate here, extend there, trigger there, and so on. It may be fun for fast-paced games, but generally it appears overstuffed with unnecessary features.
One of the problems is the proliferation of features with the same name that all accomplish the same thing. At first glance, Towering Pays Excalibur appears to be a full-on feature extravaganza after scrolling through the paytable and quickly scanning the headlines. When you get down to the nitty-gritty, you’ll notice that many of the extras are redundant, and you could have been better off with just one or two excellent additions. Some gamers may find the bonuses more satisfying as they become increasingly difficult to get.
Another issue is that the paylines tend to get left behind as the grid expands. There is a lot of stacked symbol activity, but there are also odd scenarios when the entire 5×8 grid is in play with many identical symbols, but only one winning line. Perhaps Excalibur would have been more successful if its multitude of comparable extras had been pared down and replaced with something more simple. Simply a suggestion. Though, then Towering Pays Excalibur might not serve its intended purpose as a feature-fest on a lively set of reels.
Towering Pays Excalibur has so many moving pieces that it may become difficult to keep track of which ones have been used previously and which ones haven’t. It’s not so much an improvement over the original as it is merely additional intricacy with an Arthurian twist.