Crusader is a medieval battle-themed slot from Elk Studios which is set for release on 17th March 2020. Crusader takes its inspiration from the legendary Siege of Acre in 1291 which resulted in the Crusaders losing control of Acre, the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, to the Muslim Mamluks of Egypt.
Rated 8/10 for volatility by Elk, Crusader is played on a 5x4 reel set which expands up to 12x4 in the bonus game. This fluctuating board size offers between 26-98 paylines as well as an RTP of 96.1%.
The game comes benefits from a respin feature with wilds in the base game, although the big wins of up to 2,500x the bet are reserved for the free spins bonus round.
From 17/03/202 you can play Crusader from €0.20 to €100 a spin.
Design & Symbols
Elk has done a great job with the artwork for Crusader. The battleground scene is powerfully bleak, depicting a ravaged hilltop fortress at night leading down to the burning city below. The entire scene resembles a wartime watercolour painting. The gameboard is framed in gold, with gold and red decorated triangular edges above and below reels 1 and 5.
Low value symbols are the royal values Q, K, and A. Medium value symbols are green, blue and red shields. High value symbols are a dagger, a jewellery box, and a grail (perhaps the holy one?). The grail is the most rewarding symbol, awarding 10x the stake for 5 of a kind. The standard wild is the Crusader’s red cross on a gold background. Reels 1 and 5 are the home of the ‘Crusader Wild’ symbol which covers 4 symbols and can land as a fully wild reel. However, the Crusader Wild often only partially lands on the reel. The other features and benefits of the Crusader Wild are explored in more detail in the Special Features section.
- Crusader Wild Respins
- Free Spins Bonus Game
- Expansion Symbol
Crusader Wild Respins
A Crusader Wild landing partially on reel 1 or 5 nudges up one row at a time until it fills the reel. All other reels respin with each nudge.
Free Spins Bonus Game
Full Crusader Wilds on both reels 1 and 5 triggers 8 free spins. Although both Crusader Wilds might land fully on the same spin it is usually the case that free spins are triggered during Crusader Wild Respins. If a Crusader Wild nudges to full size when the other is still only partially full the full Crusader Wild remains sticky until the other nudges fully into view and the bonus round is triggered. During free spins full reel Crusader Wilds remain sticky on reels 1 and 5.
During free spins, an expansion symbol, represented by an upward-pointing red arrow, is in play on reels 2-4. An expansion symbol causes all 5 reels to expand by one row and awards an extra free spin. Reels expand to a maximum of 12 rows. Each new row also increases the number of paylines.
Our Thoughts on Crusader
Crusader is a competent release from Elk with some unique features and with reasonable potential. The game looks good, has a coherent narrative, and the bonus game can be highly enjoyable. The respin feature in the base game has a decent hit rate and often delivers several small to medium wins. The free spins round has the potential to deliver some excitement and decent wins, and the expansion symbol lands frequently enough to add enough spins to combat the lack of a retrigger possibility. However, Crusader isn’t going to set the world alight. Compared to Elk’s recent release Micro Knights or last year’s ‘Gold’ series of slots, Crusader isn’t on the same level. The hit rate isn’t too bad but getting to a place where a sizeable win is likely can be very tiresome. If there was a little more going on to compensate for the dry spells Crusader could improve from a passable game to a good game.