Relax Gaming’s first video slot release of the new decade, ‘Snake Arena’ takes its inspiration from still enormously popular video game (or should I say ‘games’) featuring the slippery, slithering, pellet guzzling forest dweller. Since first appearing close to half a century ago in the 1976 arcade game ‘Blockade’ and then thrust firmly back into the hearts and minds of Nokia cell phone users from 1998, there have been literally hundreds of versions of Snake games and apps available. However, this is the first time the concept has been used in the video slot.
The action takes place in a courtyard within the confines of a Medieval castle. Played on a 5x5 reel set with 30 paylines, Snake Arena is highly volatile and has an RTP of 96.25%.
Big scores are likely in the free spins round where wins of up to 2,875x the stake are possible. However, it is also possible to win big during the base game via a random wild reels feature ‘Wild Chase’. There is also an option to buy straight into the free spins round (jurisdiction allowing).
You can play Snake Arena from 7th January 2020 and can be played from €0.10 to €100 a spin.
Design & Symbols
Snake Arena has a modern, blocky, cartoon design which is set within the walls of a Medieval castle, deep in a hidden forest surrounded by evergreen trees. The reels are comprised of stone paving slabs which make up the courtyard inside the castle. The player has an aerial view of proceedings. Fires burn brightly within the hexagonal turrets at the corners of the castle walls. The soundtrack which accompanies play is typical of the genre.
Low value symbols are silver, blue, bronze, and gold coins. High value symbols are a frothy, wooden tankard of ale, a big ham on the bone with a dagger through the centre, a golden ring with a dragon eye gem, and a bejewelled crown. The crown is the most valuable, with 5 across a payline worth 20x the bet size. The other two symbols are the knight and the dragon are both wild. The dragon only appear on reel 1 in the base game but can cover any amount of spaces. The knight can appear on any other reel, occupying just a standard symbol space. The knight and the dragon also appear together to activate both the base and bonus game features.
- Wild Chase
- Free Spins
Wild Chase occurs randomly during the base game. The snake peeks out from above a random reel and the Knight peeks out from below a random reel. If both the peek out from the same reel it becomes fully wild and the process repeats. If the snake and Knight don’t appear on the same reel after 3 attempts, then Wild Chase ends. It is possible to make all reels fully wild.
When a snake appears on reel 1 and a knight appears on any other reel the free spins feature is activated. There is no set number of free spins, the round end when the snake, which travels around the board in pursuit of the Knight, eventually crashes into itself. The format more or less follows that of the standard ‘Snake’ style game, although rather than swallowing dots on a Nokia 3310 this snake takes the shortest possible route (moving up and down and left to right) towards the Knight, which appears someone on reels 2-5 on each free spin. When the snake is within one space of the knight, its head and neck extend to goggle him up. Each extension of the neck makes the snake longer which makes it more likely to cross its own path. However, the longer the snake, the more wilds are on screen and as the spins rack up, so do the bigger wins. If the snake manages to grow to fill reels 2-5 without crashing into itself the 1,000x jackpot is awarded (along with any winnings made along the way), and the bonus round ends.
Our Thoughts on Snake Arena
I found Snake Arena to be an enjoyable game to play, although I’m not sure how much of this was due to a general fondness and sentimentality towards a game I spent countless hours playing in my youth. The base game, it has to be said, can get a little tedious. The wins aren’t terribly big, and the wait for the bonus game can be rather trying. With a 5x5 grid like this, I’m much more used to a cluster win mechanic, and the 30 paylines seemed a little dull. Also, I’m not sure a game with a maximum payout of less than 3,000 the bet size will attract too many high variance players these days? However, on the plus side, although the super-mega wins we’re used to seeing advertised aren’t on offer, most of the times I played the bonus round the wins were very pleasing indeed. The game is also very engaging and certainly can be a lot of fun.
This is a game which really suits the ‘buy a bonus’ feature and this may be where Relax is hoping to win over the serious players. We might say it a lot, but this really is game which is all about the bonus round, and a short-cut to it could be welcomed with open arms.