Blueprint Gaming is known for taking an existing concept and completely overhauling it. Games like Deal or No Deal have spawned a plethora of spinoffs, such as the ‘Eye of’ series. The logic seems to be that if something is successful now, maybe making adjustment ‘X’ would make it even more successful. Endless variety is a boon to players, and the studio even produces a few gems now and again.
The Crypt of the Dead slot machine is the latest in a long line of ‘book of’ themed games that first appeared many eons ago and show no signs of stopping. It appears that the main need for justifying a new book slot is that it offers a unique twist, either in terms of features or themes. The latter is represented by Crypt of the Dead, which takes place in a tomb and features recognizable Egyptian elements like cat sculptures and hieroglyphics on the walls and columns. There’s a gaming grid in the middle of the room with six reels and four rows, which isn’t something you see very frequently in a book game. The fact that the mathematicians at Blueprint have figured out how to implement a pay scheme that offers 4,096 possibilities to win is even more fascinating. This is drastically different from the standard 10 fixed paylines found in most of these games.
As you might expect, there is a cost to having so many potential payoffs available, and that cost is a decline in symbol value. The eleven icons on the reels include ten standard pay symbols and one that acts as both a wild and a scatter. The low cards include a variety of Egyptian gods and kings, including Horus, Anubis, the Pharaoh, and the Indiana Jones-inspired explorer wannabe emblem with a floppy hat. The reward for a full house consisting of image premiums ranges from 1.5 times the bet to 10 times the stake. Expanding symbols on all those ways may not seem like much, but they add up quickly.
Crypt of the Dead may be explored on any device, and stakes of 10 p/c to £/€5 are allowed. The return to player (RTP) is extremely variable, with two possible values (95.49% by default and 96% with the bonus purchase activated). The purchase feature is typical of this type of game, as are growing special symbols during free spins.
Slot Features from the Crypt of the Dead
A tomb/logo stands in for the book icon, representing anarchy and dispersal. When this symbol appears on any reel, it acts as a wild, replacing any other symbol to create a winning one. Free games are triggered when the scatter symbol appears in sets of 3, 4, 5, or 6. Free games can be re-triggered if three or more Scatters appear on the reels, allowing for a longer bonus round.
One of the pay symbols is chosen at random to be the expanding symbol before the free spins begin. Any reel with a golden backdrop will display this particular symbol. If the special symbols can create a win after the spin has finished and conventional wins have been given, they will grow to fill the whole corresponding reel. These complete reel symbols pay in any position on the reels, regardless of whether or not they are adjacent to one another.
During free spins, players have a better chance of hitting a huge full-screen win thanks to growing symbols, so those looking for a shortcut may choose to use the Bonus Bet function. Where such bonuses are allowed, a wager of 100x the bet ensures that the following spin will produce at least three Scatter symbols, so activating the bonus round. The bonus round can get off to a good start with a win on the spin that activates it.
Judgment in the Slot Machine Graveyard
Although there are more reels, rows, and pay-ways, the overall effect is often subtle. For example, the base game provides much the same experience as before: passing the time while hoping for free spins to activate. Not that we’re trying to diminish your appreciation for Crypt of the Dead or anything. It has a nice appearance, operates well, and immediately provides a sense of surprise with its six spinning reels. Crypt of the Dead’s unique features may not be immediately apparent, since the game first appears to be no different from fifty other book games.
During the bonus spins, the player’s perspective shifted. Crypt of the Dead seemed to be holding back until the bonus round, when it finally let loose. Here is where your unique symbols grow to reveal your additional win methods. When three of the four unique symbols appear, the monetary differences are sometimes not all that evident. After that point, the sums add up at an exponential rate. Five Explorers, for instance, are valued about 3,000 times less than five are in games like Book of Dead. In contrast to other games in similar genre, the payout for a winning line of six is 40,960 times the wager. With just that one spin, you’re dangerously close to exceeding Blueprint Gaming’s usual win ceiling of 50,000x, or £250,000.
The significantly enlarged grid in Crypt of the Dead may not seem like a game-changer at lower levels, but it can get nuts when cranked up at higher levels. If you’re a fan of Ra or just curious to see what happens when growing symbols have more area to work with, give this game a try.