Arcane Gems: Overview
Swedish developer Quickspin takes a walk on the enigmatic side in their jewel filled slot Arcane Gems, giving players the chance to ‘go hunting for some bling’. It’s an interesting choice of words since the style doesn’t automatically bring the word ‘bling’ to mind. Instead, Arcane Gems conjures up images of an older, golden age of adventure and exploration. The game is an unusual mix of modern features and restraint since there aren’t a lot of extras driving the action. The final product ends up being an odd blend that hits in some ways, misses in others.
The first impression is slightly underwhelming at first. We’ve come to expect visual stunners from this developer, but Arcane Germs is not Quickspin’s finest looking slot. It isn’t ugly; it’s just a little rough around the edges. The graphics have a grainy look to them with jagged edges, not the usual high-def standard you usually get from the Quickspin team.
Nonetheless, the first person view is interesting; as if a player has found an unusual box and placed it on their desk for further investigation. There is a bit of speculation about the theme here, but evidence of exploration comes from the maps, sextant, and strange miscellaneous coins littering the screen. The music adds further depth with a reverbed piano plinking away in an attic feel to it. In some ways, the sounds outshine the graphics with the extra dash of atmosphere they provide. The overall effect creates a level of mystery that makes firing up the game an intriguing prospect.
The box’s lid has been lifted back to reveal a standard 5-reel, 3-row grid with a row of deep blue ‘Xs’ along the top of the reels. How the puzzle is solved, and the bling awarded, is by landing combinations of 3, 4, or 5 of a kind. Interestingly, these combinations do not have to line up from the first reel, as is usually the case. As long as they are adjacent on one of the 9 paylines, then any reel is fine. This is particularly useful since there is no wild symbol helping pull together more combinations.
Gems in the title means plenty of them on the paytable, where each of the regular symbols is a shiny stone. The low wins are jewels shaped into card suits – spades, diamonds, clubs, and hearts. The high pays are a bunch of miscellaneous gems of various colours such as green, yellow, red, pink, with a blue diamond the most valuable of them all. Rewards range from 0.8x-1.4x for a line of low pay symbols to x4-x25 for five premium symbols.
Let’s cross off a few technical details before tackling the limited list of features. First is stakes, which players can select from the low roller friendly cost of 10 p/c up to £/€50 per spin for those with higher betting requirements. No problem with the RTP which has been rated 96.05% with the bulk of it allocated to respins. The math model runs on medium+ volatility rated at 3.5/5 by the developers.
Arcane Gems: Features
Arcane Gems is not huge on features with just two to be aware of. First up is the Arcane Lock Mechanics that are triggered by landing any winning combination. This feature locks the highest paying symbol in place while paying out any other winning combinations in view immediately. Then, a respin is awarded with the winning symbols locked in place. If more of the same symbol type land, then another respin is awarded. Respins continue until no more winning symbols appear, then the total win is paid out so the next new spin can take place.
Should a full reel get filled with locked symbols then the Arcane Multipliers feature kicks in. When this happens, the blue ‘X’ above the reel changes to a random multiplier from 2 to 5. This can occur to more than one reel at the same time. When it does, all of the multipliers are summed up and applied to the win. Should all 5 reels become stacked with locked symbols, then the multiplier can get as high as x25 for best results.
Arcane Gems: Verdict
Arcane Gems was a tricky slot to review. There is nothing that instantly stands out as is usually the case with a Quickspin release. No blazing new feature, or riot of a theme to get its hooks in to capture your interest. It’s more subtle, less intricate than usual so it may take players longer to warm to its charms.
The hazy look doesn’t help, with a rushed feeling spilling into other aspects of the slot at times. Features are few, and the gameplay can get a little repetitive. Quickspin has done a similar thing with locking respins before in The Wild Chase: Tokyo Go, but that game also offered free spins to help round out the experience.
What Arcane Gems has to offer isn’t a total write off though if you’re into uncomplicated slots. Potentially, it is surprisingly good with payouts of up to 5,625 times the stake. Higher than you might expect at first, but that result is possible with a full grid of diamonds, and the Arcane Multipliers cranked up to x25. More realistically, however, you are best to expect wins of around 100-500x at best.
Players who like relatively basic games that keep the pace rolling might appreciate what Arcane Gems has to offer. Respins can get intense, since they can snowball into large combinations, with multipliers a nice cherry on top. Big wins can build up out of nowhere which keeps players guessing and helps make Arcane Gems a somewhat compelling game in spite of its shortcomings.