Time for a bit of sword and sandals action, folks, courtesy of Games Global associates Gold Coin Studios in an online slot titled Champions of Olympus. Students of mythology, Greek History, or keen online gamblers will no doubt have heard of Olympus before. Mt Olympus was the place where the Ancient Greek gods resided and where Zeus, the big boss of them all, had his throne. It’s a spot that gets a fair amount of air time in the slot world, fair dues, but let’s reserve judgement until we’ve seen what Champions of Olympus may or not be able to unleash.
The first impressions were surprisingly positive. Till now, for whatever reasons, Gold Coin Studios’ releases haven’t tended to blow our socks off, yet Champions of Olympus managed to start things off on a good footing. It looks nice, and the Ancient Greek world Gold Coin Studios has designed looks like an exceedingly pleasant place to plough some land, grow crops, build a home, raise offspring, and live the good life. Just about everything on screen has a mystical/mythical sheen to it that players keen on -inspired gaming should delight in. From the rural idyll of the base game, Champions of Olympus’ action moves upstairs to a more celestial realm for its Link&Win bonus round. Also an attractive spot as well.
Playable on any kind of device, Champions of Olympus takes bets of 20 p/c to 20£/€ per paid game round. Hitting spin drops 25 symbols onto a 5×5 aligned game board, which creates regular wins when 3 or more matching symbols land anywhere in a horizontal or vertical line. Winning clusters are removed from the reels by the Rolling Reels feature, letting new symbols drop down from above. If a new win is formed, then Rolling Reels triggers again. A highly volatile slot, Champions of Olympus is available in four RTP configurations, the highest being 96.07%, and at that level, a hit rate of 52.31% means players can look forward to more hits than misses, theoretically.
Big hit rate doesn’t necessarily translate to big returns, and landing a three-of-a-kind win awards 0.1x to 0.5x the bet, while a 5 symbol line pays 1x to 5x the bet. For the low pays, Champions of Olympus has four miscellaneous shapes, then four character/picture symbols as the highs. Wild symbols possess the greatest payout value of the lot, raking in 25x the bet for a five wild line win. In addition, wilds can substitute for any pay symbol, and each wild in view increases the value of the Multiplier Trail on the next roll. The trail is prominently displayed next to the reels making the current value clear.
Champions of Olympus: Slot Features
Tying in with regular wild symbols is the Zeus Lightning Wild symbol. Any Zeus Lightning Wilds in winning combinations award up to 4 extra wilds on the reels on the next roll. Added wilds can land on top of each other, and when this happens, a multiplier is applied to the respective wild. Multiplied Zeus Lightning Wilds award Multiplier Wilds. Also loosely related is the Power of Zeus feature. When this one triggers at random in the base game, 3 to 6 random low symbols are transformed into wilds.
When Zeus Lightning Wilds are used in a winning combination, they are collected. When 8 or more are collected like this, they trigger the Link&Win feature. Wild collections are saved at each bet level.
At the start of the feature, 3 random Link&Win symbols worth 1-3 times the bet are awarded, as well as 3 respins. Link&Win symbols are held on the reels, and landing new ones reset the respin count back to 3. The round ends when no more respins are left or when all positions on the grid are filled. Special symbols are also unlocked when certain numbers of Link&Win symbols are collected. These are:
Zeus symbols can appear on any spin awarding 5x the bet, and adding 5x to 2-5 random Link&Win symbols. Lastly, once the Link&Win feature has triggered organically once, players can then buy the bonus round if they so choose for the cost of 70 times the bet.
Champions of Olympus: Slot Verdict
To date, Champions of Olympus is about the most satisfying Gold Coin Studios that’s come our way. The studio didn’t exactly make much of a splash with early soporific releases like Aquatic Treasures and has struggled to raise much in the way of pulse rates since then. For Champions of Olympus, it feels like the team stepped everything up a notch to make a game which was as pleasing to look at as it was to review. It might not possess anything that kicks the concept of online gambling to a new paradigm, and its choice of subject matter hardly oozes originality. However, the team has done a solid job making the Ancient Greek theme sparkle, while the features department has come up with pretty nifty gameplay.
A theoretically high hit frequency provides an ability to keep the base game pace afloat, joined by the Moon Princess-style winning mechanic. It’s not totally the same as Moon Princess, though; Gold Coin Studios has forked away from Play’n GO’s classic by using the Zeus Lightning Wilds to spray regular wilds across the board rather than automatically add a wild in a gap before a Roll occurs. If you’re lucky, wilds will stack, thereby creating an extra multiplier value as well. The Link&Win feature isn’t bad either and isn’t as typical a hold ‘n win affair as was first suspected. For starters, it’s possible to unlock special symbols as the collecting progresses, and two, it comes with a fairly substantial top prize of 12,500x the bet.
There are hints here of other games, but for the most part, Champions of Olympus is its own slot. It could easily have been a lot more generic than it is, yet kudos to Gold Coin Studios for not falling into the trap of straight copying something else (despite whatever imitation remains) and making an effort to wrap the gaming ideas up in a pretty package.
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