The Thunderkick studio is back to its creative best with the Arcader Slot game, a word that sounds like it should be a noun, but isn’t. We can forgive the dubious lingual origins of the title as the game seems to have arrived from outer space and is as playable as any of the Thunderkick greats…for there are many.
The trademark Thunderkick intro is back at the outset of this slot, with a brief highlight of the key game symbols followed by a track across an unknown moonscape to a great monolith – think 2001: A Space Odyssey – made up of five columns. The five columns are our five reels, which fire up in a Matrix-like system initialization accompanied by a robotic “Welcome Back”, until the reels are full of purposefully pixelated symbols that are at once ultra sci-fi and über retro.
The reels flash by to an electronic soundtrack that could be straight out of Tron, making me wonder if Thunderkick are going to release an album. As we land winning symbols across any of the 15 paylines the symbols flash and thud, like we are collecting mushrooms in Mario Bros. Every win causes our unseen robot friend to encourage us – “Great” and “Awesome”, she computes.
Thunderkick backs up the chic graphics and gameplay with some cool bonus features. The “W” symbol is Wild, which substitutes for all symbols except the “B” Bonus symbol, while the Expander is an Expanding Wild that can transform any non-winning line into a tractor-beam of space credits. Fortunately, we can use them on earth.
The main Bonus Game – 9 free spins with either a x1, x3 or x9 multiplier – is a sci- fi adventure in itself. Landing three or more “B” symbols launches the game, at which point our reels are zapped by “Incoming Wilds”, an out-of-space laser storm that randomly fix symbols as Wild symbols, ramping up the action and our winning potential.
The secondary bonus feature – the Mystery Bonus Game – is triggered by landing three or more “M” symbols. All the symbols across the reels are transformed into question marks, and we can collect Mystery wins relative to each symbol. Landing three, four or five “B”s will grant a a x1, x2 or x6 multiplier, but only until we hit a blank.
Arcader seamlessly melds sci-fi with retro, marrying classic gaming icons with modern graphics and sound to create a gaming experience that is as cool as it is playable. The use of simple, standard symbols actually fits well because of the highly stylized setting, almost as though Thunderkick are bringing retro gaming back to the future. Whatever they are doing, it works.