Barcrest has gifted the Bejeweled-loving demographic of international slot players with Crown Jewels. Stacks of multicolored gems bounce and clink down together in lieu of a “spin” then continue to drop as winning combinations are zapped away. There are no scatters, jackpots or feature games but the Cascade feature brings in plenty of excitement on its own. There’s a dated simplicity to the graphics, but scads of replay value. Crown Jewels can be played for real money or tested out in a free mode on desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
Crown Jewels is technically a 5×3 slot. In lieu of reels, the game utilizes stacks, of which there are five. Gems plop into these stacks forming three rows, with a fourth row teasing at the top. In these stacks and rows are ten paylines always in play.
Beneath the stones are the gameplay buttons and fields. Bets can be set using “Stake/Line”. That quantity is multiplied by the 10 lines to account for the total bet. A green “Start” jewel triggers individual plays, while the red “Autoplay” gem starts up to 25 spins, or drops. The blue “Paytable” stone leads to the game’s information screens.
Wins are paid when three or more consecutive matching symbols align along a payline, from left to right, starting from the first stack.
The “crown jewels” from the title make up most of the game’s symbols. These symbols and their payouts are:
The Crown Jewels icon also serves as a wild card, standing in for any symbol on a winning payline.
The payouts detailed above are quite small for the most part. Anything lower than 10x is less than the total bet. Though wins are high in number — 58% of 300 test drops/spins — that doesn’t make up for the potential losses. But the Cascade feature does.
Every time a drop results in a winning combination, those matching symbols are zapped away to the gemstone afterlife. All the stones above them drop down to fill the empty spaces. This creates new jewel lines, and more potential wins. After each successive winning line, the total payout multiplier increases. The first win that starts the Cascade is 1x, the next win is 2x, the next 3x, etc. The gems keep dropping and zapping until there are no winning lines or the multiplier has reached 10x. As a result, this feature offers very good potential payouts.
Though each element in Crown Jewels is explained in the information screens, the player learns best about its features by just playing. Every win is well detailed as it happens, alleviating confusion about each clatter of cascading stones. And though there are technically no free spins, good cascades do them one better with the win multipliers.
Though the graphics aren’t as shiny and 3D as many new slots, and the music is no great shakes either, one may take pleasure in the small clinks and bursts of every winning stone. Or one can mute the sound and enjoy the visuals of a continuing cascade, one of the more thrilling slot experiences around.
Because Crown Jewels is easy to learn, casual gamers should take to it quickly. Meanwhile, experienced players who look past the absence of routine slot features will have a blast when a big cascade begins.