Almost three months have passed since we last heard from Thunderkick, which seems like an eternity in a field as cutthroat as this one. Thunderkick, on the other hand, closes shop and walks to the beach while the rest of the gang scrapes by in the snake pit. It’s really novel and brave, however Thunderkick’s status as a leading supplier has never been in jeopardy since, after all, they have a treasure trove of timeless works at their disposal. Above all, though, it’s a mañana-mentality that our fast-paced and stressed out world could learn a lot from.
Thankfully, Thunderkick’s long-awaited release Riders of the Storm lives up to the hype, as is evident from the moment you’re welcomed with the breathtaking opening sequence. The game offers you a sensation of “the calm before the storm” with its reverberating thunder-strikes and a fairly dramatic song playing on loop. Mechanically, it employs a 5×3 reel grid and 243 ways to win, so you won’t have to worry about keeping track of individual paylines. The plot revolves on three protagonists who go on a perilous adventure far above the Earth and has a steampunk vibe. You may pay anything from 10 cents to 100 euro or dollar every spin to ride the Flying Dutchman.
Riders of the Storm has some of the best visuals of any game out there, thanks to its fluid animations and intricate design. Playing cards from 10 to A, spear-hooks, anchors, and ship wheels are all represented on the reels, which are placed against a dramatic storm backdrop and illuminated by lamps at each corner. Next come the three major players: the patriarchal captain, the huntress, and the mechanical engineer. The latter offers the highest payout, 15 times the initial bet for a flush or better. There’s also the wild, which leads us into the following section…
The Crystal Ball Wild symbol has additional functions beyond its regular role of replacing for other symbols. It is possible for it to show up in the main game with a multiplier of 2x. In addition, the base game has a Mystery Wild Reels feature that can turn up to four reels into completely stacked wilds on any given spin. It’s essentially similar to the wild storm feature in Microgaming’s classic slot machine Thunderstorm, although with less potential payoff.
Keep an eye out for the compass scatter; landing 3, 4, or 5 of them anywhere in view awards 2, 20, or 200 times your total wager and launches you into the Free Spins bonus round. There are four different bonus options from which to chose before you even begin. What you get is as follows:
The Mechanical Engineer has the lowest volatility (96.14 percent RTP) and offers the most free spins (15 with an x2 walking wild) of the available options.
The Huntress is a medium-variance game (96.15% RTP) that features a free-spins round kicked off by an x3 walking wild.
The Patriarch Captain has the highest volatility (96.14%) and most potential (six free spins with a walking wild multiplier to start).
The Mystery Option can award you with anywhere from 6 to 15 free games and a walking wild multiplier of 2 to 5 (96.14% RTP).
While the high volatility option only offers 6 free spins, this bonus round may last quite a while thanks to the possibility of landing walking wild multipliers on consecutive respins. Moreover, it’s also rather retrigger friendly, offering you a chance to land up to three retriggers and up to 33 extra spins in total.
Thunderkick: The verdict on “Riders of the Storm”
We have to admit that Thunderkick hit a home run with Riders of the Storm. The game’s big ambiance is bolstered by both an ethereal tune and stunning images, making for a really unique audiovisual experience. While it may not be the most original game and relies heavily on rehashed elements (albeit with improvements), it is nonetheless enjoyable and exciting to play.
I must issue a caution. The frequency of bonuses looks to be minimal, so be ready for extended dry spells. It doesn’t ever get old, however, as you have the randomly triggered Mystery Wild Reels feature to keep your session super-charged. If the bonus is activated, things can become even more thrilling, with a potential payout of up to 26,426 times the initial wager. Despite the low odds, we were able to win more than a thousand times our bet on the first try (using the six free spins option), which naturally improved our impression of the game.