Pragmatic Play are one of the providers that have utilised the Megaways mechanic first made popular by Big Time Gaming the most, with a host of games available within their catalogue. This year, we're going deep underground into their newest release, however instead of dark, dusty themes the team are showing us their usual opulence in Crystal Cavern Megaways – packed with incrementing multipliers, stacked wilds and a free spins round. With wins available up to 10,000x bet, let's take a look at what this highly (5/5) volatile release can do, topped off with a default RTP of 96.46%.
Visually, things have a dusty blue tinge to them, with nicely embossed reel positions, bright symbols and luxurious gems available on the reels. In the background we can see the crystal cavern itself, lined with stalactites and stalagmites alike shining brightly, twinkling as light streams in from above. Audios are almost quite fantasy-like, coming together to form something nice to look at, but that probably won't stick in your mind once you're finished.
Crystal Cavern Megaways Base Features
Taking place across 6 reels with a top reel across reels 2-5, wins are formed on Crystal Cavern Megaways by matching at least 3 symbols in any position on adjacent reels, beginning at the leftmost reel. With up to 7 symbols available on reels 1 and 6, and up to 8 symbols available on reels 2-5, there is a potential for up to 200,704 ways to win. Symbols available begin at the lower end, with 10, J, Q, K and A, rewarding players with wins between 0.2 and 0.3x bet for 3 of a kind matches, increasing to values between 0.5 and 1x bet for 6 of a kind matches. At the premium end 5 gems are on offer, beginning with pink and green, awarding players with wins between 0.4 and 0.5x bet for 3 of kind matches, increasing to wins between 1.5 and 2x bet for 6 of a kind matches. Next up it's purple and blue, with values between 0.6 and 0.7x bet on offer for 3 of a kind wins, up to wins between 2.5 and 5x bet for 6 of a kind matches. At the very top end it's red gems embellished on an ornate golden plaque, paying 1x bet for 3 of kind matches. Land 6 of a kind of this top symbol to see wins of 25x bet. Finally, wilds can land on reels 2-6, on regular reels or the top reel, and substitute for all symbols except Pearl Scatters.
There's a few different things happening to keep the base game exciting on Crystal Cavern Megaways. First it's Tumbles, wherein every symbol involved in a win is removed from the reels. Once symbols are removed, new symbols will drop down into their place for the chance to form additional wins. If symbols along the top reel are involved in a win and removed, remaining symbols will move in from the right hand side. New symbols landing during Tumbles will be the same size as those they replace, so ways to win will not change. Tumbles will continue until no more wins can be formed.
Working hand in hand with Tumbles is an Incrementing Multiplier. Each time a tumble happens in the base game, the multiplier will increment by +1. The multiplier is then applied to any subsequent tumbles, and will always reset to x1 when all tumbles have finished and no more wins can be formed.
Alongside this, we have Expanding Wilds. Whenever a wild symbol lands on reels 1-6 in the base game, it will expand vertically to fill the entire reel, with the number of wilds determined by the number of symbols that were on the reel before expansion. Wilds which land along the top reel will not expand.
Crystal Cavern Megaways Bonus
Land 4, 5 or 6 Scatters to trigger 12, 16 or 20 free spins with trigger values of 5, 10 and 100x bet, respectively. During free spins, things continue much the same way as the base game, with Tumbles, Expanding Wilds and Incrementing Multipliers, however during free spins multipliers are not reset at the beginning of each spin, and rather remain until the feature has finished.
An additional +5 free spins are awarded if 3 Scatters land in view during free spins.
Players in appropriate regions can skip straight to the bonus round with the feature buy option, for a cost of 80x bet. Once the feature has been purchased, at least 4 Scatters are guaranteed to land.
The maximum win available is 10,000x bet. If a single game round or feature exceeds 10,o00x bet, the round will be finished and 10,000x bet will be awarded.
Crystal Cavern Megaways isn't really bringing us anything we haven't seen before. Although the idea of expanding wilds and incrementing multipliers in the base game feels quite different, the actual core features are not new – we have seen them time and time again in other Megaways editions, even from the team at Pragmatic themselves.
That said, whilst not being groundbreaking these features make for a nice playing experience, particularly during the base game as we see here. An incrementing multiplier and expanding wilds are nearly everything we could want from a Megaways, so this ticks most of the boxes, in spite of not being innovating. Not every new release needs to be new or shocking to hit the right note – sometimes using popular features, and using them well, creates a game that is more than enough to garner some love from players – just maybe not the most established of them.
On the statistical side, default RTP is fair at 96.46%, and although other settings are available the lowest is still 94.38%, so not the lowest we have seen – although players are encouraged to check their casino before playing. Volatility is high at 5/5 and hit frequency is as follows:
- Free game hit frequency: 1 in 420
- Win>1000x hit frequency: 1 in 48,167
- Max win hit frequency: 1 in 3,039,514
Add on top the feature buy costing a lower-than-average value of 80x, and a decent maximum win frequency, and Crystal Cavern Megaways has all the makings of a solid, well rounded release. Although it might not have something major to draw you in, it's earned the right to be given a chance.
*The screenshots taken of games reviewed on this site are taken from Demo Play, as reviews are often written before games are released for real play.