Experience the elemental forces of the Fire Queen and the Ice King on the slot from Stormcraft Studios and powered by Microgaming. The eternal battle for possession of the Dragon Shard artefact will go down on a 5×5 grid with Mystery Symbols and Reels, Win Boosters and a free spins round that can lead to wins of up to 800x your bet in a single spin.
Will it finally be another blockbuster slot from Microgaming or just another one falling instantly into oblivion after its launch? It has become really hard to even remember when they released the last decent game. Especially since they outsourced the game development to a range of independent partner studios.
In this case, it is Stormcraft Studios who gave us such unplayable gems like Fortunium and surprise surprise, Dragon Shard looks like a 100% clone. Well, no surprise really because Microgaming is known for cloning its own slots ad absurdum, so why should partner studios be any different. We only have to look at JustForTheWin and its Shogun of Time and Reel Splitter slots as well as its other twin creations.
Dragon Shard is a video slot with five reels, five rows and 40 fixed pay lines. In default mode, wins are awarded from left to right only, while activating the Win Booster will change that to a pay-both-ways mechanic. You can enter the dragon kingdom on desktop, mobile and tablet from 0.05 to 200 credits per spin. And no, that is not a typo. You can spin this slot with 40 lines at 5 cents.
Going along with Fortunium, we are sure Dragon Shard has the same math model, putting it into the medium variance category with an RTP range from 96.37% to 96.47%, depending on whether you use the Win Booster.
The steampunk theme has been changed to a fantasy dragon kingdom reigned by the Fire Queen and the Ice King. Visually, Dragon Shard looks more refined and authentic than its sibling, although that should not be the deciding factor in judging a game.
The low-value card suits – clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades – have been left unchanged while at the high level they are now the Dragon Shard, the Ice Dragon, the Fire Dragon, the Ice King and the Fire Queen. All symbols appear double stacked except the Ice King and Fire Queen, which appear stacked five symbols high. They will award 8x your stake when five land on a pay line.
The Dragon Shard slot logo is the wild symbol, substituting for all regular pay symbols except scatters and paying 20x your stake for a five of a kind. A dragon eye is the scatter symbol with minimum three needed to trigger the free spins.
The Win Booster Feature
You might itch to spin the reels already but hold on for another few words. Before you do spin, you’ll have to decide whether you want to play the game in default mode or with the Win Booster feature activated. You will benefit from two extras when coughing up an additional 100% on top of the default bet. For example, betting one credit will increase to two when the feature is activated.
The first extra is the aforementioned pay-both-ways mechanic, meaning wins are paid from left to right and from right to left. The second and more significant change is that Mystery Symbols can only reveal high-value pay symbols.
The Mystery Symbol Feature
Mystery symbols can appear on all reels on any spin in the base game and free spins. They will reveal one common symbol once the reels have stopped, including the wild. However, they cannot turn into scatter symbols.
The Dragon Shard Free Spins Feature
Three or more dragon eye scatters anywhere on the reels in one spin will trigger 10 free spins. The main benefit in the bonus round are the Mystery Reels. Randomly appearing on reel two, three and four, they will contain only Mystery Symbols. Triggering the free spins with three, four or five scatters will give you 1, 2 and 3 Mystery Reels respectively. Any scatter landing during the feature will add +1 free spin.
Obviously, the most lucrative option is to trigger the feature with five scatters. All middle reels will turn into mystery reels, revealing on every free spin a common symbol across them, providing the best chance to hit the maximum win in one spin. For that, you will need stacked wilds on reels one and five on top of the mystery reels revealing as well the wild. The pay amounts to 800x your stake.
So Stormcraft Studios and Microgaming thought we could do with another snoozefest and went for a clone of the unsuccessful Fortunium slot. While Dragon Shard looks better, it can’t hide the mediocrity of the original. A 5×5 grid with just 40 pay lines will never be our favourite game format and we are pretty sure this slot will drop off the front pages of casino lobbies in no time after its launch.