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The Crystal Forest is waiting for any players brave enough to step inside the beautiful and enchanted landscape for a shot at magical payouts. Williams Interactive’s classic machine is ready for primetime again thanks to an HD rework. The sparkling symbols and dreamlike atmosphere hide some fun features, such as cascading reels and lots of free spins. This fast and relaxing slot machine is a nice option for players looking for a change of pace, but a few lingering problems keep it from being truly enchanting.
Overall Impression Of Crystal Forest
Williams Interactive has done a lovely job with the visual design. The entire game commits to the fairy theme. A blue forest in twilight lighting provides the background, and the reels are all lined with shining crystals. There are no generic symbols to be found in Crystal Forest either, with each space filled with fairy-inspired imagery. There are wreaths, bottles of fireflies, lanterns, wands, toadstools, flowers, rabbits, ladybugs, unicorns, butterflies and lovely fairies. Each symbol is very highly detailed with an almost picture-like quality, and the game makes good use of a shining glitter effect to add a little glow. There’s also a nice transition animation with a growing crystal that triggers for players lucky enough to go to the free spin bonus round.
Unfortunately, once players are past the graphics they may be a little disappointed. The sound design is fairly lacking. There’s no background music during the main game, and the bonus round only has a soft repeating chime song. The reels only make a slight wind chime effect as they fall into place. The “big win” celebration just uses generic music too. It does contribute to a zen-style game that’s fairly relaxing, but a little more work for themed music would have been nice.
Crystal Forest uses 5 reels and 3 rows for the basic game. There are 25 paylines available, and players have to play all 25 for each spin. All of the paylines are fairly standard and flow from left-to-right, and they all require at least 3 matching symbols in a line to trigger. There are wild symbols available that can fill in for any symbol in the game. The wild spaces can only appear on reels 2 to 5, but they generally come in stacked.
The stacked wilds are particularly nice thanks to the biggest feature of the basic game. Each regular spin uses cascading reels. After the symbols settle, any winning paylines pay out and then any symbols that were an active part disappear. The symbols above then cascade down, with new symbols falling in to fill the top row. Any new wins are paid out and then they too will disappear. This process repeats until no more wins trigger. Note that since the wilds are often stacked, clearing a wild space can result in more wild symbols falling in to keep the lucky streak going.
Crystal Forest is a nice, relaxing game that features a mix of ups and downs. Obviously, the cascading reels are the heart of the game. They’re the main way to get big wins, and they tie directly into the bonus game. It’s not uncommon for a series of losing spins to quickly flash by, but the machine is usually ready to stack up a few cascading wins to heal the bankroll. The payouts aren’t too bad, considering that a boring 3-of-a-kind payout can still clear the reels for more wins. One nice feature is that the higher paying picture symbols can all match with one another since the game just uses a “mixed” rule for them. This can make it a little easier to see the higher payouts. There is a jackpot of 750x the line bet available for anyone who gets 5 crystal jackpot symbols in a row.
The Free Spins Feature
While Crystal Forest doesn’t have a true bonus game, it does offer some nice free spins. When the cascading reels feature triggers, it starts a little counter on the left side of the reels. Every time the reels cascade, no matter how small the win was that triggered it, another crystal is added to the chain. Players who get at least 4 cascading wins will earn 7 free spins. This number keeps climbing with each cascade with 10, 15, 25 and even 50 free spins available for players with respectively 5, 6, 7 and 8 cascades.
During the free spins feature, the cascading reels are still active and they can still award new free spins. Once the player is out of free spins, the winnings are paid out and the game resumes. Note that while hitting at least 4 cascading reels is the normal way to trigger the game, lucky players have a small chance of simply earning 7 free spins as a consolation prize on losing spins.
Crystal Forest is a fine slot machine for players looking for a relaxing session on a pretty machine. It’s not perfect, but other than the poor sound design there’s not much to say that’s really negative. It’s a simple slot machine with lovely graphics and a few fun game mechanics. The cascading reels are nice to watch and it’s a fun way to watch winnings stack. The 96% RTP is also perfectly fine. Some players may be disappointed that there aren’t more interesting bonus features or games, but it’s just not that type of slot machine.