This month saw the release of Blood & Shadow, the latest from the creative edgelords at Nolimit City, a provider whose boundary-pushing, high-volatility games we're always excited to take a look at.
To mark the occasion, we're exploring Blood & Shadow and a few other games from our library that share the themes of gore and darkness. So grab your torch and muster your courage as we journey into a dark and mysterious lineup of slots.
Blood & Shadow
A spiritual successor to their earlier Book of Shadows, the comparison shows how Nolimit City have refined their dark craft in the last few years with a slicker, more mature art style, and a richer atmosphere, provided by the grainy ruined chapel backdrop, haunting soundtrack, and brilliant audio design where symbols land with a sound like unexpected footsteps echoing in the darkness. The game even has, aptly enough, a top payout of x6,666 the bet.
Blood & Shadow centres around a dark ritual, with low-paying symbols being arcane sigils and high-paying symbols being creatures associated with dark magic: snakes, wolves, ravens and so on. The symbols cascade, disappearing when they form a win and allowing more to fall into place.
The game's key mechanic, the "Ritual Bar", sits below the grid, and fills by one point for each low-paying symbol, two points for each high-paying symbol, and ten points for each scatter - a heart that is crushed by symbols landing above it, sending a stream of blood pouring into the bar. Filling the bar by a certain number of points increases your level, removing low-payers, upgrading mediums, introducing sticky wilds, and granting "Candle Spins" (free respins) and eventually "Cursed Spins". The number of points required to make it through each level and the additional rewards for doing so are listed below:
- Level One: 20 points (+2 Candle Spins)
- Level Two: 30 points (+2 Candle Spins)
- Level Three: 40 points (+2 Candle Spins)
- Level Four: 60 points (+2 Candle Spins)
- Level Five: 80 points (Activates "Cursed Spins")
The final level also triggers "Cursed Spins", where the grid expands to 5x5, creating 3,125 ways to win, only high-paying symbols are in play and +6 respins are granted, in addition to any amount you had remaining. At this level, scatter symbols simply add +1 respins -as the "Ritual Bar" will have disappeared at this point - and xSplit symbols may also occur, doubling the value of either a reel or row of symbols when they land.
Blood Moon Wilds
A shade less dark, Blood Moon Wilds is a werewolf-themed title that transports us to Victorian-era Louisiana, specifically the foggy grounds of a moonlight-drenched mansion. The moon is imperative here, with part of a revolving wheel, displaying phases of the lunar cycle, peaking above the grid. If this wheel lands on a full moon, all characters in the picture symbols transform into werewolves (the game's wilds).
A number of perks can be handed out randomly on any spin. These include: win multipliers of x2, x3, x4 or, x5, the transformation of high-paying symbols into wilds, as well as helpful nudges to land you those all important full moons and free spins rounds.
Three or more scatter symbols award at least seven free spins, up to a maximum of twelve for five scatters. More free spins can be won during the bonus round, including +2 spins for just two scatters and even 20 spins for six, opportunities exclusive to the feature. The bonus feature also sees the addition of the "Blood Moon" to the game's lunar calendar, this time transforming picture symbols into sticky wilds that remain in play for the duration of the feature.
Time for some visually lighter fare from Red Tiger Gaming as we move from the supernatural to the conspiratorial in this surprisingly breezy take on the Illuminati. The visual presentation is very Dan Brown, with perhaps a hint of Eyes Wide Shut in the Venetian masks being worn.
Shadow Society begins on a 3x3 grid, and while wins can start coming thick and fast, the "Progress Bar" is key to unlocking the greater potential on offer, giving credence to the game's motto of "Progress brings prosperity!". To unlock each of the game's progress rewards, five progress symbols are required. By the end of the process, the game will have expanded to a 5x5 grid with four high-paying symbols added to the mix. The rewards are as follows:
- Reward 1 – purple character symbol.
- Reward 2 – extra reel.
- Reward 3 – green character symbol.
- Reward 4 – extra row.
- Reward 5 – red character symbol.
- Reward 6 – additional reel.
- Reward 7 – gold character symbol (the highest value symbol).
- Reward 8 – extra row.
Throughout all this, three scatters award a round of ten free spins, which begin with a 1x multiplier in effect, increasing by +1 with each win. Three more scatters landing while the bonus feature is in play will top up your spins by +5.
Variety is the spice of the afterlife in Bloodthirst, a fiendish slot from Hacksaw Gaming, boasting ghouls, vampires, werewolves, and demons among the ranks of its high-paying symbols. Stacks of these are integral to the gameplay, with a full, reel-covering stack of four transforming into a Monster Reel and delivering payouts depending on the type of monster, as follows:
- Ghoul (green) - 5x bet
- Vampire (yellow) - 10x bet
- Werewolf (red) - 15x bet
- Demon (blue) 20x bet
Should five "Monster Reels" of the same type occur at once, then a "Monster Takeover" awards 100x the bet for Ghouls, 250x for Vampires, 1,000x for Werewolves, or 2,500x for Demons.
Two bonus features can be won. "Bloodthirst" free spins are triggered when three scatter symbols land, beginning a round of 10 free spins, during which the odds of getting "Monster Reels" are increased. The second bonus feature is "Immortal" free spins, where one of the symbols is randomly selected to be the main symbol for the feature, when a "Monster Reel" of that symbol lands, that reel is then "marked", meaning that after the initial winnings of each spin are collected, the same "Monster Reel" will return to that reel and pay out again.
There's also an "Upgrade" symbol, which will change the main symbol chosen for the feature to the next higher-paying symbol. So, if it were a Ghoul, it would become a Vampire, and so on. Any existing "marked" reels, will also be upgraded.