ELK Studios are taking us back to the 13th century, where civilization has only just begun to settle, and religion equates to political power. The crusaders (think of them as religious and political soldiers) have been called upon to put up one final front against the enemy.

Your job is to spin the 5 x 4 reels and hope that fate falls on their side. The game is equipped with suitably high volatility, a bet range that starts at 0.20 and climbs up to 100.00 per spin, and a series of potentially exciting special features. But does all this spell victory? Let’s find out.


  • The expanding reels create additional winways
  • Great design and original theme
  • The nudging symbol feature triggers often
  • Crusader slot game is available to players in Canada
  • The max payout won’t intrigue high rollers
  • The Free Spins game doesn’t come by often enough
  • Low value symbols
TYPE Video Slot
REELS AND PAYLINES Free Spins, Respins, Wilds, Nudging Wilds, Stacked Symbols, Expanding Reels
GAME FEATURES Free Spins, Respins, Wilds, Nudging Wilds, Stacked Symbols, Expanding Reels
RANGE OF BET 0.20 - 100.00
COIN VALUES 0.20, 0.40, 0.60, 1.00, 2.00, 4.00, 6.00, 10.00, 20.00, 40.00, 60.00, 100.00
MAXIMUM WIN 2,500 x your bet
PAYOUT 96.10%

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Crusader - Theme and Background

As always seems to be the case with ELK Studios games, Crusader comes hand in hand with a well-thought-out backstory. As the name strongly hints, our protagonist is a valiant crusader from the year 1291.

The city of Acre is the last stronghold and has come under heavy attack from an enemy by the name of Mamluks. Edward I has decided to assemble all crusaders to make a final push against the aggressors. And so we spin the reels and watch our handsome knight put up a fight. His success or failure will remain something of a mystery, unless you judge the outcome based on your cash balance. Either way the design is brilliant, with clear graphics and an attention to detail that marks a quality provider.

The symbols are all inspired by typical crusader items, plus card suits that have been designed up to fit the theme. The highest paying symbol is a golden grail encrusted with gemstones. Despite the fact that the game is called Crusader, we only get to see one of these on the reels, and there are no battle sequences or any such excitement. Ironically, players who didn’t invest any time in the backstory might be more satisfied by the game itself.

Crusader - Gameplay

The fact that there’s a lack of animation in this game might trick you into thinking there isn’t much going on. In actual fact, Crusader is packing some interesting features that come into play at regular intervals. Here’s what’s what:

Crusader Wilds

Crusader Wilds

These are only found on reels 1 and 5. The symbol is a stacked crusader wild symbol that appears 4 symbols high. You’ll know what you’re looking at, because it’s the only symbol featuring the crusader himself. If the reels stop and show a partial view of this stacked crusader wild, you’ll win yourself enough respins for the stacked wild to fully cover the reel. Because the symbol moves down one place per spin, that’s a total up to 3 free respins, with all the potential wins that come along.

Crusader Free Spins

Free Spins

If you get really lucky and succeed in landing both Crusader Wilds at once (that’s both reel 1 and 5), you’ll trigger the game’s free spins bonus round as well as the benefits of the previous feature times two. You’ll start your free games with 5 spins and reels 1 and 5 covered by stacked sticky wilds for the duration of the feature.

Crusader Expansion Symbols

Expansion Symbols

These can land on all 3 middle reels (reels 2, 3 and 4). These handy little symbols are encased in gold and emblazoned with a red arrow. If they land, they’ll proceed to expand and cover the entire reel set by 1 row.

To top things off, you’ll also get 1 extra free spin. The best part is that multiple Expansion Symbols can land at once, expanding the reel set up to 9 times, and offering players a grid that is 12 rows in total and 98 paylines strong.

Crusader - Payouts and Wagering Limits

The game gets an 8 out of 10 on the ELK Studios volatility ranking. This is fairly dangerous territory for players, which is why the win cap of 2,500 times the bet seems a little low. To spell it out differently, players could be in with a chance for a top prize of C$250,000. That’s nothing to sniff at, but it’s not many players who can afford an undetermined number of spins at C$100 a pop.

The volatility comes in at 96.10%, which is bang on average. The symbol values aren’t that spectacular, the most valuable only hitting as high as 10 x. Here’s what each one is worth:

  • Gold grail -pays 10 x for 5 on a payline
  • Small chest pays 5 x for 5 on a payline
  • A dagger -pays 4 x for 5 on a payline
  • Red cross pays 3 x for 5 on a payline
  • Blue cross pays 2.5 x for 5 on a payline
  • Green cross pays 2.25 x for 5 on a payline
  • Royal symbols pay between 2 x and 1 x for 5 on a payline

Crusader - Final Verdict

Crusader 270 x 218

Final Verdict



History buffs like me will be drawn to this slot purely on the basis of its historical backstory. It had me spiraling into a Wikipedia research hole for about an hour after I was done playing. But subject matter aside, there were a couple of annoying things about this game. Primarily the fact that the maximum win is a little too low when you also factor in the rather high volatility. The second thing was the symbol values are on the lower end of the scale, so players will rely rather heavily on the special features to cover their bet spend. All in all, I thought this was one battle worth waging.

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