Imagine that a quartet of modern-day footballing greats were transported back in time and dropped into the Roman Colosseum. That’s the strange concept on offer in Football Gladiators, a bizarre sport / history hybrid slot from Stake Logic (which is part of Novomatic). It comes with a Chariot Race Bonus feature that offers a selection of free spin and multiplier combinations as well as a Battle Bonus feature that awards multiplier prizes. Playable across all devices, enter the bear pit from 25p per spin.

Your first decision to make after firing up Football Gladiators is to pick a player – rather than composites, there are 4 real players to choose from – Robin Van Persie, Andrea Pirlo, Toni Kroos and Rio Ferdinand. Their visual likenesses are actually pretty good, as are the sound and visuals overall.

The setting is the Roman Colosseum – symbols on the reels include lower value playing cards, an old leather football, a gladiator’s shield and mask and a helmet-wearing big cat. The footballer is the game’s wild, substituting for everything apart from the bonus symbol.

That bonus is the Roman amphitheatre – when it appears on reels 2 and 4, you’ll trigger 1 of 2 features. The first is the Chariot Race Bonus feature which pits the footballers in a chariot race with the dark knight. Different free spin and multiplier combinations are on offer depending on whether you choose to compete on a small, medium or large track.

These range from 7 free spins at 5x up to 15 free spins with a 2x multiplier. If your player is in the lead in the race, the multiplier will be applied to that spin but not if he trails. If he goes on to win the race, you’ll win a 10x stake bonus. A 2x stake bonus is awarded if he’s not victorious.

The Battle Bonus feature sees the footballers take on a selection of big beasts in the arena – you get to choose which beast to face. They offer different degrees of difficulty and a range of awards. Every time the footballer hits a beast, you’ll win a cash prize. Multiplier prizes are also on offer here following multiple successful hits. The feature ends after all 4 players have tackled the beast.

Football Gladiators is a strange slot but it actually works surprisingly well – the sound and visuals are well crafted and the features offer plenty of interactivity which enables you to alter the volatility. Rather like an England victory in the opening match of a big tournament, they’re a little hard to come by. They can deliver some decent highs when they hit though – up to 1,000 times your stake.

If you like slots based on ancient Rome or football, then this bizarre mash up should offer some solid thrills. Football Gladiators is fantastic in my opinion and, for once, uses real life players. Thumbs up to Stake Logic!