Rise of Merlin by Play'n GO released on 20.06.2019 is a 5-reel & 5-row online slot with all ways to win and a 96.58% RTP. This is a Merlin-themed game offering players a max win of up to 5000x their stake. Rise of Merlin can be played on all devices from €0.01 to €100 per spin and is considered a high volatility game.
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Design & Symbols
The visuals for Rise of Merlin are modern and fresh albeit unremarkable. At least there isn’t an Anubis or an Eye of Horus insight as Play ‘n GO have steered away from the well-worn Ancient Egypt theme favoured by many a ‘Book’ clones. Instead, they've gone for the not quite so well-worn (but still pretty well-worn) magical, medieval theme.
The backdrop to the gameboard is of Merlin’s chamber with its large, arched doorways, medieval stonemasonry, and mezzanine balcony. The gameboard takes up virtually the entire screen but the lower value symbols (card values) have transparent backgrounds so you can often make out the scene behind.
As mentioned the low-value symbols are the card values 10-A. The higher value symbols are represented by owls, white dragons, red dragons, and Merlin himself. Merlin is the highest paying symbol, returning 500x the stake for 5 on a payline. The wild (which is also the scatter) is a crystal ball and also pays 500x the stake for 5 of a kind.
Free Spins with Special Symbols
We all know the drill here; Rise of Merlin comes with one feature, a scatter triggered free spins bonus round. Land 3 or more scatters for 8 free spins. Also, as with other clones at the start of the feature, one of the regular symbols will be randomly chosen as a ‘special’ symbol which will expand to cover the entire reel if it forms part of a win.
Furthermore, the special symbols do not have to appear on consecutive reels to trigger a win. For example, if the special symbol is a King and a King lands on reels 1, 3, and 5 then all three reels will fully expand with Kings and you’ll be paid as though you had landed three consecutive reels full of Kings.
This is all pretty standard stuff for games with this specific mechanic. However, there is a little extra here. Landing 3 more scatters results in a full retrigger and a second 'special symbol'. This can, in theory, continue until all 9 regular symbols have become ‘special’
Our Thoughts on Rise of Merlin
Having already come up with an ancient civilisations Book Clone, the incredibly popular ‘Book of Dead’, Play ‘n GO decided to get medieval here for more of the same.
It’s hard to criticize them for wanting to recreate a winning formula, after all, Book of Dead is far and away from the most popular of the Book clones, and is considerably more popular than Novomatic’s original Book of Ra.
Also, the additional special symbols up for grabs in the bonus round give this slot a little edge over most of its rivals.
Maybe some might see this as a bit lazy of Play ‘n GO to rework this mechanic once again, but looking at the Swedish provider’s release schedule for 2019 I don’t think laziness is something we can really accuse them of. At the end of the day this is still great, high variance stuff and if their success with Book of Dead is anything to go by, this should be another sure-fire success.