Empires rise and fall, but their stories live on forever. The tales of warfare and royalty are exciting, but what about treasures that have been lost in time? We hope you’re in the mood for some treasure hunting because that’s what’s on the plate today. Empire Shields takes us on a brand new journey, which is filled with unexpected twists and wins. Not much backstory is given, but maybe that’s for the best, as not always we need an elaborate story with complicated characters, sometimes we just have to let our imagination fill in the gaps. Let’s test the true mettle of Empire Shields.
Empire Shields is a slot made by Gong Gaming. This is a fairly new studio, but they have already impressed many folks including us. Microgaming have a lot of talented partner studios, but we believe that Gong Gaming are very close to the top of that list. Empire Shields is their planned release for the start of December, so its 12,150x max win could be a great early Christmas gift. Empire Shields is shrouded with mystery, so together we will go through its features and mechanics to determine if this slot is worthy of our time.
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Empire Shields Slot Review
Gameplay and Payouts
A large stone gate decorated with lion sigils and swords is situated right behind the 5x3 game layout. On the sides, we have towering stone walls that keep the unknown treats behind. Green, ominous skies overlook the fortifications, while thunder relentlessly is banging in the sky. This scene is something straight out of Lord of the Rings. With no real backstory in mind, the presentation seems quite generic, but it’s still very well done. The music sets a dramatic tone, so who knows what lies behind those stark grey walls. By default, this is a 5 reel x 3 row slot, but two symbols can appear on a single cell, so we are not limited to 15 symbols per spin.
Due to these multiple symbols, the winning ways are up to 243. On Empire Shields, there are 12 regular symbols in total. Six of these are 9, 10, J, Q, K and A, which, of course, have a regular design style, as you would expect from low card symbols. A notch above we got an amulet and a ring. These two symbols are followed by 4 heroes. These heroes have stunning sets of armour and they look like they’re ready for a real battle. Empire Shields certainly has a strong fantasy element to it, so if you like RPG games, then you might favour the Empire Shields slot. Additionally, to regular symbols, we have the Wild and Scatter.
There’s a common misconception, that smaller studios provide smaller payouts. On many occasions, this can be true, but it’s not always the case. Take Empire Shields for example. This Gong Gaming slot can produce wins up to 12,150x. This by no means is a small win. The game is accompanied by 96.19% RTP, which is fine by our standards. Like the majority of high paying slots, the volatility is high, so keep in mind that this slot can sometimes be a bit stingy. To keep max payouts in boundaries, the bet range has been limited to 0.20 -20. Of course, this is not the most limited bet range we’ve seen, but still, it’s a bit restrictive for the high rollers.
What’s with the shields you might ask, well, here is the answer to that question. Above the game layout, you will spot five shields. This is also known as the Topper feature. On each spin, these shields move one step to the left side. Random surges of power charge up these shields which contain special modifiers. Each shield holds a certain amount of charges. Once you completely fill it up, one of the following modifiers is triggered:
• Double Reel – requires 4 energy charges. Increases reel height to 6 symbols
• Multiplier – requires 5 energy charges. Adds a multiplier of 2x, 3x, 5x, 8x or 10x
• Wild – requires 6 energy charges. A wild is randomly placed below
• Expanding – requires 7 energy charges. All positions below become wild
The lions head is the Empire Shields scatter symbol. At least 3 scatters are needed to trigger the bonus game. Once this is done, players will need to pick 5 random shields. These shields contain the previously mentioned modifiers. If all 5 Topper positions are filled, a Free Spins game is triggered. Initially, you’ll be given 10 Free Spins, but more can be gained by landing at least 3 additional scatters. During Free Spins, shields do not switch and their features are active for the entirety of the Free Spins phase. On the 10th spin, completely all features are active. There is no limit, on how many times the Free Spins feature can be retriggered.
So coming back to our previous question, is Empire Shields worthy of your time? We would like to believe that it is, but we can also see why some players won’t stick around for too long. Empire Shields is a nice looking slot, but it lacks that excitement and thrill that you expect from video slots. The features are also nice, but they don’t really make you go crazy. Of course, there is a potential 12,150x win lurking somewhere, so Empire Shields definitely knowns how to pay, it’s just that the gameplay itself is a bit bland. Still, we think Empire Shields is worth a shot.
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