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|Game Type||Slot Machine|
|Casino Software||Rabcat Gambling|
|Release Date||18th July 2017|
|RTP Payout %||95.50%|
|Coin Sizes||0.01 - 2.00|
|Bet Stakes||0.15 - 30.00|
For years, slots have been considered to be simplest and most straightforward casino games. There is no hassle, no waiting, there’s even no thinking, you just put the coin (well, actually in the case of online slots press the button), then wait for a second to see if you’ve won anything or not.
However, things started to change several years ago, albeit slowly. It all started with the introduction of themed video slots which featured improved graphics and storylines that were interesting, intriguing, whether based on an existing film, book, myth, story, legends or completely original. The new trends in online technology and the preferences of the new generations of slot players are the main ‘culprits’ for this shift.
Slot games became a lot more sophisticated and players began to connect with the games and their storylines. Moreover, the games started becoming more and more interactive and the players were no longer just mere spectators, but active participants. The bet amount and when to press the spin button, are no longer the only decisions that a player is supposed to make.
Games where players are able to make choices both in game and prior to clicking the spin button were already available in 2014, when the Austrian based Rabcat Gaming casino software provider decided to do something that was previously inconceivable. The Castle Builder slot which operates on the Rabcat software system was incorporated by Microgaming in 2014 and it is not an overstatement to say that it was a defining moment in online slot history.
The goal of the game is to build a castle, but unlike other slot games, where each spin is a separate game and is not connected with the previous and the following ones, here the gameplay is continuous. With every spin, as the game progresses the player amasses various building materials such as bronze, silver and gold that are essential for building a castle. The more materials you collect the more valuable your castle would be.
The symbols and accompanying elements are completely in accordance with the team. You will see kings, queens and other royalty, but the most valuable symbol is the wild, the Architect, which completely makes sense as the goal is to build a castle. Players are free to set the coin value and choose how many paylines they wish to cover with each wager. The total number of paylines is 15.
Following the huge success of Castle Builder which was well accepted by players, Microgaming and Rabcat scheduled the release of Castle Builder II for July 2017, a game that was supposed to be an improvement on the original Castle Builder, with lots of novelties, but based on the same general concept. The game was initially introduced at the ICE event in London in February 2017 before it was released.
Some of the critics described the original Castle Builder as the first game that established a connection between online casino gaming and social gamification and it has to be said that it is one of the most accurate descriptions of Castle Builder. Best way to describe the sequel is to say that it is both bigger and better than its predecessor.
The basic idea behind the development of Castle Builder II was to build on what has already been established with Castle Builder. Instead of 3 kingdoms that were featured in Castle Builder, in Castle Builder II you will find 15 different kingdoms. Plus, there are over 75 castles which you can build, as well as more than 300 different characters that you can interact with.
In addition, you can choose from three different characters, each of which has a distinct set of features and your choice of character determines the storyline of the game. Castle Builder II also includes a unique and complex system of achievements and challenges which enables players to progress, improve their avatars and their skills. This system also allows players to win various trophies and prizes as they progress through the game.
The founder and chief executive of Rabcat, Thomas Schleischitz, stated that the success of the Castle Builder slot was the primary motive for the company to release Castle Builder II. Immediately after the release he said in a press release that the game was played by millions of players at more than 80 casino operators. Schleischitz also said that the concept of continuous progression has proved to be very useful as it encouraged numerous players to keep coming back to the game.
Microgaming, on the other hand, proved to be not only an operator that develops some of the best slot games in the world, but also a company that can recognise and acknowledge someone else’s revolutionary work and achievements. After accepting Castle Builder, it was no surprise that Microgaming stood behind the second edition 100%. Reynolds, who is the current games publisher at Microgaming said that with more castles, characters and kingdoms, this game will be a huge success, especially considering how popular its predecessor was. In the wake of the game release he encouraged all players to embark on, as he said, “an epic journey”.
The reels are on the right of the screen, whereas on the left you will see the castle building menu. The game has 3 rows and 5 reels, and that is probably the only feature that it shares with other, more standard slot games. The number of paylines is 15 and you can choose on how many paylines you wish to place a wager. If you wager a penny of each payline one spin will cost you just 15p, whereas if you wish to wager the maximum amount – £2, a spin would cost £30.
When you start playing for the first time, you will be prompted to select a character. You can choose either Sam or Mandy, the third character, Igor, is locked at the beginning. Below each character you will see their strengths and features. This is a trait of many conventional video games but it is rarely seen in slots. It gives the game special dynamics and makes it a lot more recognisable.
On the reels you will notice bricks, granite, iron and woods, but also gold, rings and other precious metals. You get paid whenever there’s a combination of at least 3 and up to 5 symbols across one of the valid 15 paylines. Wood is the least valuable symbol, you will get 4 coins for 3 wood symbols, 8 coins for 4 symbols and a total of 20 coins for 5 wood symbols.
The payouts per symbol increase gradually and are quite intuitive, the more a symbol is worth, the more money you’ll get. Three rings across a payline result in a 15 coin prize, 4 rings pay 75, whereas 5 rings will earn you 250 coins. Five gold symbols pay 500 coins, whereas if you get 5 treasure chests across a payline you will earn 1,000 coins. The crown is the most valuable regular symbol in this game. For three crowns you will get 50 coins, 500 coins for a combination of 4 crowns and finally, a massive prize of 5,000 coins will be yours if you get 5 crowns.
The princess is the wild symbol and it can be a substitute for all game symbols, except for the scatter. The payments for a combination of 3, 4 or 5 wild symbols are the same as the payments for the crown. The scatter symbol triggers the free spins bonus.
Not only do you receive a prize when a winning combination is formed, but that way you also gather building materials which are later used to build your castle. The material symbols wood, bricks, granite and iron ore are used to build your castle. A combination of 3 symbols gives you one building item, a combination of 4 symbols will result in two items, whereas if you get a winning combination of five symbols the number of items will be tripled.
Not all materials are worth equally. The wood is pretty common, you will see wood it often on the reels, but it is also of low value. Bricks are also common, but not as common as wood. You will see them, but not as often. Granite is rare and more valuable and iron ore is very rare and the most valuable building material.
The aim is to fully load a pallet with building materials. Once you do that, a building block is completed and the more building blocks you complete the closer you are to your goal of completing the castle. The more valuable symbols are including in your building blocks, the more valuable your castle will be as a whole. In the left corner on the top of the screen you will see a meter that shows your progress rate and how long until you complete your castle. Whenever you complete one building block you will see some element added to your castle.
During the game the free spins bonus game can be activated, as soon as at least 3 scatter symbols appear anywhere on the reel. With three scatters you will get 10 free spins, four scatters is equal to 15 free spins and for 5 scatters you will get to play 5 free spins. During the free spins you can also collect prizes and building materials.
After you complete enough building blocks for a castle, you will have a royal wedding, and the princess will get to choose a suitor. The more castles you have, more people will be eager to marry your princess. Once you choose a suitor, you will receive a bonus, depending on your choice.
At the beginning of the game, the Bronze Cup challenge is the mode of play. Here every pallet has room for 6 building materials. Next there’s the Silver Cup, the Gold Cup and the Platinum Cup. Here the pallets have 9, 12 and 15 spots respectively, which means it is a bit harder to fill them. However, the prizes when you finish a castle in the more advanced cup modes are also higher.
When the first challenge (Bronze Cup) is completed you will get to enter the free building mode where you can build a castle of your choice on any territory that is unlocked. There are 15 kingdoms on the map of the world. You will need to complete a castle in 9 kingdoms in order to complete a challenge.
Overall, the game is highly enticing and very interactive. It is a lot more volatile than the original, which means that it is even more unpredictable. When it comes to graphics and the design, it has to be admitted that it is impeccable and unmatched so far. A very sophisticated and advanced game in every aspect.
If you haven’t played the original Castle Builder you are strongly advised to try Castle Builder II in demo mode first, just to get familiar with it and to understand the dynamics of the game. You will need to balance and plan your bankroll in advance if you intend to complete multiple castles.
Castle Builder II has a RTP percentage of 96.74%, which is quite alright by modern slot standards. This game is already available across a range of devices, you can play it on your desktop computer or your laptop, but also on a mobile phone or a tablet. It is available at multiple casinos, both download and instant play ones.
If you’re tired and bored of standard slot games which all look the same and you’re looking for a change, then Castle Builder is definitely the right game for you. Just remember that you have to be patient and play for a little while if you want to advance and build multiple castles.
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