Age of Conquest: Overview
Players, prepare to get all 'swords and sorcery, mysticism and melee' in the fantasy-themed slot Age of Conquest from Microgaming partner Neon Valley Studios. The last time we crossed paths with the Las Vegas-based developer was via their entry into the Mega Moolah network, Atlantean Treasures, which appears to be doing quite well. A bit of a throwaway title, though, that players wouldn't look twice at without the legendary progressive jackpot attached.
Age of Conquest is like the reverse image of Atlantean Treasures. On one side, players get some well-tuned, pacey gameplay, on the other, some less than legendary potential. Will one element blot out the other, or do the two find an agreeable equilibrium?
First up a quick clarification - Age of Conquest has nothing to do with the turn-based strategy wargame, if any gamers out there were wondering. The name might sound a little generic, but Neon has spent some time crafting a story to back up the theme choice. There's some talk about elemental forces vying for control over mythical kingdoms, or some such. It's all good, a bit of world-building always goes down well in the fantasy genre.
What it means for players is a background to the 5-reel, 3-row game area, which has a very Winterfell-ish vibe to it. The castle in the distance is definitely somewhere Ned Stark could call home. It’s a strong fantasy scene surrounded by snowy peaks, completed by an atmospheric soundtrack.
Getting started requires picking a bet, which players can do by hitting the +/- icon. The options at hand vary from 20 p/c up to £/€200 per spin. The game produces some contentious numbers, but one pretty much all players will be okay with is an RTP of 96.14%. The math model runs at a medium setting that, along with the less than stellar potential, will no doubt be a turn off for many. The hit rate is quite high though on 27.3%, so expect some frequent, albeit smaller wins, as you spin for glory.
Age of Conquest does boast some attractive symbols, particularly its flowing J-A royals. Following the low pays are a quartet of mid paying potions, swords, eagles, and horses. All of these symbols appear only in 1x1 size, but the final two premiums, an elven knight and a Sorceress can appear in 1x1, 1x2 or 1x3 size – stacking a full reel. A line of the elven princes is worth 15 times the stake, while five Sorceress' rake in 10x.
The core rule is to land three or more of the same symbol, on one of the 20 paylines left to right. Wilds are the most valuable symbol at 50x for a line of five, while being able to substitute for any regular pay symbol. On top of that are several extras which pop up to fuel the battle.
Age of Conquest: Features
Age of Conquest might not have a long list of features, but what it does have can be fun, and keep the game flowing nicely. It starts in the base game thanks to a collection mechanic that triggers full reel wilds, culminating in an intriguing round of free spins.
Each reel has a Diamond Meter located above with two empty spaces. Every time a diamond symbol appears, it is added to the Diamond Meter on the respective reel. When the 2 spaces are filled, the Wild Reel feature is triggered and the reel is made completely wild for two consecutive spins in the base game.
Stay on the lookout for the golden/purple throne as this is the scatter. It appears on reels 1, 3, or 5 and 3 in view award the princely sum of 2x the total bet plus entry to the free spins bonus game. Now for the dilemma – the bonus game presents 3 options for players to choose from: 2 free spins with 3 wild reels, 8 free spins with 2 wild reels, or 25 free spins with 1 wild reel. During the feature, wild reels can appear anywhere in a different position on each free spin. Moreover, scatters remain part of the game, so the feature can be retriggered.
Age of Conquest: Verdict
There is a feeling that Age of Conquest unfortunately misses the mark. It's certainly an improvement on Atlantean Treasures from a gameplay perspective – it was actually fun to play for one. There aren't a huge amount of features, but it doesn't feel lacking since the Diamond Meters fill fairly regularly triggering full reel wilds. The bonus game isn't bad either, contributing to a good looking pacey game.
Full reel wild free spins can be a blast, and choosing which one to go for is tough. Do you throw caution to the wind and risk it all on two spins, or play it safe by choosing the 25 free spins? For the record, the two spin option worked out best during the review, though as we all know, luck is a fickle mistress indeed.
What sticks in the craw, the kicker if you will, has got to be the potential. At full tilt, Age of Conquest is capable of wins of up to just 1,000 times the stake per single spin. The game blurb mentions controlling the riches of a legendary throne room, but who'd go to war for that level of reward? It's too bad because the slot showed promise. Then again, the slot can in theory dish out consecutive 500x-1,000x wins, so it's not all bad news.
All up, Age of Conquest proved to be a pretty fun game with a rather strong classic Microgaming feel to it, and one that was also easy on the eyes thanks to the great visuals. Fans of the genre will find bits to enjoy, up to a point. Yet, the potential might make it a hard pass for many hardcore gamers, which is a shame because the rest of the game isn't bad at all.
Age of Conquest’s low payouts might be a hindrance for hardcore gamers, but good looks, great atmosphere and a classic Microgaming feel make it worth a try.