Dark King: Forbidden Riches: Overview
Developer NetEnt explores a murkier side of life in the richly atmospheric game Dark King: Forbidden Riches, a slot thick with doom and gloom, powered by a math model that's more likely to make you suffer death by a thousand cuts rather than having your head chopped off. It might not sound like an attractive premise, but the result is ideal for a spot of lighter gaming in an intensely dark environment, featuring sticky wilds, multipliers, and free spins.
NetEnt has successfully imbued the game with a tangible creep factor. Large credit is due to the Dark King who has a strong Sauron look about him, all suited up in plate armour, glowing menacingly through an eye slit. Unfortunately, there isn't a huge amount of material available to accompany the game. NetEnt relies on the slot itself to fill in the blanks. It would have been nice if they'd expanded on the story, built up a bit more suspense or a sense of purpose. As it stands, players are taken deep inside the lair of an evil entity known as the Dark King. That's pretty much it, so let's fill in the gaps.
The action takes place in the King's lair, on a 5-reel, 20-payline grid which looks similar to the Frey's hall room in Game of Thrones. The one where the infamous Red Wedding took place before Arya sorted the backstabbers out. Fortunately, Dark King: Forbidden Riches doesn't reach those depths of depravity, but the game has a rich character all the same. Loads of candles, eerie heads beneath the reels, and the music create quite a scene. Fantasy fans will love it.
Dark King: Forbidden Riches is playable on any device with a wide range of bets available. Players spin the waxy old reels from as low as 20 p/c and as high £/€400 a pop. The action is governed by medium to high volatility, which may help players make the most of their time in the lair. Time you will need because free spins don't exactly appear super frequently, though an RTP rating of 96.06% ensures an above-average return rate.
On the low side, the paytable starts with 10 to Ace card royals designed in a muscular gothic font. Land five of them on a payline to pick up 2.5 to 5 times the stake. Next are four minions you would not want to cross on a dark and stormy hilltop, plus their leader, the Dark King. Each one could be an epic end of level boss in their own right, and are worth of 12.5 to 25 times the bet.
The swirling aqua orb has the same value as the King, but it also substitutes for any symbol except the scatter. The wild ties in with both of the features so we'll cover all you need to know about it next.
Dark King: Forbidden Riches: Features
The name of the game is sticky wilds and multipliers – if you're lucky, both occurring at the same time. During the base game, whenever 2 or more wilds land in view, a multiplier is activated. The number of visible wilds equates to the size of the multiplier, up to x5 at the most. Wins are evaluated and the multiplier applied to it.
Stay alert for the red gem scatter symbols landing anywhere on the reels. Getting 3, 4 or 5 in view triggers 10, 12, or 15 free spins, respectively. Free spins begin by adding a hot spot pattern on top of the reels. This is a fixed area in the shape of a cross that sits on reels 2, 3 and 4.
During the feature, any wild landing in the cross-shaped hot spot becomes a sticky wild. Moreover, each new sticky wild adds +1 free spin to the total and will remain stuck in position until the feature comes to an end. Players continue to get multipliers which are calculated by the regular wilds and sticky wilds on the reels. The maximum value remains x5.
Dark King: Forbidden Riches: Verdict
NetEnt has really gone dark with this one, or in their words 'Something wicked this way comes'. Even though that’s the title of a thriller from Ray Bradbury about a twisted travelling circus, it does apply here. Dark King: Forbidden Riches doesn't have the same polish of Yggdrasil's tour de force Hades Gigablox, nor does it have the streak of humour, but there is an air of intrigue about it. As well as the mouldy old visuals, music plays a huge part, alternating between mystery, intrigue, discovery, through to an almost religious climax. It has a cinematic quality and is a credit to NetEnt's sound team.
The action is relatively straight forward most of the time. The base game receives a kick from the wild multiplier feature, every so often producing a satisfying win to keep you in the game. Of course, it's free spins you want, with their one-two combo of Sticky Wilds and multipliers. Get on a lucky run, and wins of up to 2,000 times your stake per spin are theoretically possible. With that said, the game usually produces relatively small wins and you're lucky to get away with around 100x-200x during the free spins realistically speaking. At the end of the day, Dark King: Forbidden Riches turned out to be one of those 'egg-timer' slots, depleting your balance whilst leaving you with the feeling there's little chance for a comeback.
Yet if it's a fantasy-themed slot you're after, Dark King: Forbidden Riches has several things to commend it. Yes, the graphics and sounds are a highlight, but there is something deeper going on that makes Dark King a unique game. There's a hidden menace, or a deeper meaning here NetEnt alludes to but doesn't completely give away. Whatever it is, Dark King: Forbidden Riches is a playable slot. It won't smash records, or become required viewing, but the bonus game is fun, and the overall result is worth braving the Dark King's lair for a sinister spin or two. Just don't stay on it chasing wins for too long.
There’s nothing particularly memorable about Dark King: Forbidden Riches, but all things considered, it’s still a fairly entertaining slot.