Imperial Riches (NetEnt): Overview
In an effort to strengthen its position on the Asian market, NetEnt has recently produced a batch of games made to cater specifically to Japanese and Chinese players. Due to cultural differences, and because the games are designed with a traditional look and feel, they can be quite hard to review from a European point of view. You wouldn't believe how much preferences can differ between various regions, even between British and Swedish players. For this reason, and because some of these creations are just reskins of old NetEnt games, we actually felt compelled to skip most titles altogether.
Played on a 5-reel, 15-payline reel set, Imperial Riches was the only slot in NetEnt's Asian pursuit to catch our interest. It utilizes NetEnt's classic Avalanche game engine that came into popular demand following the release of Gonzo's Quest in 2013, and comes with a Free Falls feature which subsequently leads you to the Lucky Pond bonus game that, in turn, can give you access to the jackpot game where local progressive jackpots can be triggered. With a soothing feel, Imperial Riches can be played on all devices from 0.15 to £/€30 per spin.
Set in a relaxing garden with ponds and Koi fish, the game has a strong traditional feel that is enhanced further by the tranquil soundtrack. Spinning on the reels, you'll see lower-value A, K and Q card suits alongside more valuable bamboo plants, gold coins, and ingots. The golden fish is the most rewarding, giving you 100 times your stake for a combination of five on a full payline. The wild is represented by a gong and appears on the three middle reels only.
Imperial Riches (NetEnt): Features
At the heart of Imperial Riches is the Avalanche game engine used in several NetEnt games such as Gonzo's Quest, Asgardian Stones, Pyramid Quest for Immortality and Elements. If you're already familiar with said games, you already know what it's all about - symbols part of a winning combination are removed, creating space for new symbols to cascade into place which, in turn, can lead to new wins. Essentially, this allows you to win repeatedly from a single spin.
Look out for the lantern scatter as 3, 4 or 5 of them anywhere in view triggers the Free Falls feature with 10, 15, or 20 free spins respectively. There's actually nothing extra to benefit from here as all the Free Falls feature is used for is to prepare you for the next feature that will follow. The point here is to collect as many jewels as possible, which are awarded to you every time you form a winning combination.
Next comes the Lucky Pond bonus game which is played directly after the Free Falls feature. Here you'll see the jewels collected from the Free Falls feature drop down into the pond which can be gobbled up by the coin fish or the bonus fish. If a coin fish takes a jewel, a cash prize of up to 1x is rewarded. If the bonus fish eats three jewels, you'll be given access to the all-important jackpot game.
If you make it to the Jackpot Game, you'll find yourself transported to an even larger pond with a coin fish and five different jackpot fishes. Starting with a fixed set of 50 jewels, the jewels are then dropped into the pond and can be eaten by any of the fishes. If a jewel is eaten by the coin fish, you'll win 1.33 or 2.66 times your stake. Regarding the jackpots, there are 2 fixed jackpots (Rapid = €/£100 & Mini = €/£500) as well as 3 progressive jackpots that are local for the casino where the game is hosted. Now, you'll notice that each jackpot fish is associated with an indicator which increases with every jewel that the corresponding fish eats.
Imperial Riches (NetEnt): Verdict
For us, at least, there's not much appeal to Imperial Riches. The Asian theme doesn't really speak to us, and the game itself is much too drowsy for our liking. As is often typical in jackpot slots, the free spins feature is quite useless and feels more like a waste of time and something NetEnt could have skipped altogether.
With precisely the same payouts in the Free Falls feature as in the main game, the 1500 times your stake max win potential is far from enough to raise your pulse when triggering the bonus if you're a seasoned gambler. On the positive side, the 96.88% RTP (88 symbolises fortune in Chinese culture) is quite high, which could make Imperial Riches a useful slot for wagering purposes. With that said, the only real reason we could think of to play this game is for the 3 progressive jackpots although there are considerably better NetEnt jackpot games readily available on the market. For an Asian-inspired NetEnt slot, we suggest you try Koi Princess if you haven't already. If you want to chase some jackpots, the recently released Mercy of the Gods is an incredibly gorgeous game that you should have a look at.
Imperial Riches might be easy on the eyes, but its sharp graphics are offset by bland gameplay.