Rich Wilde and the Shield of Athena: Overview
Rich Wilde has proven to be a hugely successful franchise for Swedish developer Play’n GO. The fifth instalment sees the explorer unearthing the secrets of Atlantis in Rich Wilde and the Shield of Athena. Apparently, Athena used a special shield called the Aegis, which she would sometimes lend out to her favoured patrons.
The most famous is arguable Perseus, who used the shield to avoid looking directly at Medusa’s deadly gaze. His victory is perhaps why the snake haired Gorgon is depicted on the shield. What the shield’s other powers might be is shrouded in mystery. Perhaps following Rich on his journey, we can uncover them.
In Shield of Athena, players don’t just team up with the steely-eyed explorer. This time we are also joined by his daughter Cat Wilde who is a sort of mix between Jennifer Anniston and Lara Croft. To be honest, she seems a little too old to be Rich’s (who appears to have aged gracefully) daughter, but that’s poetic license after all.
After the cascading grid format of Tome of Madness, Rich has returned to a more conventional set up using 5 reels, 3 rows, and 10 fixed paylines. In that sense, this is probably the closest we've been to an actual Book of Dead sequel. Surrounding the grid are Greek styled columns, while a whole lot of water cascades down into the background. It’s a brooding scene, matched only by Rich’s deeply brooding gaze. Pick a bet from 10 p/c to £/€100 for the deep-diving to begin.
The rules are easy, land three matching symbols left to right on a payline to score a prize. The symbols used are as well-drawn as the rest of the scenery, split into 5 low and 4 high pays. Low pays might be common 10-A royals, but they are beautifully crafted out of stone dipped in a colourful effect. The high pays are even more enticing and include a Golden Owl, a Pendant of Courage, the Ring of Wisdom, the Helm of Athena, and the Shield of Athena.
Values are massive with 5 standard Shields on a payline worth a considerable 500 times the stake - double when it turns into a Wild Shield. Rich is the regular wild, and he is worth 1,000 times the stake when five of him turn up on a line. Wilds can substitute for any pay symbol to help pull together more winners.
Players who like basic gaming with lashings of volatility will find it in Shield of Athena. Play’n GO has rated the volatility at 10/10 so, pretty much as high as it can get, creating a potent combination with the rest of the game’s elements. No qualms over the RTP rated 96.25% on the default setting. The RTP can be lowered though, so a quick browse through the paytable to clarify things is a must.
Rich Wilde and the Shield of Athena: Features
This section is all about respins and free spins which work effectively on their own or in tandem. First is the Medusa Respin feature which may activate on any spin if the Shield of Athena wild lands on the reels. When triggered, one respins is awarded with the standard Shield of Athena symbol now transforming into a wild.
During the respin, all Shield of Athena symbols, plus any winning symbols, are held in position. If any more Shields or winning symbols appear, they are locked as well and the reels respin again. Respins continue until no more Shield of Athena symbols or winning symbols land, at which point wins are paid out. One last point, all instances of Rich Wilde wilds or Cat Wilde scatters are turned into Wild Shields.
Now, the Medusa Respin also makes an appearance in the second feature - the Medusa’s Gaze Free Spins. Unlike the storybook Medusa who turned heroes into stone, this one is much more desirable. It is triggered when 3, 4, or 5 Cat Wilde scatters are in view to award 10, 12, or 15 Medusa’s Gaze Free Spins. Here you'll benefit from the Medusa Respin always remaining active throughout the feature. The feature can also be retriggered indefinitely, so 3, 4, 5, scatters award another 10, 12, or 15 free spins.
Rich Wilde and the Shield of Athena: Verdict
Riche Wilde and the Shield of Athena is a really well-made slot. It doesn’t do anything particularly ground-breaking, but everything it does do has been splendidly crafted, meshing each element perfectly together - from the high-quality graphics to the paytable and the superb features. There might only be two features mixing the gameplay up, but they can go berserk, especially the Medusa Respins when they rack up stacks of Wild Shields.
After the grid slot antics of the previous instalment, Shield of Athena is more of a return to its Book of Dead-style roots. The gameplay is straight forward, uses a traditional setup, and provides plenty of winning opportunities with maximum wins of up to 10,000 times the stake possible.
It’s not too much of a stretch to call Shield of Athena one of Rich Wilde’s best outings to date. It’s simple, possesses well-tuned features, and is devoid of any major flaws. The math model has the ability to crush unsuspecting gamblers who aren’t prepared perhaps, but others will love it. Overall, the gameplay perfectly matches the math model and the high pay symbols to combine for some excellent gaming. As it stands, Shield of Athena is a worthy sequel to Book of Dead. If it is to become another classic, however, is yet to be seen.
Adventurer Rich Wilde makes a fifth appearance in Shield of Athena, a slot that offers raw playability and no-nonsense gameplay.