Sword of Khans (Thunderkick): Overview
Here is today’s odd fact. Under the ambitions Khans, the Mongol Empire grew to be one of the biggest the world had ever seen. From China, Mongolia, Russia, and into Europe. In fact, Genghis Khan was so good at conquering, and its associated activities, that a 2003 genetic analysis revealed that 8% of the male population living in the region of the former Mongol empire are his direct descendants. That translates to roughly 1 in every 200 males alive the was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. And that was back in 2003, who knows what the number has mushroomed to now? This brings us to Sword of Khans which is a slot set back when the fearsome Mongol horde ruled the a significant part of the world. What is might not be so obvious at first glance, is that Sword of Khans from Thunderkick is more or less another 'Book' slot – with a twist that injects a touch of life into the series.
Play takes place in fairly familiar surroundings. We get sun blazed mountains in the background framing a pagoda style building on which sits the 5x3 reel setup. Visually it has similarities to Divine Lotus which Thunderkick released recently, though mechanically they are miles apart. Play begins by selecting the appropriate bet level which can be anything from 10 p/c up to £/€100 a pop. Thunderkick has practically maxed out the volatility which has been rated 9.4/10, though the RTP is lower than we typically see from them at 95.38%. A hangover from recent regulation changes perhaps.
Wins are formed by landing at least three low pay, or two high pay symbols on the 10 paylines. The low pay symbols are standard 10 – A royals devoid of much personality and which could be used in any game. The high pay symbols are more theme orientated and include spears and shield, body armour, helmet, and a Genghis character. As you would expect, the Mongol leader leads the way with 5 of a kind worth 250 times the stake. Good value symbols provide satisfaction during the base game, though the high volatility can make it tough. As always with 'Book' slots, it’s all about the free spins and those juicy expanding symbols.
Sword of Khans (Thunderkick): Features
If you have played Book of Ra Deluxe or one its many imitators, you will more or less know what we are going to say. But hang around, Thunderkick has made one alteration that is worth the time to check out. Instead of a book, this time we get a sword, which is slightly unorthodox since the Mongol weapon of choice was the composite bow. On a side note, their bows could fire arrows twice as far as their enemies could which provided an enormous advantage. Even more so considering how well they could shoot from a moving horse. Anyway, back to the sword, which is both the wild and the scatter. As a wild, it can substitute for any pay symbol in the game except for expanding symbols.
Land 3, 4, or 5 sword symbols to win 2x, 20x, and 200x your bet, as well as trigger the bonus round. The number of Free Spins you receive for the round could be 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 or 15 – the number is randomly selected. If two or more scatters land during the round, then a random number of free spins is added to the remaining total. Every time the feature is triggered or retriggered, a symbol is picked at random as a Special Expanding Symbol. When the required number of special symbols land (2 high pay, 3 low pay) they expand to take over a whole reel. Wherever they are on the grid, they form winners.
Now the 'new' twist comes about from retriggers - more than one symbol can be selected special at the same time. Yes, we saw that with Book of Ra Magic, Magic Mirror Deluxe, Legacy of Dead and Rise of Merlin which could have up to 9 expanding special symbols once. Thunderkick has taken it one step further by adding a multiplier. If a symbol gets chosen that is already special, a multiplier of up to x3 will be added to it. Fill the grid with 5 expanded symbols and the multiplier on max and the game is capable of dishing up 10,000 times the stake in one spin. So you don’t lose track, the game has a handy bar along the bottom of the reels which displays the symbols that are special and any multipliers.
Sword of Khans (Thunderkick): Verdict
Thunderkick are one of those software companies that consistently turn out well-crafted slots. Sword of Khan’s graphics are on point without being amazing, and the gameplay is guaranteed to entertain. Partly because its Book of Ra style spinning that has stood the test of time, partly because the extra twists make it a desirable alternative. Sword of Khans proves once again that slots don’t have to be completely novel, but one original feature can make a well-used idea feel relatively fresh. We are talking of course about the additional multiplier during the free spins which take the game’s payout capability to the next level.
On the not so positive side is that RTP which is a little on the low side. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is lower than we are accustomed to from Thunderkick. What will make up for it is an epic Mongol haul of up to 10,000 times the stake. On the whole, what is on offer here will provide enough thrill and reward to keep most hardcore gamers happy. No it’s not completely new, but that’s okay. What made Ra great was the expanding symbols during free spins which Thunderkick has retained while adding enough novelty to give Sword of Khans relevance.
Sword of Khans contains the same shallow entertainment and relentless volatility that has existed in the book genre for years.