The Great Wall (iSoftBet): Overview
When you hear the words ‘The Great Wall’, there is only wall on the planet they can refer to. Yes, iSoftBet has just added a new title to the bulging Asian themed slot category, and the result manages to take the theme in a slightly new direction. Players will be au fait with the looks and sounds, yet iSoftBet has created a new dynamic that perfectly combines both theme and features.
The Great Wall of China is over 21,000 km long and one of the most impressive structures ever built. Its most famous and picturesque sections were constructed by the Ming Dynasty - the parts you see in most tourist photos. Interestingly, in promotional photos, it's always empty. Visit in real life, and you can barely squeeze through the crush of tourists. It is this part of the wall that we get in The Great Wall game. It’s not just there for its good looks either but works hand in hand with the extras.
The look is classically Asian, though there is little in the way of red, green, and gold trim, and the use of dragons is nicely restrained. The action takes place outdoors where the 5x3 grid sits before the Great Wall, which scrolls left to right in the background. There are 8 base games symbols - J, Q, K, A, and four themed symbols. These are three coins tied together, an gold box, three warriors, and an Empress. Don’t get too attached to her, she is worth the most at 15 times the stake for five of a kind but is rather elusive.
Players set wagers from 20 p/c up to £/€20 per spin, which is divided over 20 fixed paylines to calculate wins. The game is highly volatile, which can lead to a number of dead spins while it warms up and gets to the good stuff. At times the top, high pay symbols, seem to land less frequently than the Emperor who triggers the extras.
The Great Wall (iSoftBet): Features
As the game trundles on, the Wall in the background moves along with it. Lining the top of the wall, on each of the battlements is some form of reward. Known as The Great Wall feature and triggered by the scatter symbol, these rewards line up with a reel and offer instant prizes and free spins. When a spin ends with the Emperor in view, the prize above that specific reel is awarded. You will know when he is on the way too - he doesn’t pop up silently from nowhere. The grid shakes, vibrates, shines, to let you know and build tension over which reel he will land on.
The Emperor is also the key to unlocking the bonus round. If he lands on a reel with Free Spins above it then 10 are awarded. Gameplay during the free spins is basically the same as the main game, with a couple of expansions. Now the prizes above the reels are a lot more lucrative with a top prize of 2,000 times the stake up for grabs. Free spins can also be added, and one of the juiciest parts is the Double Win prize. As the name suggests, land this, and it literally doubles whatever you have won from the free spins instantly. Super handy to have on the final free spin, and insanely intense when one is on the reels and you know an Emperor is on the way.
The Great Wall (iSoftBet): Verdict
As far as Asian themed slots go The Great Wall is a breath of fresh air in a stuffy category. It uses familiar scenery and symbols, without resorting to too many clichés from the genre. It’s not completely immune, but it feels relatively novel. The main driver of its originality is the use of the Great Wall as the background and its incorporation into the gameplay. It fits seamlessly with the way rewards are won, and brings the game to life with the guards that walk across it. One downside is due to the gameplay being the same during base and bonus game. It can get a little repetitive after the novelty has worn off. But on the whole, fans of the genre will appreciate what iSoftBet has come up with.
There is never any doubt that you are playing an Asian themed slot but it’s not saturated in the overused colour schemes and symbology that can crop up in these types of games. It goes to show that developers don’t need to use (too many) dragons, frogs, or turtles to ensure users know they are playing an Asian themed game. Of course, both styles have their place, but it is refreshing to step out of a smoky Macau gambling den for some outdoor action.
Now, the Emperor might look happy go lucky, but this is not a gentle game. There can be downtimes that will test the resolve of the hardiest of gamblers. There are rewards here though if you can ride it out and roll with the generous side of its volatility. During the base game, prizes max out at 1,000 times the stake, while that figure is upped to a total of 8,297 times the stake during free spins. Those looking for a challenging yet potentially rewarding game will certainly find that here.
The Great Wall takes few risks with its setting or gameplay, but it does what it does well enough to be enjoyable.