Did you know that in two millennia of Chinese history, there has been just one woman to rule the country as Empress? Her name was Wu Zetian and she is the subject of Realtime Gaming's latest Asian-themed 5-reel, 25 pay line slot.
It's fair to say that Wu Zetian ruled her country with an iron fist. As well as expanding Chinese boundaries by conquering parts of Korea and other parts of Asia, she was well known for being an outstanding organizer and administrator and one who acted in cold blood, often using her guile and ability to manipulate others to get her way.
Born in the seventh century, she was initially a concubine of the Emperor Gaozong and over the years she managed to gain favor with him until in 655 she became his consort and within five years, partly due to the ill health of the Emperor, she was making the key decisions for his office - effectively running the country.
By 683, the Emperor had passed away and while a new Emperor was appointed, he was effectively subordinate to the Empress Dowager and Regent, which Empress Wu had now become. Wu Zetian ruled until 705 when under pressure and seriously ill, she abdicated her position, she died on the 16th December of that same year.
Her incredible life-story is now the subject of this interesting and unusual eastern-themed slot from Realtime Gaming. Let's take a closer look at how it all works.
Where can I play the Wu Zetian slot?
If you are wanting to try your hand at the Wu Zetian slot from Realtime Gaming, then the place to head to enjoy this game, as well as a large number of other top titles from the developer is Sloto'Cash Casino.
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With a wide selection of top games from Realtime Gaming, including brand new releases as well as the most popular slot and casino games available today, Sloto'Cash Casino is a fine choice for new customers to sign up to. For example if you don't fancy the $4,000 bonus you can opt for a $7,777 Bonus + 300 Free Spins on top! How this particular bonus works is that as a new customer, you can earn this bonus, worth up to $2,000 on your first deposit, then over your next three deposits, you can claim a similar bonus, giving you the chance to earn up to $7,777 in total bonuses.
That’s not all you get though as for a limited time, the site is also offering up to 100 Free Spins for you to play on one of its premier slot games. You can claim additional Free Spins with each of your next three deposits too, meaning that this is a bonus which pays out to customers in two ways.
The presentation of the slot is somewhat standard if you have played almost any Asian-themed slot. The backdrop is what is presumably meant to be a Chinese capital city in the seventh and eighth century and it is shown in soft focus, giving it an almost ethereal feel.
The soundtrack is somewhat predictably Asian-themed but is pleasant enough and certainly won't have you reaching for the mute button within a few minutes, which is always a positive. What is nicely done is the way the reels are presented in the form of a rather ornate pagoda, with two dragons perched either side of the reels.
All the controls of the reels are at the bottom of the screen. All in all the Wu Zetian slot looks and sounds like a typical Asian-themed slot, but does it offer anything beyond that? Let's take a closer look to find out.
What's on the reels?
The first thing to note on this high variance slot is that there are a large number of symbols on the reels when compared to some other games. The lower value symbols are the six playing card low symbols, which range from the 9 through to the Ace and which offer pays ranging from just 5 coins, up to 250 coins.
There are also six other higher value symbols, and these are a range of different artifacts and items that tie in with Wu Zetian, or the Chinese theme of the slot. These symbols pay a higher amount ranging from 20 coins for 3 on a line, up to the maximum base game win of 1,000 coins for landing five of the gold throne symbols.
In addition, the three higher value symbols, the gold throne, the green dragon and the sword, all offer small pays of 5 or 10 coins if you land just two on a single pay line.
Other than these symbols there are just two other symbols on the reels, the Wild and Scatter symbols and these are linked to the games main bonus features as we will explore below.
The rather beautiful Wu Zetian is the Wild symbol in the game and she appears on the second, third, fourth and fifth reels only. Her symbol is used only as a substitute symbol in the game, she does not generate a win on her own, but she can be vital in landing bigger value wins with other symbols.
The Wild is also able to increase in size, as are the other standard symbols, as you will discover when we look at the other bonus features of the slot.
Free Spins features
The Scatter symbol is the Golden Gong and this is the key to accessing the Free Spins bonus game. You need to land three of the Golden Gong across the first, second and third reels (the only reels on which the symbols appear). When you do, you will win a small amount of money but you trigger the Free Spins bonus game.
Contrary to some reviews, you don't earn five Free Spins, but instead you win 15 Free Spins. However, your Free Spins are split into three different groups and for each group of spins the size of the prizes you can win increases.
For the first five spins, the jackpot is the same 1,000 coins you can win in the base game, but for spins 6 to 10 that increases to 2,000 and from spin 11 on wards it becomes 3,000. All other wins with the Golden Throne symbol also increase in value too during Free Spins, so it is the key symbol to land if you want a big win during the bonus feature.
Other bonus features
Although not strictly a standalone bonus feature, one of the key aspects of the slot is that you can land giant symbols anywhere across the reels. On a spin, random symbols will be selected to be these giant symbols and they cover a range of sizes starting at 2x3 but increasing up to 3x5 across the reels.
As such, if you can land these symbols in an advantageous position, especially on the first reel, then these can lead to a sizeable win in the base game as they can trigger wins across multiple of the games 25 pay lines.
However, it should be noted that the Scatter symbol does not appear as a larger symbol, while the Wild symbol can appear as a larger symbol but will not be the largest 3x5 size.
Best feature of the Wu Zetian slot
It is fair to say that Realtime Gaming have given us an Oriental-themed slot with a difference here and the result is somewhat pleasing. The best feature of the slot, in terms of reward value, is definitely the Free Spins bonus game, especially if you can land some of those giant symbols on the reels. However I think that the giant symbols make the game more enjoyable in both the base game and free spins and as such, I think this is the best feature of the slot.
What does the Wu Zetian slot lack?
If there is something that the Wu Zetian slot lacks, then for me it is a randomly triggering base game. While I like the addition of the larger symbols, if you take that away you essentially have a 5-reel slot with a Free Spins bonus game and a Wild symbols, which isn't that exciting nowadays. I feel a randomly triggered base game, especially on a game that offers such a high variance, would have given the player a more enjoyable experience and would have made those spells when you don't hit a win in the base game, more exciting as you could still trigger a different feature.
It's fair to say that Wu Zetian is a ruler in China that was as much feared as she was loved or admired and her Machiavellian ways made her an interesting subject for a slot and Realtime Gaming have produced a very good game to follow her story. Be aware though, this is a higher variance slot and you need to have patience and a healthy bankroll in order to get the best of it. However, with a sizeable jackpot available to win and some nice features, including a generous Free Spins bonus and those super-sized symbols, it is a game which can reward players handsomely, just not too often.
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