Free Empress of The Jade Sword slot
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Empress of The Jade Sword slot is another example of Microgaming trying to diversify by providing games from smaller developers, an example being Monster Wheels from Just For The Win. In this case (ironically) the developer is Bla Bla Bla Gaming, a term I often thought while playing recent Microgaming releases. So in this case we see many similarities in theme to their older Asian Beauty slot, with various pretty Empresses making up the characters and rather better graphics on transparent reels with cherry blossom trees in the background and the obligatory Oriental music as we play. We must find out whether they will put our bankroll to the sword!
On the reels...
The game is a standard 5 reels of 3 rows each over which we have 20 fixed paylines. Symbols are single and non-multiplying Jade Wilds appear on all reels which not only pay the best award of 25x your 20-coin stake for a full 5-of-a-kind win, but when involved in a win will stick for the next spin, only once regardless of whether that spin wins or not. The Empress and Warrior pay the same as Jade Wilds at 25x bet for the full 5, the Young Empress 15x, Scroll, Serpent and Fan 2x with four card values at either 35 or 30 coins.
You see 2 different scatters on all 5 reels of Empress of The Jade Sword slot although annoyingly they look the same with a Ninja in between a few lanterns. This means that when the 'heartstopper' occurs with 2 in view and the slow spin, the other type may land and lead you to think you've hit a feature when in fact it's the 'bonus' as opposed to the 'scatter' version of the symbol!
Anyway, if you do land 3 Bonus symbols there is a pick-me round where you select warriors for cash awards and multipliers and pick until 'collect' is hit. The awards for each are in the 3-10x bet range in the main so you can collect a decent win here, especially if a multiplier is selected too.
Three scatter symbols will trigger 8 free games with a couple of enhancements: firstly, the premium three icons will appear fully-stacked on all reels thus giving the chance of a full screen paying up to 500x bet and secondly any Jade Wild appearing next to a mid-range symbol (Scroll, Serpent or Fan) will change that into a Jade Wild too. You may retrigger them although with the stacked symbols in the free spins there doesn't appear to be much room for these scatters!
Empress of The Jade Sword slot is fine as far as graphics, animations and sound effects go and as always with these smaller developers exceed the usual Microgaming quality. The game mechanic is pretty mediocre though with nothing outstanding at all, the same going for the RTP of just under 96%. Decent base game hits are rare and even then limited to 25x bet in reality and the free games I found utterly awful every time. It's rare to play a slot and look forward to the pick-me bonus more than the free spins! In summation, I cannot think of a single reason to play Empress of The Jade Sword slot ever again, but I can think of a very good one not to - those confusing bonus and scatter icons...