There is no shortage of Asian themed slots in the catalog of Aristocrat. Imperial House does have some unique features which make it stand out from the likes of 5 Dragons, Choy Sun Doa or Lucky 88. You’ll find this slot in live casinos around the world, a free-play version is also available as a paid app from the Apple store. Imperial House has not yet made it to online gambling sites, though there are many similarly entertaining titles which have. This slot uses the 243-ways ‘reel power’ setup, which dispenses with win-lines, instead counting any combination starting from the left as a win.
The main symbols in this game are the classics shared by the slots in this genre. The Emperor, palace and golden dragon to name just three. When you hit the free spins round you get to choose where to place a special wild symbol. The multiplier attached to this changes depending on where you place it.
Sounds from this game include the familiar clicking noise which all Aristocrat slots share when the reels come to a stop. There is an oriental theme tune, which is much more polished than some of the computer beep sounds on other Aristocrat titles. You’ll also get a gong sound for certain wins. The graphics are nothing special by today’s standards – though the game-play is solid.
Before you start to spin the reels, you’ll need to set up your bet sizing. Since there are no win-lines in the old sense, you’ll do this with a coin size and multiplier. The controls for both of these are at the bottom of the screen. I recommend you stick with the 243 combinations (no need to disable reels). Before you hit the spin button, you can double check the total amount to be bet in coins above the reels on the left hand side. Remember that casinos will set the default bet higher than most players want to spin for – it is always worth double checking this.
The Emperor is the symbol you want to see in this game. 5 of these on adjacent reels in any position will net you 2000 coins. The cherry blossom tree and golden dragon are worth 800 coins for 5, with the ingot and scroll netting you 300 for a full house. The remaining symbols will be familiar to fans of Aristocrat slots, these are the playing cards ace down to nine.
There are two more symbols of interest. The golden coin is the wild, substituting for any symbol except for the scatter. This appears on reels 2 through 5 only. The scatter is the Palace symbol, this pays a small amount – its main function is to trigger the free spins bonus feature.
You’ll get a fixed 8 free spins for 3 or more of the palace scatter symbols, with no extra benefit beyond the payout for the 4th or 5th symbol. Before you start the bonus round, you get to place a wild symbol onto the reels. This can go anywhere on reels 2 through 5.
When you get a win which includes this symbol, you’ll get a multiplier for that win. This is determined by a ‘pick em’ zodiac graphic. The multipliers you can get will depend on where you place your wild symbol. If you go for reels 2 or 3, you can get a 2x or 3x multiplier. Reel 4 randomly assigns a 2x, 3x or 5x multiplier. Reel 5 adds a 10x to this list.
The balance here is between more wins with a lower multiplier (you will hit more winning combinations for reels 2 and 3) – or fewer wins with the chance of a bigger multiplier.
This feature can be retriggered, with the whole thing starting from scratch once your first bonus is over.
This is more than a generic Asian themed slot, the 243-ways play and chance to determine the volatility of the bonus round make it stand out from the crowd. Graphics look a little dated, though for me this did not affect the playability of the game. Imperial Palace is not yet online. A similar slot which can be played for real money online is Geisha – with 50 Dragons another up to date alternative.