In the autumn of 2019, Playtech announced that they were releasing Kingdoms Rise, a brand new game suite that initially featured three new online slot games Forbidden Forest, Sands of Fury and Guardians of the Abyss.
Playtech took a real jump into the unknown by pumping its resources into not only developing a brand new slot series but creating an entire fantasy universe that features original characters and stunning locations, all with their own rich backstories.
Two years later the slot series has continued to evolve into something much bigger than the initial three games that debuted on October 24, 2019… We’re asking what makes the Kingdoms Rise series so unique, and can we look back and consider it a commercial success today?
Kingdoms Rise – iGaming’s first interconnected slot series
The Kingdoms Rise slot series is truly unique because it’s interconnected in more ways than one. Firstly, players can jump between games by clicking an interactive map.
This map is a completely fleshed out world that spans across multiple continents with different biomes, so you could be jumping from a game set in the harsh frozen mountains one moment, a lush elven forest enclave next and a pirate ship after that.
To date, there are ten online slots available to play from the Kingdoms Rise map, each featuring a host of unique characters hailing from one of the many in-depth fantasy kingdoms.
The other element that ties all ten games together is the Features Shop, the ‘driving force’ behind the series, which offers players the opportunity to buy bonus features… Not with real money, but Game Tokens instead, which are earned when playing any Kingdoms Rise slot.
Players can earn up to 15 game tokens per spin, these tokens are shared across all 10 games, so if you earned 645 tokens whilst playing Kingdoms Rise: Shadow Queen then you’ll still have 645 tokens when playing Kingdoms Rise: Chasm of Fear… The only condition is that these tokens are strictly linked to one casino account, so you couldn’t play Kingdoms Rise on two different sites and carry over your tokens.
Tokens are used to automatically trigger the bonus features in any of the Kingdoms Rise games… Whether or not this breaks the rules relating to the UK Gambling Commission’s ban on Feature Buys, we’re not quite sure, but as of today, the Features Shop is still available to UK players… So we can only assume that Playtech has found a clever workaround?
What makes the Kingdoms Rise series so popular?
If we had to pinpoint the main thing that makes Kingdoms Rise so successful it’s definitely the features shop. Whilst online slots require patience… Most online slot players are not that patient, so the ability to jump straight into the action is just too good to ignore.
It’s entirely plausible that players can earn enough game tokens to trigger one of five different bonus features in just 20 spins (if they’re playing at one of the higher stakes)… Whilst it’s not foolproof, it’s likely that this is significantly faster than it would be to trigger the bonus on their own through standard gameplay.
With 29 different bonus features available to trigger for between 300 and 4,000 tokens there’s an abundance of choice, high rollers can trigger the most lucrative bonus feature in the entire series in less than 300 spins. If they’re lucky enough to trigger any bonuses naturally in the lead up then they’ll earn the required amount of game tokens even faster.
Another thing that makes this series so popular is the sheer variety offered in each and every Kingdoms Rise slot, Playtech has created each game so that no one is the same. Some slots have 10 or 20 paylines, others have thousands… There are even slots in the series that ditch the traditional reels in favour of cluster pays mechanics.
Finally, the greatest pulling power the Kingdoms Rise series has is its networked progressive jackpots. All of the slots feature three jackpots, a Power Strike Jackpot that must pay by 2,000, a Daily Strike Jackpot that must pay by the end of every day and an Epic Jackpot, which can offer players the chance to win life-changing sums of money.
Was Kingdoms Rise the successor to Age of the Gods?
Some industry insiders and online slot enthusiasts have speculated whether Kingdoms Rise was a like for like replacement for the Age of the Gods series, because let’s be honest, whilst the god-based mythical-themed slots are legendary, they’ve not aged too well.
There’s a lot of crossover between the two series, both feature ancient heroes, terrifying monsters, and powerful Kings and Queens… Most notably, both online slots have huge networked progressive jackpots that can net players some serious cash.
Has Playtech got the manpower to maintain two similar series alongside one another, as well as create new online slots on a month-by-month basis?
There’s been no indication from Playtech as to whether Age of the Gods’ time in the spotlight has come to an end, but you have to wonder if they’re going to quietly stop making new slots… There are no new games planned, but does that matter when the old slots are still so popular?
Kingdoms Rise feels like a spiritual successor to Age of the Gods, but whether it was officially planned to spearhead the Playtech brand instead, we’ll probably never know.
What’s happening with Kingdoms Rise right now?
There’s another mystery to be solved when it comes to Playtech and Kingdoms Rise. The last game to be released in the series was Battle Beast, which arrived in casinos in February 2021… Since then there’s been radio silence with regards to what’s next.
Usually, that wouldn’t be any cause for concern… It can take months, if not years for new slot games to come to fruition, however, sometime between February 2021 and today, the official Kingdoms Rise website disappeared from the internet entirely… Redirecting players to the Playtech website instead.
Hardcore Kingdoms Rise fans (or anyone that had visited the site) will have seen for themselves just how much information that site held, it contained the biographies of more than 30 in-game characters, information on the game-world and even featured a progressive jackpot tracker.
Looking at the Kingdoms Rise map in-game, it’s quite clear that there are plenty of named areas that were designed to play host to new Kingdoms Rise slots in the future (such as Stonegrow, Dark Strait and Grand Coast), but will they ever arrive? Who knows… The silence is deafening.
Has Kingdoms Rise been a success so far?
Ultimately, we believe the Kingdoms Rise series has been a success up until this point. The PR and hype surrounding the game suite in the early days was unrivalled, players were keen to get stuck in and Playtech couldn’t bring out new slots fast enough, such was its popularity there was even live casino spin-off games.
However, the hype train seems to have slowed down considerably, it may even have come to a complete halt, and that’s down to a lack of communication on Playtech’s part… However, we can’t see the numbers these slots generate, so we can’t say for certain that players have moved on from the series and onto pastures new.
If players are still playing the original Age of the Gods slot with as much enthusiasm as they were in 2016, then players will still be playing Kingdoms Rise slots as well.
Personally, we think these games are a lot of fun and there aren’t any other slot series out there that go into as much depth as these do, we truly hope we haven’t seen the last of them.