At a time when many slot makers are adding crazy in-reel features and break-out bonuses, Rabcat has created a genuinely unique format with Castle Builder. The reels are over on the right hand side of the screen, with the left dominated by huge castles which you build up by hitting certain symbols. There are 3 castles to build, with each being followed by a royal wedding bonus round, where you’ll win one of 3 pots that accumulate during the building process.
My first impression of the reels is that they are a little on the small side. There are not too many symbols (the royal family), which makes it easy enough to follow the action. The background graphics are the stand-out element; detailed castles which grow as you play are beautifully drawn. The buttons and controls are made to look like flags and a shield, which is a nice touch. Sounds include classical music, which really moves up in intensity as you get close to completing each castle. Reels stop with a stone-like clunk, and there are hammer and chisel type noises as a new turret is added to your castle too.
After you complete a bonus; the pick-em game kicks in. This is very straightforward, you just have to choose a suitor for the princess getting married and are assigned a prize based on this. Once you complete your 3 castles, you get to build some other buildings, for example the royal summer residence.
Underneath all of the extra features this is a 5 reel, 3 row video slot with 15 (selectable) win-lines. You can bet from 1c per line up to $1, for a $15 max spin. I really like the ‘fast play’ option which can be found via auto-play (the ‘A’ under the spin button). This is super-fast, and you’ll see your castles springing up in no time.
There are plenty of regular prizes on the reels while you play. The best regular symbol is the locked castle door, which is worth 20,000 coins for 5 on a line, and 2,000 for just 4. Next is a treasure chest, worth 1,000 for 5, with a smaller chest and pot coming in at 500 and 250 coins respectively. The royals are next, making up the smaller wins.
Wilds are the castle builder himself, an old guy. These substitute for the regular symbols above, though not the special builder symbols. These are tools, and give you pieces of your castle each time you get 2+ on a win line. There are different colours which can award up to 5 pieces of castle at once.
Each time you hit a win, a 4 leafed clover from the bottom left of the screen pops up and shows your prize.
Building an elaborate ancient castle is the main focus for this game. You’ll do this by hitting the tools symbols on win lines during regular play. The castles (and later stately homes) grow in front of you on the left of the screen. There is also a meter at the top, which shows your progress towards completion.
One thing to keep in mind is that the size of the pick-em prizes when you complete a castle means that you’ll be reluctant to stop playing when you are almost there. It is worth making sure you have some money spare in case this happens - to avoid frustration later.
The pick-em games show you a princess, and then 3 ‘suitors’ to choose from (as the king) to marry her. These are an odd bunch, and include cats, frogs and what appears to be a leper, along with knights and princes. The money awarded comes from one of three totals which you will see accumulating above your castle as you play. You also get to see the totals for the ones you did not choose after your pick.
After completing the initial 3 castles, you’ll get an ‘Emperors Medal’ which has another cash award. Next you move on to the next phase, which is to complete a set of smaller buildings within your kingdom. The same pick-em game occurs after each of these buildings. Since they are smaller than the castles, the turn-around is faster (though the total prizes for the pick-ems is smaller).
Rabcat are making big waves in the online slot world and are already a fixture at many Swiss online casinos, as well as those in Germany. I’m always happy to see innovation in the world of slots, especially when this is in a completely different direction to what many of the software houses are doing. Castle Builder adds an engaging element of game-play while you watch your castle come together. The larger prizes when this is completed are worth waiting for too. The pick-em game is a little odd (for example choosing a frog to marry your princess). This does top up your balance nicely.
Wonderful visuals and an imaginative use of sounds make this a must see; check it out for yourself soon!