By Alex Smith May 4, 2023
Rise of Merlin Review
With an abundance of “Book of” games flooding the online gambling market, we’re always happy to see software providers showcasing creativity and offering something slightly different. Rise of Merlin is a slot from Play’n Go.
The slot is based mainly around their Book of Dead mechanic but with some attractive (and potentially very profitable) new mechanics.
In this Rise of Merlin slot review, we’re going to look at what you can expect when you play Rise of Merlin for yourself.
Which Online Casinos Play Rise of Merlin?
Play n Go is one of the biggest names in the online gambling world, and they’ve cemented themselves as a true market leader thanks to releases like Book of Dead, Wild Frames and Reactoonz.
Book of Dead is arguably their most successful slot release to date, attracting the attention of millions of players every year. Rise of Merlin is a game designed to be a follow-on, in some ways, although it offers a slightly different mechanic, designed to vary up the main bonus round and change how the bonus spins play.
Besides how the expanding symbol feature acts, the first significant difference is the theme. Unlike the explorer theme, which we’re used to seeing in most “Book Of” slots, Rise of Merlin uses a very different and unique Merlin the Wizard theme. It’s one we’ve seen in some online video slots in the past, but it’s a theme that’s nowhere near as famous as the explorer one.
Accompanying this new theme is a plethora of crisp HD Merlin symbols and animations, such as an owl, a white dragon, a red dragon, and Merlin himself. When putting this Rise of Merlin slot review together, it’s fair to say we were impressed with the work Play’n Go has done.
The game looks great, is easy to play, and offers you the chance to win up to 5,000X your stake.
Betting and Game Options
Play n Go likes to make sure that players on all budgets can enjoy their games. That’s why all of their slots (Rise of Merlin included) offer a variety of betting options, allowing those on even the lowest budget to get in on the action.
What’s notable about Merlin Rise is that you can adjust the number of paylines, just like in the original Book of Ra, from Novomatic. That means you can spin the reels for as little as $0.01 per spin.
The slot features a high maximum bet of a whopping 100 credits, so you can play at a stake with which you’re comfortable, regardless of your budget.
In terms of in-game options, Play’n Go has included its signature quickspin mode, activated by hitting the lightning bolt symbol in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
Activating this decreases the amount of time it takes between spins and allows you to enjoy roughly double the number of spins every hour.
There’s also an autoplay function Play n Go has built-in, allowing you to set up to 100 spins to play out automatically.
RTP and Volatility
Rise of Merlin is highly volatile, and both online casinos and Play n Go will point out that the game is one of the most volatile releases around.
This means the base game can be brutal on your balance, so always try to make sure that you’re playing at a level you’re comfortable with. Of course, a high volatility slot isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s something we’re seeing an increasing number of players actually look for when choosing which online slot to play.
But be aware that failure to trigger the Merlin free spins feature can mean that your balance decreases pretty fast. When it comes to RTP, like all Play’n Go slots, Rise of Merlin comes with flexible RTP settings.
This means that casinos can choose whether to offer a higher or lower RTP version of the game. If you’re going to play Rise of Merlin for yourself, you should always ensure you’re playing the highest RTP version of the video slot to ensure you’re getting the most value for your money.
By the way, the default RTP of Rise of Merlin is 96.58%, which is actually pretty good.
Symbols and Payouts
No Play’n Go slot would be complete without a solid paytable. As in Book of Dead, Rise of Merlin offers a payout worth 500X your stake for lining up a 5-of-a-kind combo of the game’s top symbol — Merlin himself.
Several other premium symbols accompany him, and the video slot opts to use playing card values to represent the low-value symbols.
Bonuses and Features
Rise of Merlin is, arguably, all about the main bonus game. This game is triggered by landing three or more of the Crystal Ball scatter symbol icons anywhere in view during the base game.
We’ll take a look at this bonus game — and the gamble feature the game offers — below:
Free Spins feature
Land three of the Crystal Ball scatters anywhere in view, and you’ll get eight free spins. Before these free spins play out, one of the symbols is chosen at random to become a special expanding symbol.
This special expanding symbol will then expand, regardless of where it lands in view during the bonus. It’s a very similar mechanic to what you’re probably used to seeing in games like Book of Dead and Book of Ra.
Another of the bonus features built into Rise of Merlin is that you can actually retrigger the free spins round to land unlimited free spins. This feature is achieved by landing another three or more scatters anywhere in view. (The scatter also acts as a wild symbol, by the way. The Wild symbol substitutes for all other symbols.)
However, what’s really unique in Rise of Merlin is that unlike in other “Book of” slots where you simply get more spins, another random symbol is chosen, which means you’ll then have two expanding symbols active.
It’s possible to turn all symbols into expanding symbols, which significantly increases the game’s win potential. However, we should point out that Play n Go has chosen to cap the game’s maximum win at 5,000X, which is a bit surprising.
Ideally, you’ll want the premium symbols to transform into the special expanding symbols. Still, even the low-value ones can pay out well if enough land on the screen, so it isn’t the end of the world if your expanding symbol isn’t Merlin or another premium.
Aside from the free spins feature, Rise of Merlin actually offers a gamble bonus, too. You can gamble your winnings from the free spins feature along with those formed in the base game, which gives you the chance to double or quadruple your winnings, depending on which gamble bonus option you take.
Play’n Go’s Rise of Merlin slot is a fantastic addition to their ever-growing portfolio. It’s a refreshing change to the “Book Of” games we’ve become so used to seeing. Similar to Magic Mirror Deluxe, for those who know, this game with a legendary wizard offers lots of fun.
While the free spins bonus only awards you with eight free spins, this is largely made up by the fact that, upon retriggering, you’re not only awarded another eight free spins but another expanding symbol. The slot also appears to have a higher bonus frequency than that of some other similar games.
We like the fact that the bonus spins’ wins can be gambled, too, and the Rise of Merlin slot can produce some very generous wins. Many players already see 1,000X+ hits.
Of course, most of the win potential in Play’n Go’s Rise of Merlin slot is found within the free spins bonus. During the base game, there are no reel modifiers or expanding wilds, so you’re pretty much looking to land the free spins bonus.
Still, the Rise of Merlin slot is a great effort from Play’n Go and helps to diversify their already outstanding portfolio.
Our only criticism, perhaps, is that the base game could benefit from more bonus action, as you are basically relying on the free spins bonus to drop in. But players who know what these games are all about likely will be prepared for what’s in store for them, so if you’re one of the new players trying out the slot, be aware that it is very volatile!
Rise of Merlin Review FAQs
The free spins bonus in the game is triggered by landing three, four or five of the scatter symbols anywhere in view. You will then receive eight free spins, and it’s possible to win more free spins from the bonus, too. To achieve this, you need to land another three or more scatter symbols anywhere in view. The free spins can also be referred to as “Bonus Spins,” for your information.
Most of the best casino sites will offer their new players welcome bonus or deposit bonus offers. If you choose to claim casino bonuses, you’ll usually be able to use the bonus on the slot. However, you should be aware of any deposit bonus terms and conditions. These can include max bet rules and payment exclusions (typically Skrill, Neteller and PayPal), and there will also be wagering requirements attached. New players should read the full terms and conditions and remember to gamble responsibly.
Most online casinos will offer a max bet of $100 and a minimum bet of just $0.01. However, due to the volatile game nature, some sites may choose to have a lower max bet to decrease their financial liability. This lower max bet is simply because the high-paying nature of the slot means it could make their deposit bonuses prone to abuse.