The Changing Face of Slot Machines. Today: Castle Builder II

Slot machines were once the most attractive and profitable games a Las Vegas casino could deploy. On one hand, they need no assistance - they are completely automatic, swallowing coins and paying out with no operator needed. On the other, they were attractive to the audience. For years, people would flock to newly opened casinos to try their new slot machines. What's with the past tense, you might ask? Well, the last few years have seen a measurable fall in slot machine popularity in Vegas. The reason for this is the change of generations: millennials are not interested in games as simple as slot machines, choosing other, more challenging games instead. According to statistics, Vegas casinos have seen a 20% drop in slots revenues in the seven years between 2007 and 2014. This was a telltale sign that something had to change - either the casinos or the slots themselves. Plans were made to create new games, incorporating more than just spinning reels and bonuses in a new generation of games of chance. Rabcat, an Austrian game developer, has, in turn, showed the world that you can leave the spinning reels intact and still deliver an exciting game to players. The game, presented at this year's ICE Totally Gaming (at the Microgaming bar) is called Castle Builder II.

A new kind of slot machine

Merging slot machines with video games is not an easy task. To play slots at 7Sultans online casino is mostly a passive activity (is this even a word?) - players just sit there, with their phones in hand, and spin the reels as automatons. Last year, a lucky Scot hit a massive jackpot on a mobile slot machine while watching TV - this tells a lot about the nature of the game. Most 7Sultans slots are the same - they can be left on "Autoplay", and their players won't lose much of the action. But Castle Builder, one of the most successful 7Sultans games, was different: instead of focusing on the wins, it directed its players' attention on gathering materials to build a castle, and instead of making them crave for free spins, it made them wait for the castle to be ready (and the "building" bonus to be paid off). Now, in turn, Rabcat is preparing to unleash the game's sequel, simply called "Castle Builder II". The name doesn't say much about the profound changes the developer put the game through, though, turning it into a new kind of slot machine.

Online only

Castle Builder II is a unique combination of elements, making it stand out from the crowd of the other 7Sultans games. First of all, it has three builders players can choose from - one experienced old-timer with better building skills and higher completion bonuses, one enthusiastic youngster with Free Spins, and a third one that needs to be unlocked by building all castles in all kingdoms of the realm. The slot machine part is pretty much the same as in the original game, yet focusing even more on gathering resources: players need to collect racks of building materials to be able to complete the castle and pocket their bonus. During the game, players gather experience points, unlock achievements, and reach new levels of expertise. In short, Castle Builder II is more like a social game than a slot machine, which makes it pretty attractive for any player category. For now, Castle Builder II will only be available online - built in HTML5, it will run on pretty much any computer and mobile device with a web browser. Whether it manages to make it into the world of land-based casinos remains to be seen.