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First came the Black Knight online slot — no, not the famous Monty Python figure who intoned “’Tis only a flesh wound!”
This is a popular slot by WMS that took on the medieval theme and brought it to a wider audience.
Well, given the popularity that the original slot enjoyed, WMS decided that the Black Knight needed a second outing as the Black Knight II.
Let’s take a look at how this later slot shapes up both against the original and the competition.
Overview: Black Knight II
The original Black Knight slot was a 5×3 reel game with 30 paylines, but in the sequel WMS have upped the number of paylines in play to 40.
Once again, you can wager any amount of money you like by increasing or decreasing both the number of paylines in play and the size of coin you want to wager on each payline.
The minimum bet is just $0.01, while the maximum bet is $40 per spin.
You can also switch between the classic betting screen, where you select your bet per line and the number of paylines individually, or you can click on the Quick Bet screen, which has a number of predefined buttons offering bets of different levels you can click to spin.
WMS have given the slot a bit of a facelift. While the original Black Knight looks a little dated now graphically, the newer version, while still no technical marvel, looks sharper and cleaner with clearer graphics.
However, it is disappointing that the company have yet to improve on the somewhat generic and ill-fitting sound effects used in the game.
Who will the Black Knight II slot appeal to?
If you are a fan of the original Black Knight online slot, then this sequel will heartily appeal.
It shares many of the same features and even has a similar look and sound, albeit with markedly updated graphics. The 10 additional paylines will also allure, especially since the ability to tailor your bet completely has been retained.
Black Knight II will appeal to almost all New Jersey online slot fans.
The theme is appealing, and the free spins bonus game and stacked symbols features will also bring in players who like these elements. Plus, the rare fact that the wild symbol can act as a scatter symbol should also be a reason for many players to have a go at this game.
Gameplay: Black Knight II
The look of the slot is quite familiar and will be instantly recognizable to players of the original slot. The playing card symbols are the low value symbols on the reels with a number of medieval instruments and characters, including a jester, queen, and king, among the higher value symbols on the reels.
Best of all, every higher value symbol in the game, including the wild symbol, is stacked on the reels. This can help create some decent base game wins, especially when used in conjunction with a stacked wild.
The king is the highest paying symbol in the game and offers up to 500 coins to be won in the base game, with the jester and queen offering half that as their biggest win.
You can also win with two kings on a winning payline, rather than three, which is a nice bonus.
In addition to these symbols, there are two other symbols that unlock the best features of the game. The first of these is the wild symbol, which is the Black Knight himself. This symbol is stacked and can cover an entire reel in the base game, but usually it will occupy one or two sectors on a reel.
Unusually, the wild substitutes for all symbols in the game, including the feature symbol, which means it can help trigger the bonus attributed to that.
The feature symbol is the crossed swords over a shield, which are presumably the Black Knight’s weapons of choice.
Land three or more of these across the reels and you can unlock the free spins round, though remember, the wild symbol if landed on a reel in position can substitute for the feature symbol, too. You receive seven free spins, but no multiplier is attached.
When you hit the free spins round, the reels change color, and when the round begins, all the wilds in the game become Sticky Wilds.
This means any wild that lands on the reels during the free spins section will expand to cover that entire reel for the duration of the free spins round. If you can land two or three reels wild early on in free spins, some massive wins are possible.
Special features: The Black Knight II
Stacked high symbols and wilds
During the base game and the free spins round, all the high value symbols in the game are stacked on the reels up to four symbols high, including the wild symbol.
This can help land multiple payline wins on a single spin, especially when a wild symbol lands on the first two reels.
Free spins round
Land three or more feature symbols starting on reels one, two, and three, and you trigger seven free spins. During free spins, any wild symbol landed will expand to cover the reel and remain in place for the duration of the free spins round.
Wild substitutes for feature
Black Knight II is a rarity in that the wild symbol can substitute for the feature symbol, three of which across the first three reels of the slot will trigger the free spins bonus round.
This allows you a chance at winning some of the larger sums of money available on the slot.
There’s a vast improvement on the graphics in the Black Knight II. The symbols are sharper, more defined and look far more becoming of a 21st century slot.
The addition of 10 extra paylines to the slot helps you feel that you may have more chance of success on every spin.
Wilds in free spins
The Sticky Wilds in free spins was a popular feature in the original game, and it works exceptionally well in the sequel too.
If you can hit two, or even better, three, across the reels during free spins, you can ramp up some huge wins.
Sound still commonplace
The same generic background noises with the unusual (and annoying) sound effects on the reel spins don’t really add anything to the atmosphere of the slot.
A little more imagination and creativity here would have helped the slot considerably.
Free spins payouts vary wildly
Hitting the free spins round can take time and money, but even when you do, a big win is by no means guaranteed. You can win large amounts and very small ones too, no bigger than a base game win.
Small base game wins
Most of the base game wins you receive are generally small, and often smaller than your total bet. This can prove draining if you hit the slot when it is not paying out.
Graphics and soundtrack: 2/5
There’s no doubt that the graphics on the Black Knight II are a marked improvement over the original.
Alas, technically it still doesn’t compare to some modern slots, and it is dispiriting that the same uninspired sound effects are used in the game.
Originality and creativity: 2/5
I’ve given this slot a bit of additional credit for added paylines and enhanced graphics, but the rest of the slot is very much the same. That’s a tad regrettable.
While retaining the Sticky Wilds in the free spins round is a good idea, the game just isn’t different enough to the original to improve on that mark.
Play value: 2/5
The base game jackpot is smaller in the Black Knight II, probably due to an increased number of paylines, but this isn’t a low variance game.
Wins are typically small when you do hit in the base game, but you can recoup a lot of money with a less frequent big win or by hitting the free spins round with the Sticky Wilds feature.
Jackpot potential: 2/5
With a smaller jackpot than the original, the potential for big wins isn’t as great as on the original game.
That’s a bit of a letdown and sees the game lose a mark compared to the original.
Repeat play: 3/5
Despite some of the reservations outlined above, I think Black Knight II is a much-improved game on the original.
The key to enjoying it is hitting great value during free spins, and if you get that then you’ll be firing this game up time and time again.
Hit the game when it is on a dry spell, though, and you can find it a tad expensive to play.
Total score: 11/25
I think the Black Knight II slot is an upgrade on the original while retaining many of the features that made the first game popular with slots fans. However, the improvements are marginal and largely superficial.
Some of the changes, such as a smaller jackpot, don’t add much to the slot.