Imperial Quest (Evolution)

imperial_questThese days, plenty of Live Dealer casino games have perfected the visual presentation of sitting at a world-class casino’s tables.

Gambling by lantern light, though?

That’s a different story!

And that’s where Evolution Gaming’s Imperial Quest asserts its quality. This wheel game is heavily based on their previous hit Dream Catcher, reimagined for gambling fans based in Asia (or who prefer an Asian aesthetic). But just because the most novel element here comes on the visual side, don’t make the mistake of thinking that gaming substance is lacking here!

The truth is quite the opposite. This is a Live Dealer wheel game par excellence, complete with top RTP of 96.58%, a top base game payday of 40x, and stackable win multipliers, which result in an unlimited top payout!

There’s a whole lot to like here, so let’s get into the gory details.

Style as Substance

As we’ve mentioned, this title is more or less an exactly identical duplicate of Dream Catcher… at least when it comes to gameplay. In terms of design, though, it’s a very different animal.

Where Dream Catcher seemed designed to look as much like an American TV game show as possible – the kind you might see on big networks during the daytime – Imperial Quest leans way into an East Asian aesthetic. Instead of charcoal business suits, dealers are decked out in gleaming, jade-colored garb. Where yellow footlights used to contrast with a laser-like blue lattice pattern in the background, soft, red lantern light now shines down on a gold and black background. It’s as though the game were set a lantern celebration after dark.

What’s more, wheel segments are now identified not only by number and color, but by animal as well: peacocks, wolves, monkeys, pandas, and even flowing dragons. On the whole, this visual approach is wildly effective. It feels like not only like a different game entirely from the original, but a different world, too.

But enough about what this game looks like. How does it work?

Nuts and Bolts

nuts_and_boltsWhen it comes to how to play, Imperial Quest is about as simple as titles come. They numbers behind that simplicity are somewhat subtler, though… and perhaps more impressive!

Gameplay is based on that perennial favorite activity, the spinning of a wheel. These kinds of tables have become immensely popular in the Live Dealer era, perhaps because they so closely resemble classic tv gameshows like Wheel of Fortune and The Price is Right. Instead of relying on cards, dice, or RNG-generated numbers to get their gaming results, these kinds of titles rely on the spinning of an actual, physical wheel – like a Roulette wheel, but usually standing up on its side. The Live Dealer physically sets the device in motion to begin play. When and where it stops determines the outcome!

All players have to do is simply select their stake within the overall betting range of $0.10 to $1,000.00, choose which outcome to wager on, and get ready for the action to begin. (This broad set of wager possibilities makes this title a great choice for gamblers of means as well as those working with smaller bankroll sizes.)

There are six number bets available: the higher the number, the greater the potential payout – and less likely that outcome is to win. There are 61 total wheel segments, divided up as follows:

Number Color # of Wheel Segments
1 Yellow 32
2 Blue 15
5 Purple 7
10 Green 4
20 Orange 2
40 Red 1

So far, it would be tempting for players to assume that the numbers behind this game are similar to, say, the odds and probabilities of Roulette.

But, as the following table makes clear, the six different primary bets come with very different levels of house and player advantage:

Number/Bet Payout RTP
1 1x 95.32%
2 2x 95.49%
5 5x 91.21%
10 10x 96.58%
20 20x 92.71%
40 40x 90.78%

You see, the design team clearly went to great pains to ensure that the payout numbers matched conveniently with the number listed on the wheel segment. And that certainly does make the pay table easy to remember!

The problem with this approach is that numbers don’t particularly care about being easy to remember… they add up to the odds they add up to, and when friendly game designers try to make them nice and round, the side effect is that some bets are much friendlier to players than others. And in the context of a game like this, there’s no way for gamblers to know which ones to favor!

That’s where we come in. Having run the numbers, we can say with some authority that the 10 bet carries the best RTP in this game, with the 2 bet and 1 bet coming not far behind. The other bets should be avoided at all times!

Add That Up and Divide by Nine, Please

The fine folks at Evolution went one step further to make sure that players had something to really give this offering an extra bit of spice. That would be win multipliers!

In addition to the numbered wheel segments listed above, there are also two multiplier segments present. One adds a 2x multiplier, and one multiplies wins by a factor of 7. Any time the wheel lands on one of these, the dealer will spin the wheel a second time (without costing the bettor a second wager, of course) – if the second spin should result in a win for players, any resulting payouts will be doubled (or multiplied by 7).

But wait – it gets better.

Though it’s of course statistically unlikely, it’s possible that, after landing on a multiplier tile, the second, free spin could land on a multiplier again. What happens in this scenario, you ask?

Not only to the multipliers stack… they stack multiplicatively, rather than additively!

To put that another way, suppose you wager $1 on the 10 bet – which, remember, is the bet with this game’s top RTP. If the dealer’s first spin lands on the 7x multiplier, and the re-respin lands on 7x again, and the third spin lands on a 10 tile? Since the bonus multipliers are both active, the resulting payout for that single dollar bet is not $10, not $70x, not $140x, but $490!

Theoretically, there’s no limit to the number of times the multipliers could stack. This means that (again, in theory) there is no top payout in this game. High rollers should note, however, that all titles built by this designer have payouts topped at $500,000.00.

The Designer

In the constantly shifting ecosystem of today’s online casino landscape, the fates of individual companies are always rising and falling. And we have to admit that these days, it seems like many seem to be feeling.

Far too many design firms seem to be falling back on old models, releasing uninspired work, and generally slacking off both when it comes to innovation and attention to detail.

For Evolution Gaming? Not so much.

In large part recognized for its innovation in live dealer gaming, the company has introduced a variety of unique and engaging live dealer games that simulate the real casino experience, allowing players to interact with live dealers through video streaming. Whether it’s because of their famously high-quality streaming standards, high level of dealer professionalism, diverse game selection, user-friendly interface, or just good, old-fashioned innovation, Evolution continues to both set industry standards and improve upon their own.

Just one recent example would be their beautifully-made Instant Super Sic Bo release.

Not only did they bring top-tier focus to a game that is still way under-appreciated (and underrated) by many gamblers in Western markets, but they brought their own fresh perspective to it as well! Somehow, they enhanced the play of this literally timeless game, adding exciting win multipliers and potentially massive payouts, while also maintaining the high RTP that makes game such a wildly popular choice in Eastern markets.

What’s more, it’s clear from watching overall trends in the sector that their work acts as a kind of weather vane for other actors in the casino ecosystem. Small firms follow their lead, while larger competitors try to outmaneuver them at every turn. As this company goes, so goes the industry as a whole.

It’s inspiring to watch this company work, and exciting too – especially since it bodes well for the opportunities in the near future, especially for gamblers who have the finger on the pulse of what the business is doing.

We can’t wait to see what their next gaming debuts look like!