It is time to head out onto the high seas and head back to ancient China, where three fearsome generals are keen to take their fleets to war in the 3 Kingdoms - Battle of Red Cliffs slot. Designed by Pragmatic Play, this slot is about the three generals and their seafaring battles as they try to gain dominance over the others.
This is the latest in a long line of east Asian themed slots and to be fair, Pragmatic Play have produced a very interesting slot which mingles some of the more common slot features and bonuses but adds a couple of new features which certainly helps keeps thing fresh and interesting.
So can you defeat the warlords and claim victory in the Battle of Red Cliffs and take away the spoils of war in the form of a big slot win, or will the generals have the last laugh and be the ones that empty your bank roll and send you on the retreat defeated and forlorn? Let's take a closer look at the basics of the slot before we have a look at what the game offers in a little more detail.
Where can I play the 3 Kingdoms - Battle of Red Cliffs slot?
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The presentation of the 3 Kingdoms - Battle of Red Cliffs slot is really quite beautiful. The backdrop is presumably the South China Seas which is framed in a golden sunset and purple skies. On the water, which rolls towards you as you play, you can see a fleet of ships gently bobbing on the tide. The effects are quite superb and the 3D style of the backdrop is hugely effective.
Sat in the middle of the screen are the five reels and at the top of the reels is the progressive feature, which is slightly different to other progressive games and we'll explore how that works in more detail a little later. There's an information tab in the bottom left of the screen and the spin button and auto-play feature on the right.
The music is typically eastern and somewhat uplifting and melodic rather than dramatic and it is a perfect backdrop for the slot. Certainly in terms of presentation 3 Kingdoms - Battle of Red Cliffs hits all the right notes.
What's on the reels?
On the reels are a mix of the usual playing card low symbols. These start at 9 and go through to the ace and they tend to offer somewhat small returns on your bet with three of a kind symbols returning just 5 coins (your bet is 25 coins), and four of a kind earning between 10 and 15 coins. It is only if you hit five of a kind with the low symbols that you'll start to make a profit on your return with payouts from 30 to 40 coins.
There are three mid value objects, a sword, a helmet and a Chinese boat. These offer returns of just 10 coins for three on a pay line, but that increases up to 30 for four and 60 for five on a winning line, which is slightly better value than the lower value symbols.
The three generals are the higher value symbols and these offer payouts of 3 coins for 2 on a pay line between 15 and 30 coins for three, between 50 and 100 for four and from 100 to 200 coins for five on a pay line. These symbols are stacked on the reels to help land multiple pay line wins.
Alongside these standard symbols there are two others on the reel, the Wild and the Scatter symbol which we will cover in more detail below.
The Wild Feature is the red flag and this can substitute for all symbols in the game apart from the scatter symbol. When landed, it can help create one or more additional pay lines and of course, if you land more Wild symbols across the reels on a spin, then your chances of landing a better sized win increase.
Unfortunately, there are no other features or bonuses applied when the Wild lands, it is simply a substitute symbol.
Free Spins Features
The Scatter symbol is the Chinese Pagoda building and this only appears on the first, third and fifth reel in the base game. To trigger free spins, you need to land this symbol on all three reels on a single spin. When you do the Free Spins bonus will begin.
Your first action is to decide which out of the three different free spins rounds you would like to take. Each round offers a different combination of free spins and wild bonuses:
One nice touch of the free spins bonus round is that you can re-trigger the same bonus you have just selected by landing three or more scatter symbols on the first, third and fifth reels on any free spin. If you do then you get the exact same bonus you selected reapplied to your free spin total.
Other Bonus Features
There is one additional feature of the 3 Kingdoms - Battle of Red Cliffs slot that is noteworthy and that is the Spoils of War Progressive feature. This feature is shown at the top of the screen and on every spin, 2% of your total bet is added to the progressive prize fund (apart from during Free Spins when the feature is deactivated).
To trigger the progressive jackpot, you need to collect coins and you achieve this by landing all three of the different Generals on the reels during a single spin. Each time that you land all three generals on the reels in a single spin, you earn one coin. Once you have earned a total of 40 coins, then you trigger the Spoils of War bonus game.
In this bonus game you are presented with a screen consisting of eight envelopes. Each envelope has a different multiplier attached to it. 2x, 4x, 6x, 8, 10x, 20x, 50x or 100x. Pick one envelope to reveal the multiplier that will be applied to your progressive fund to give you your total win. So for example, if your progressive fund is $10 and you hit the 10x multiplier, you'd win $100.
Best Feature of the 3 Kingdoms - Battle of Red Cliffs slot
Of the different features of the slot I think the best aspect of the game is the Free Spins bonus. The fact you have a choice of different features and that they are similar, but still very different to each other means that there is a real strategic choice to be made here as to what is the best game to play. Personally, I felt the Intrigue option offered a slightly better option than the others, but there was little in it at times.
I think we also need to draw attention to the high quality presentation of this slot. The music and backdrop really does help draw you into the game and makes it hugely enjoyable to play and the animations when you land a winning line are also very neatly done.
What does the 3 Kingdoms - Battle of Red Cliffs slot lack?
My biggest disappointment with the 3 Kingdoms - Battle of Red Cliffs slot is the progressive element. This is not a true progressive in that any number of players can play the game and increase the value, but it is simply built up from your play on the game. Which means if you quit before you reach the progressive goal, you lose the progressive pot.
To me this isn't really a true progressive feature, but simply a game feature. In addition, when you pick the envelopes, all too often you tend to hit a smaller amount (below 10x) and that means that the progressive doesn't really amount to anything more than a decent sized win on the slot.
Although I have reservations about the progressive game being called that, I actually liked the feature and I liked a great deal of the 3 Kingdoms Battle of Red Cliffs slot. It is a simple game, beautifully presented with some good features and easy to follow game-play. It is a slot that has enough appeal for the more experienced player, but is also easy enough for a novice player to play. This is a fun slot and has been well thought out and put together very nicely indeed.
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