When it comes to one of the most iconic animals that symbolizes life in the Far East, and in particular China, few are as recognizable, or universally loved, as the Panda. Now this black and white bear has been the inspiration for Realtime Gaming's latest release, Panda's Gold.
In truth, I'm not quite sure where the 'gold' comes into the equation as the slot is very much based on an oriental theme and of course, the Panda is central to the game. I can only assume that it refers to the big wins, which can be as much as 50,000x your line bet, which are possible in the game.
I only know two facts about Panda's and one is that the eat bamboo (which is no lacking in nutrients that they have to spend almost all-day eating) and the other is their famed reluctance to further their species. In truth, when you look at it like that, it's little wonder Pandas are struggling as they seem to have gone the wrong way on the evolutionary tree.
Still, with their baleful expressions and unique charm, they remain one of the most famous and loved animal species on the planet and a perfect choice to inspire a slot game. Let's now take a look at how the new Panda's Gold slot from Realtime Gaming shapes up.
Where can I play the Panda's Gold slot?
There are a few casinos that will offer Panda's Gold to customers and we know of two that are offering their customers a fantastic sign up offer when they join. First up is Sloto'Cash Casino which will reward their new customers with a huge 200% Matched Deposit Bonus when they make their first deposit into their account.
If you are based in Australia though, then you can also elect to join the fabulous and highly regarded Uptown Pokies casino. This site's new player offer for Australian players is huge with up to $8,888 Pokies Bonus plus 350 Free Spins across your first few deposits on the site.
With both sites offering a wealth of games to pick from, including all the top Realtime Gaming slots, now is the perfect time to sign up with either to claim a great value bonus.
Special offer: 20 Free Spins on Panda's Gold
The presentation of the Panda's Gold slot is somewhat typical of an eastern-themed game. You have the Chinese-style music playing in the background, which is not unpleasant and doesn't really intrude on the game (although the sound effects for wins are more generic). The visuals are also nicely done with an Asian-themed garden complete with water, pagoda's and leaf-shedding trees all visible on screen.
The reels dominate the screen and you have a total of 88 lines on the slot, but you only pay 0.50 per spin, which makes this a great value for money slot to play. The reels are large but nicely animated and have a nice mix of symbols on the reels. All the main controls of the slot are at the foot of the reels and are easy to follow.
What's on the reels?
There are a number of different symbols on the reels and these can be organized into lower value and higher value symbols, plus the Wild and Scatter which are the triggers for the main features of the slot (which we will explore more in the sections below).
The lower value symbols are the playing card symbols and these range from 9 through to the Ace. In truth, I would have liked to have seen something more to do with Panda's or China in general on the reels instead of these playing card symbols, but at least they are instantly recognizable to slot players nowadays as they seem to be included on almost every 5-reel slot.
There are five higher value symbols and these are all things related to Chinese culture and its wildlife and include flowers, a pagoda, Koi carp, a peacock and rather attractive bird (I think it is some form of duck) as the highest value symbol and all of these symbols are nicely designed. The maximum win you can land is five ducks which rewards you with 888 coins on a single line.
The panda chomping on a piece of bamboo is the in game Wild and this is stacked on the third, fourth and fifth reels only. It also lands rather frequently but often does not contribute to a win as you need to get corresponding symbols on the previous reels to do so and that doesn't always happen.
In truth, the lack of Wilds on the first two reels does really impact how enjoyable this game is as you never really feel close to a big win, even if you land two or more full stacked reels of Wilds as the first two reels seldom seem to line up to land you that bigger value win.
The Wilds do play a more significant role in the Free Spins bonus games as we shall explore below.
Free Spins features
To trigger the Free Spins bonuses you need to land three, four or five of the in games Scatters which are the Fortune symbol on the reels. However when you do, unless you land five scatters straight away, you will then trigger the Feature Trigger Re-Spin.
If you land 3 or 4 Scatters then you will have a re-spin of the remaining reels. If you can land another scatter to your number (up to a maximum of five) then you will increase the value of the bonus game you play. If you land three scatters and re-spin to get four, you have one further re-spin to try and land the fifth scatter.
Depending on how many scatters you have after the Feature Trigger Re-Spin you will trigger one of three bonus features.
Players can re-trigger a further 9 Free Spins if you land three or more scatters during the Free Spins bonus round.
Other bonus features
There are no additional bonus features on the Panda's Gold slot other than those outlined in the sections above.
Best feature of the Panda's Gold slot
For me he best feature of the Panda's Gold slot is the fact that when you do eventually trigger the Free Spins round, you then get another re-spin to try and land a fourth scatter and then if you land this, you get another re-spin to try and land a fifth. If you can land the additional Scatters then you trigger more lucrative Free Spins bonus games with better bonus features and higher value multipliers. This does give Free Spins an added edge and is a very clever way to keep players interested, while giving them a fair crack to improve the bonus they have just won.
What does the Panda's Gold slot lack?
For me the biggest omission on this slot is the absence of Wilds on the first two reels. Unfortunately, this means that many of the times you land a full reel of wilds or even two full reels of Wilds, it tends not to result in a win as they are always in the last three reels. I also feel that a randomly triggered bonus feature in the base game would have livened up that aspect of the slot a little more, especially when you are trying to trigger Free Spins and the slot is playing more tightly than usual.
Panda's Gold is a good slot and a nice addition to the range of Realtime Gaming slots. The slot is great value for money to play as you get 88 lines for just 0.50 per spin, which is great news for those seeking more bang for their buck. Add to that some decent pays in the base game and a nice Free Spins bonus which allows you to increase the value of your bonus round each time you trigger it and you have all the ingredients for a decent slot. There's one or two gripes though, the base game is a bit repetitive and the Wilds only being on the final three reels reduces the impact of these symbols but overall this is a game well worth trying out.
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