Shanghai remains one of China's most important cities, a mecca for imports and exports a global financial center and a town that knows how to have a good time. The new Realtime Gaming slot Shanghai Lights encapsulates a little of the glitz and glamour of downtown Shanghai in this very neatly presented slot.
As the most populous city in the world, Shanghai's 24 million inhabitants live on the Yangtze River delta and the city has become the embodiment of China's booming economy. As such, that means plenty of money rolling around and its Lujiazui skyline is one of the most iconic in the world.
The Shanghai Lights slot, as the name hints at, celebrates what happens after work when the inhabitants of the city let their hair down and head out for a night of fun. It's all rather dapper, with the men dressed very smartly in ties or dicky bows, while the ladies are all made up beautifully.
If there is a phrase you can use to describe the Shanghai Lights slot it would be elegantly stylish. But does that translate into an exciting slot game underneath this opulent facade? Let's take a closer look and find out what the game has to offer.
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The setting of the Shanghai Lights slot seems to inside a rather elegant building. I am presuming that this is a nightclub of some sort given the title of the slot and its theme and lying sat the center of the room inside the red and gold pillars, are the five reels.
Unlike some eastern-themed slots which use eastern characters on the reels, this slot has been more westernized and it is very easy to spot winning lines and whatnot as you play. In addition, the cheerful soundtrack that plays as you spin the reels is very nicely done and gives the slot a nice atmosphere as well as injecting a little pace into the game play.
The main controls of the slot are all at the foot of the reels and you can alter your line bet size as well as the number of lines you want to play from a single line up to the maximum of 50 (though we recommend playing with the maximum number of lines). Playing maximum lines, minimum to maximum bets range from $0.50 to $12.50, although you can reduce the number of lines to reduce these amounts if you prefer.
One nice feature of the slot is that you can set the speed to 1x, 2x or 3x the normal speed, which allows you to play through more spins, if you only have a limited amount of time available.
What's on the reels?
As we stated in the previous section, the Shanghai Lights slot has been somewhat westernized compared to some other Asian-themed slots and this is shown by the symbols used on the reels. The lower value symbols are the four playing card symbols, the Club, Spade, Heart and Diamond. These all offer the same value wins of 5 coins for 3 on a line, 20 coins for four and 80 coins for 5 across the reels.
There are two mid-value symbols, which are the two ladies, who again share the same pay-outs of 8 coins for three, 80 coins for four and 300 coins for five across a line. The higher value symbols are the two male characters and the Shanghai Lights logo.
These symbols all pay small amounts for just two symbols on a line (5 coins for the two men, 8 coins for the Shanghai Lights logo) and you can win up to 800 coins for five of the same male symbols on a line or 888 coins for five of the Shanghai Lights logo symbols on a line.
The Wild feature is very easy to identify as it is the word Wild over a neon-lit night scene. The Wild only appears on the third reel of the slot and it can be used to replace any of the standard symbols outlined above to help create additional winning lines.
In Shanghai Lights though, the Wild is an Expanding Wild and when you land the symbol in any position on the middle reel, it will expand to cover the entire reel for that spin. This can lead to some additional wins, but it is not guaranteed that landing a Wild will land you a win.
Free Spins features
The key to the Free Spins feature of the Shanghai Lights slot is the gold coin Scatter symbol. This initially awards you a cash prize of 1x your total bet for 2 scatters, 2x your total bet for three, 3x your total bet for four and most enticing of all 50x your total bet for the maximum five scatters landed across the reels.
In addition, three or more scatters landed on the reels awards you a Free Spins bonus game where you will receive five free spins. During Free Spins though, you also have the Expanding Wild symbols on the fourth and fifth reels, as well as the third reel. Furthermore, during Free Games any win that includes a Wild as part of its line sees that win given a 2x multiplier.
Land two scatters during the free spins bonus and you trigger a cash prize and if you land three or more scatters on a free spin, then you re-trigger the bonus and can play through it again. You can re-trigger the bonus a maximum of five times (offering you a maximum of 25 free spins).
At the end of your Free Spins round, you are then given three Super Spins. In this bonus, you can upgrade the reels and prizes you win in a number of ways, based on how many winning scatter pays occurred during your Free Spins bonus round. The bonus extras for each of the number of Shanghai Lights scatters landed during free spins are outlined below:
In each case, the more scatters landed in free spins, the more items you unlock. So if you hit three scatters during free spins, then you get grouped Shanghai Lights symbols, Reel 5 turned Wild, any scatter landing offering you a 5x win and any win with a wild offering you a 3x multiplier. The bonuses are cumulative which is great touch.
Best of all, land any scatter during your Super Spins and you will win one more additional Super Spin. If you re-trigger Free Spins, then you will play your original Free Spins, then your Super Spins round, before going back to play through your re-triggered Free Spins bonus game (and subsequent Super Spins after that).
Other bonus features
Other than the Free Spins and Super Spins bonus game that follows on from it, there aren't any other bonus features on the Shanghai Lights slot.
Best feature of the Shanghai Lights slot
For me, the Free Spins bonus round is the real winning element of the Shanghai Lights slot. At first, when I played the game and saw that you landed just five Free Spins, I was really disappointed as this didn't seem a huge amount, but the added bonus features of the round, including re-triggers and the Super Spins round at the end of your free spins, really make this a potentially lucrative round. That is much needed too as Shanghai Lights is a higher variance game and those very big wins tend to come in Free Spins and in particular on your Super Spins, especially if you have managed to land a few scatters during the Free Spins round.
What does the Shanghai Lights slot lack?
The only thing I would have added to the Shanghai Lights slot to make it a little more enticing would have been some form of bonus feature that is randomly triggered in the base game. That's because the base game is a tad repetitive at times and the wins during it tend to be small and somewhat few and far between. That's typical of a high variance game though, but a little bonus feature which triggers at random would have given an added depth to the base game.
In terms of presentation, style and bonus features, I think the Shanghai Lights slot is one of the best I've played in a while. It has a very rewarding bonus feature that has some additional bonuses attached that really give it extra excitement (and potentially some very large wins). The base game can get a bit repetitive and it is a game that you need patience and a big bankroll to get the best of, but if you do, then you will find that Shanghai Lights has plenty to dazzle you with.
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