Too many game developers think that an Oriental slot involves making the slot red, adding a few lanterns, pagodas and firecrackers and then adding some eastern-inspired music across the top. The great news is that Pragmatic Play's Caishen's Gold takes a markedly different approach to most other games of this genre.
So what exactly is it that Pragmatic Play have done with Caishen's Gold to make it different to other eastern-themed slots? More importantly, do those changes actually work and give you an enjoyable and workable slot? Let's take a closer look and find out.
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Caishen's Gold may have some different features in the actual structure of the slot itself, but when it comes to presentation, it does rather tend to follow the example set by many other Oriental inspired slots. The backdrop is red and gold and seems to be set inside a pagoda looking out over a garden.
The music is, as you would expect, Oriental themed although it does have a rather more discernible melody to it than some other slots where the sounds are more generic. So yes, the presentation is certainly very typical of what you would find on a East Asian slot.
The main controls are in the bottom right corner of the slot with the plus and minus symbols used to control the size of the bet, there is the big spin button and auto-play button there, but you can also use the space bar to get the reels spinning if you prefer.
What's on the reels?
The first thing to note is that the low value symbols on the Caishen's Gold slot are the playing card low symbols, which run from 9 through to ace and offer wins from 50 coins up to 500 coins depending on the symbols landed and the number of symbols in a winning line.
Why companies persist with using playing card low symbols, especially in East Asian based slots is a mystery to me as there are any number of other items they could use which would fit in far more seamlessly with the general theme of the slot.
The higher value symbols offer wins ranging from 100 coins up to 2,000 coins and these symbols are the musical instrument, the Chinese fan, the water lily and the two child characters, the pink and green with the green child being the highest value of the two.
Alongside these standard features there are also a couple of other key symbols on the reels, the Scatter symbol and first off we'll take a look at the Wild symbol.
The Wild symbol in the slot is Caishen himself and he's a rather cheery looking fellow who is adorned in gold and when he appears on screen on the second, third, fourth and fifth reels, he can substitute for any of the higher or lower value symbols outlined above to help create winning pay lines. The more of these Wilds you land then the better the chances are of you landing a bigger value win.
What is good about this feature however is that every time he lands, you will see coins added to the pot at the top of the screen. This doesn't add value to the jackpot however but what it does is trigger an opportunity for the additional Caishen Bonus Game to be launched. If you get lucky, you can launch this bonus feature (which we explain in more detail below) which gives you a chance of winning one of the four game jackpots available.
Free Spins Features
It can be tricky to trigger the Free Spins feature in Caishen's Gold as unlike other games, when you land three of the Scatter symbols on the reels, they have to be in succession from left to right, not just anywhere across any reel. This can be a little annoying at first. You also have a lot of ‘near misses' where you will land three or even four scatters across the reels, but not have them in the order required.
When you do manage to land three or more scatter symbols you will win a cash prize, 1,900 coins for three, 3,800 coins for four and a massive 19,000 for five across the reels. Furthermore, you also receive 10 free spins which are played out on a specially adapted reel set for the bonus round which has only the higher value symbols on the reels, plus the Wild and Scatter.
During Free Spins you can win additional free spins by landing three or more scatters on the reels over the first three reels and this can happen an unlimited number of times in theory.
Other Bonus Features
The other main bonus game of this slot is the Caishen's Bonus Round. When this is randomly triggered after landing a Caishen Wild symbol and triggering the bonus, then you are taken to a new screen on which there are several coins laid out in a grid pattern.
You then select from these coins and when you do, one of the four jackpots at the top of the screen, the Mini, Minor, Major or Grand is displayed. You keep turning over coins until you match three of the same jackpots to win that jackpot.
Of course, most of the time you will win the Mini jackpot but if you are playing for smaller stakes, this still represents a good value win of 30x your total bet. The minor is 50x your total bet and the major 100x your total bet. The Grand jackpot is the best of all however offering 1000x your total bet if you can select three of these symbols.
Best feature of the Caishen's Gold slot
This is a nicely put together slot which offers something different to most Chinese-themed games available today and while all of the features of the slot are good, I think the fact that every time you hit a Wild symbol on the reels (which is relatively frequently), even if it is not a winning spin, still gives you a chance at triggering the Caishen Jackpot bonus game does make this slot exciting to play.
What does the Caishen's Gold slot lack?
My one gripe with the Caishen's Gold slot is the way the free spins bonus games are triggered. Initially, I thought my game had malfunctioned when I hit three, then four scatters across the reels and nothing happened and it was only when I checked into how the slot plays I discovered that they have to trigger as they would a pay line. There are also a large number of "near misses" with scatters which do start to grate a little on the nerves after you have played for a lengthy amount of time without triggering the free spins bonus.
Caishen's Gold may well be another Oriental-themed slot in an already saturated market but it has a lot of positive things going for it. The design of the slot and how it works is different to most of the other and the bonus features it has are good fun and offer a decent medium variance slot gaming experience. That means most wins are small but you do get the bigger value wins coming along once every so often to boost your bankroll.
This is a slot which played at the right level for your bankroll can provide plenty of amusing hours spinning the reels and with some really big prizes available in the slot in the form of the jackpot games and the prize for five scatters on the reels, it is one which will attract the larger jackpot prize players too.
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