Many game developers have create high quality Asian themed slots that appeal to this massive market. One of the best recent releases was Microgaming's Dragon Dance slot, which celebrates Chinese New Year.
With over a billion people celebrating this focal point in the year, it is not surprising to learn that Dragon Dance is not the only slot that has Chinese New Year as a theme but there's plenty about the slot that does offer gamers something a little different to other slots on a similar theme.
The slot itself is a 5x3 reel game which has done away with paylines and instead offers 243 Ways to Win on every spin. What this means is that if you land the same symbols adjacent on the first three or more reels, then you guarantee yourself a payout as the symbols don't have to be on a predefined line. This is great for punters as it offers more flexibility.
Furthermore, the punter also doesn't have to cover every way to win like they would a payline, indeed on the Dragon Dance slot, you can get the reels spinning from 0.25 per spin, although you can rack up the action considerably and play for as much as 125.00 per spin if you are a higher roller.
The backdrop for the slot is a Chinese village scene and red is the predominant colour, chiefly because it is the colour most associated with good fortune in Eastern culture. The fonts and design use oriental styling to further enhance the eastern feel and the symbols are a mix of the playing card low symbols (9 through to ace) and a number of different Chinese New Year themed symbols as the high value symbols. These include drummers, Chinese cymbals, dancers and of course two different dragons, one white and a rather more fearsome golden yellow coloured beast.
It is a little disappointing that Microgaming didn't get rid of the Playing Card low values for this slot given its eastern theme. Using eastern themed symbols as the low value icons, such as perhaps Mahjong tiles or similar, could have fitted in more obviously with the theme as at the moment the playing card lows are a little out of place on the slot.
One of the first things you will notice on the reels if you have played any Microgaming slot before is that there are no Wild symbols with this slot. Instead, what you have are to bonus features, the somewhat standard Free Spins game and a new and inventive Re-spin feature which is active on every spin.
First off let's take a look at the Free Spins option. This is landed when you hit three four or five of the Firecracker Scatter symbols across the reels. This not only offers you a pay out of between 2 and 100 coins (depending on how many scatters you land) but also triggers 15 free spins.
During free spins a multiplier of 3x is also applied to any of your wins and you can also re-trigger the free spins from within the bonus round, which means you can earn more spins and earn even more money from the bonus feature. With a jackpot of 60,000 coins up for grabs, that is a considerable amount of money to chase, especially if you are one of the higher roller players who is wagering more on every spin.
The other key feature of the slot is the Re-spin feature and this is available at any point in the game (apart from during the Free Spins bonus round).
What happens is that you spin the reels and the reels settle into the pattern on screen. Sometimes, you may be just one icon away from landing a bigger win. What the Re-spin feature does is allow you to re-spin any single reel for the stated price. The price of the spin is dependent upon the reel you spin and what the potential win is if you can land the symbol you want on that re-spin.
It is important to note here that the cost of a Re-spin can be sometimes well in excess of your usual wager, especially if you are spinning a reel to try and land one symbol that could offer you a big win, or if you are trying to land a scatter symbol to trigger the Free Spins bonus game. A good rule of thumb is that the higher the value of a re-spin of a reel, the more you could win from spinning that reel, while the lower the value, the less you are likely to win if you hit the required symbol.
What is certainly true is that to get the best out of the Re-spin feature, you do have to use it judiciously. The cost of a re-spin when trying to land a big win will be considerably higher and if you don't hit your win within a couple of spins, you could keep spinning and find that your bank balance takes a much bigger hit than you intended.
However, it is pleasing that with the Dragon Dance slot from Microgaming players are given another chance to land a win by re-spinning a single reel as any slot player will tell you that one of the most frustrating aspects of any slot is when you hit four great reels only for one to let you down. So having the opportunity to re-spin that errant reel once again is a nice touch.
Dragon Dance is a bright, colourful and inventive slot that isn't packed with a host of features and bonus games, but it has the basic free spins offering which is always appealing to slot players, a decent sized jackpot to chase of 60,000 coins and the ability to re-spin any reels during the base game to try and trigger or increase the size of a win.
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