The beautifully coloured Koi Carp may well be known around the world for their bright colours brightening up a garden pond or water feature, but in China, these large and elegant creatures are also regarded as being portents of good fortune.
It is therefore unsurprising that Microgaming have used the fish as their inspiration for the Lucky Koi slot.
The slot is beautifully presented with the 5x3 reels shown against the backdrop of a shimmering pond, lined with pebbles and where Koi Carp and other assorted creatures, such as dragonflies, flit around the margins of the screen.
Set against this backdrop are the reels with 25 non-selectable paylines in play and a very simple console where you simply select the size of your bet which ranges from 0.50 up to 5.00 per spin. Once you have selected the size of your bet, you can then get the reels spinning.
Add to this a gentle eastern style musical background and you have a gentle and enjoyable slot to play, but does it offer players enough of a challenge to match the gentle and understated aesthetics?
The good news is that it most certainly does and that begins in the base game. Where you can win up to 625,000 coins including single line jackpots of 5,000 coins if you can land five of either the Wild symbol, or the two Koi Carp circling a lily pad symbols across a single payline.
The lower value symbols in the game are the creatures on the lily pads, which include a dragonfly, a terrapin and a frog. The blooming lily pad offers a slightly higher value payout than the other options while the other oriental-themed symbols offer the higher value wins up to the biggest possible payouts we listed above.
What makes the Lucky Koi slot work well however is not just the base game but how that fits together with the two exciting features in the slot that run alongside it. These feature are the Free Spins Feature and the Koi Bonus Feature and these bonuses are triggered randomly when a player lands three or more the scatter symbols across the reels.
The good news is that Scatter symbols of three or more anywhere across the reels also payout nice large sums of 625 coins for 3 scatters, 2,500 coins for four scatters and 12,500 for all five scatters across the reels.
If you trigger the Free Spins round, then you win between 10 and 30 free spins and these free spins come with a multiplier that can be worth as much as 5x the original payline win. Furthermore, during free spins, you can re-trigger the feature by landing three or more scatters once again across the reels.
In the Koi Bonus game you simply have to select between 3 and 6 Koi Carp swimming in the pond. Each carp you pick will reveal a cash prize and occasionally, if you select wisely, the Koi will award you an additional pick so you can continue adding to your cash win.
The Lucky Koi slot isn't the most generous of slots in base game mode. Wins are not as frequent as on other slots and in general most of the wins tend to be smaller amounts of money, although larger wins are possible, especially when you can land a couple of Wild symbols across the reels to help boost the size of the payout.
This is definitely a slot where players need to target the bonus features, in particular the free spins round, in order to realise the larger amounts of money available from within the game, however even as a base game that plays a little tight, there's still plenty to enjoy.
With two symbols paying the top base game jackpot and the chance of two bonus features via the scatter symbol, there's plenty to keep any slot player spinning the reels with the Lucky Koi slot.
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