Panda's are somewhat divisive creatures really. Admittedly, there is a swell of support for them because they are the emblem of the World Wildlife Fund, they look almost comically cute and, let's not put too finer point on it, they have problems keeping their own species going due to their inability to reproduce.
But for all those that love these black and white fur balls, there are a number of naturalists who feel that because of the focus shone constantly on them, that other equally deserving creatures get minimum or no support. Some experts have even called for the animals to be allowed to die out naturally as they have gone down an "evolutionary cul-de-sac"!
That's all a bit harsh on the poor old Panda and to be fair, I am sure most people would rather they were about than not, so I'm glad to see that Pragmatic Play have decided to focus on the rather affable-looking creature as the focus for their new Panda's Fortune slot.
It's an appropriate name as given their issues, these sweet creatures need all the luck they can get. But will they share that luck with lucky slot players seeking a win on a few spins of this new slot? Let's take a closer look and find out.
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The presentation of the Panda's Fortune slot is very nicely done and high quality. The music is an oriental-style soundtrack which fits perfectly with the styling of the slot and also where the Panda's call home and fortunately, it isn't a repetitive annoying melody, but a rather pleasant one which enhances your experience when playing.
The backdrop for the slot is an Asian Bamboo forest with fireflies buzzing around the leaves and a shimmering blue sky above the vegetation. A perfect spot for a bit of Panda spotting and that is what you will be hoping to do when it comes to the reels.
The main controls of the slot are all at the foot of the screen with an Auto Play button also available alongside the Spin button and the + and - buttons to control the size of your coins and the number of coins you want to bet on each line (you can wager from 1 coin to 10 per line) and this gives you a minimum bet of just $0.25 but a maximum bet of $125.
What's on the reels?
You have to pay attention to what is on the reels of the Panda Fortune Slot because the symbol scan be used in two ways in the game. The standard way is to create winning lines of course and there are a total of 11 standard symbols on the reels for this.
The lowest value symbols are the ubiquitous playing card symbols which go from the 9 through to the Ace and which offer similar levels of pay out up to 2x your total bet as the top prize for five on a paying line.
Alongside these lower value symbols are five higher value Chinese themed symbols. The items are all famous symbols of Chinese culture and include a bonsai tree, koi carp, a rather plump frog, a dragon and a butterfly. The maximum wins on these symbols go from 4x your total bet up to 8x your total bet.
There are two other symbols on the reels in the base game, the Bonus symbol and the Wild and each of these triggers a key bonus feature as we'll explore below.
As you would guess from the name of the slot, the Panda chewing on some bamboo is the Wild symbol in the game and this appears on the second, third, fourth and fifth reels and it can be stacked on these reels, meaning that you can land all three positions on any of these reels as completely Wild.
Of course, when substituting for any of the standard symbols, these Wilds can help trigger multiple line wins, but the more you land of them across the reels on a single spin, then the greater your chances are of triggering a higher value base game win.
Free Spins features
The Ying and Yang symbol is the scatter symbol which unlocks the Free Spins bonus round. You need to land three, four or five of these symbols on the reels in any position to trigger Free Spins. Three symbols offers a 2x total bet pay out and 8 Free Spins. Four sees a 15x your bet pay out and 10 free spins, while 5 across the reels sees a 100x your bet return and the maximum 15 Free Spins.
You can add extra bonus spins during the bonus round by landing three or more of the Scatters on the reels and this will add a further five free spins to your total each time, with no limits on how often the bonus can be triggered.
During Free Spins an additional red and gold Chinese symbol is added to the reels and these symbols are stacked. At the end of each free spin, these symbols will transform into one out of any of the standard symbols or the Panda Wild for that spin. Of course, if you have landed several of these symbols on the reels on that spin, that can lead to a significant win.
Other bonus features
The other bonus feature of the slot is a little more complicated to explain but it can unlock some potentially massive wins of 25x the current jackpot prize. During the base game and free spins, each of the 11 standard symbols (9 to ace and the five Chinese themed symbols) each have a special Golden Symbol of their own present on the fifth reel.
You can use these symbols as the standard version of the symbol and they can contribute to a pay out in the same way as a standard symbol can.
However, they can also trigger the Jackpot Bonus during the free spins round. The game has three jackpots, Grand, Major and Minor. During free spins if you can land all five of the different Chinese themed symbols on any pay line, completing the line with the gold symbol on the fifth reel with no Wilds substituting then you can win the Grand Jackpot prize.
Land five of a kind of the lower value playing card lows complete with a Gold symbol on the fifth reels and no Wilds substituting then you can win the Major Jackpot prize and to win the Minor you can use any combination of these symbols with no Wilds and a Golden symbol on reel five.
It is possible to trigger an incredible 25 jackpots on a spin if you get lucky which would result in a massive, but rare pay out.
Best feature of the Panda's Fortune slot
There are some interesting features on the Panda's Fortune slot and the three non-progressive jackpots do add an extra dimension to the game, but I think the most exciting part of the slot is the Free Spins bonus game. This is because this is a very volatile slot and wins are not easy, so when you trigger free spins, you feel like this could be a chance to earn a big pay day and to be fair, at times the slot can pay out some significant wins in this bonus feature, although it is somewhat difficult to trigger and needs patience and a decent bankroll to do so usually.
What does the Panda's Fortune slot lack?
I don't really feel the Panda's Fortune slot lacks anything as such, but what I would say about it is that this is not a slot for a lower variance slot player. Wins on this slot are difficult to come by and even though the Jackpots available add a great deal to the game and will certainly appeal to jackpot hunters, the fact that it is so difficult to land a decent win means that you need to be prepared to spend a lot of money in order to try and trigger a huge win.
Panda's Fortune is a game that will be loved or loathed by slot players due to one thing and that is the high variance of the slot. If you love slots that offer you a chance of a massive win, but don't pay out much at all in the meantime, then Panda's Fortune is a perfect slot for you. If you prefer lower variance games with regular pay outs then you won't find anything to get you excited on the Panda's Fortune slot. Personally, I think as a high variance game it works very well and the addition of the three jackpots makes for an interesting addition to triggering bigger value wins.
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