It’s the Return to Player End of Year Awards and this category is focused on a similar annual event. Considering the number of East Asian studios, it’s not too surprising that there are quite a few Chinese New Year slots available on the market. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best of the lot this year. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight in.
A night sky lit up in brilliant colour is one of the most well-known motifs of the new year, especially in China. Across the orient, celebrations include intricate fireworks displays. Luckily enough, there is a game centred all-around these nocturnal pyrotechnics; Starburst! While it’s not technically based on Chinese New Year, the visuals are strikingly similar, so, we think it earns its place on this list. On top of that, it’s generally just a great slot game.
Instead of any standalone bonuses, Starburst focuses on making the wild as rewarding as possible. It does the usual job of substituting for any other symbols, but there are several other benefits this symbol can bestow on you. They can land on the second, third, and fourth reels (the central ones). When it does, the icon will expand to cover the entire reel, which can lead to some pretty big wins. On top of this, it will also award one re-spin, and any further wilds you land on the re-spin will expand, stick in place and trigger another spin. This means that you could potentially end up with all the available reels wild, which will obviously increase your chances of winning.
That’s not the last of the wild’s perks though, as landing enough of them will grant a lovely jackpot total. Three is the exact number you’ll need, for which you will receive a coin prize worth 50,000x your stake. While there are no further bonus rounds, as all the features are focused on the wild instead of rarer scatter symbols, their effects can trigger quite regularly.
No, this game isn’t based on the famous Chinese duck dish that rhymes with this slot. Peking Luck does, however, take inspiration from China’s archaic capital Peking. Expect to see plenty of suitably fitting symbols and images, with dimly lit lanterns, pink blossom trees, and stylised waves in the backdrop. The symbols are comprised of many ceremonial objects, such as cymbals, hand fans, tanggu drums, and the traditional dragon costumes. It certainly looks the part, and it plays just as a good as it looks!
Like Starburst, the wilds can be greatly rewarding, offering payouts of 20x, 160x, or 400x your stake if you land three, four, or five of them respectively. Any standard wins you land involving the wild will be subject to a 2x multiplier, which can be a nice little boost to your winnings. The main attraction is the free spins round though, which will trigger if you land the Golden Gong scatter three, four, or five times on the reels. This will initially award 2x, 10x, or 250x your bet, before taking you to a new screen with six fans on display. You must pick one to decide how many spins you’ll get, with the total being anywhere between 8 and 38. After this, another screen will appear, this time with six dragons to choose from. This will reveal a multiplier from 2x to 18x, which will remain in place for the entire duration of the spins. Land three or more scatter symbols during the round to gain another ten spins, with no limit to how many times this can be re-triggered.
Now we get to a game that couldn’t be more perfect for this list; Lion Dance. It is named after a ceremony performed in Chinese culture at special occasions such as the New Year. It shouldn’t be surprising then that many of the game’s visuals harken back to this, with temples, lanterns, and even a fully animated dragon on the reels. There is also an intricate string arrangement, which serves as the backing track, a wonderful choice from developer Red Tiger Gaming.
There are a few features in this game that can prove rather rewarding, should you be lucky enough to trigger them. First off, four reel modifiers can trigger randomly at any point. These can stack the reels with high-value symbols, add giant icons and wilds to the board, hide big coin prizes behind certain positions, or add spreading symbols to the game. While each offers a relatively minor benefit, the fact that they are randomly triggered coupled with the variety on display ensures they are all engaging.
There is also a free-spins round that is triggered by landing the scatter on the first, third, and fifth reels. You will be taken to a new set, with three themed objects on display, each hiding a total of free spins. This can be any number up to 18, plus one of the four modifiers will be applied for the entire duration. Finally, four different jackpots can be won. Three of these are shown to the left of the reels, the Mega Hit, Super Hit, and Quick Hit, and are won by landing the jackpot symbols. The last is a daily jackpot that must pay out before the timer runs out. Having said that, landing five wilds or drum symbols will result in a jackpot-like win of 888x your stake, so there is plenty of opportunities to hit big wins.
We finish with another Red Tiger Gaming slot, Asian Fortune. In terms of Chinese-themed slots, this game ticks all the boxes visually. Bold shades of red dominate the display, with gold tones used for contrast sporadically. The whole scene is striking, to say the least. The setting is that of a temple, with a sprawling mountain range visible in the background. It’s not just the graphics that stand out though, there is plenty to admire in the slot’s sole bonus feature.
There is only the one bonus round in this slot, and it is another free spins round. Trigger it by landing the Dragon scatter symbol three times in a single spin. This will award ten spins, to begin with, but can be re-triggered with the same symbol combination for another ten. What’s more, any high-value symbols you land will turn gold when they hit the reels, before expanding to cover them. Not only will they boost the potential winnings here, but they will also serve as wilds, which means they could make even more successful combinations. It might seem like a simple bonus, especially since it’s the only one in this game, but it can be quite generous if you’re fortunate.
If you’ve taken a fancy to one of these slots, all of them are available to play on one of our featured casinos, Kerching.