The humble slots game is changing rapidly, both in the way it is played and the audience at which it is targeted. Anyone who believes that playing the slots is all about inserting your coin, whether physical or virtual, spinning the reels and trying to land three oranges in a row has probably been living under a rock for the past 10 years.
The increase in people choosing to play slots games online has led to a wider variety of themes in slots games, but has also brought about an increase in complexity. Where once, the most players could hope for was a bonus game that might involve some free spins or an extra “winner spinner” type round, there is now far more emphasis on gamification in general. Slots games have a story arc and mission, to the extent that the spinning reels themselves are only a small component, and perhaps a means to an end in advancing through the game.
Endorphina’s Little Panda slot is a prime example and is proving to be as popular with routine gamers as it is with the casino fans. It is rapidly gaining a cult following at sites like bitcasino.io and the Chinese forest theme has an almost child-like simplicity. Yet at the same time, it is clear from the detailed graphics just how much care and attention the developers have put into it.
The reels themselves are transparent, meaning they do not dominate the forest scene, or the sunken village that players must enter to engage with China’s most endearing creature and gather some big wins.
The symbols in Little Panda include butterflies, frogs, flowers and, of course, the Little Panda itself.
No traditional paylines here
The game has five reels, but that is where the similarity with conventional slots quickly ends. Much has been made of the game offering 1,024 ways to win – it sounds impressive, and the way it is achieved is that combinations of the same symbol are automatic winners, regardless of where they appear on the screen.
This makes for a game where small wins come thick and fast, so the action never stops. The yin-yang symbol is the one that offers the highest reward, with 800 x the stake paid out for five matches. The next best is the eponymous panda, which awards 300 x. The frog pays out 150 x and the flowers 120 x. Of course, these are the rewards for matching five. Keep in mind that there are also smaller prizes for matching four or three.
The wild letters appear in the middle three reels and will substitute for any other symbol, except the yin-yang, providing yet more opportunities for a payout.
There is only one true star of this game, however, and when you play Little Panda, the biggest attraction of the game is the Panda feature. This is triggered by the yin-yang symbols, which as well as providing the highest payout, also act as scatters. Three scatters equate to eight free spins, four give you 15, and five the maximum 20.
The Panda feature is about more than just free spins, though. While it is active, the wild symbols will double, or even triple, the rewards on offer. Finally, note that if you get more scatters during the bonus game, you can add another five spins per pair.
The big gamble
A popular theme in slot is to offer a double or nothing style gamble, based on the turn of a card, and this is also a feature of Little Panda. After any winning spin, you can hit the “take a risk” button to try and beat the dealer at cards. The game itself is simple enough – pick from a row of face-down cards, and if it beats the dealer’s upcard, you double your money. If you feel exceptionally brave, you can keep doubling as many as ten times.
A great little game on desktop and mobile
Little Panda shows just how much variation can be brought into the simple slot concept. It’s available on desktop or mobile, and has a perfect blend of low volatility with the chance to pocket some big wins.