Great 88 Slot By Betsoft
Betsoft’s Great 88 has the loveliest design of any slot game I’ve ever played. Its sharp three-dimensional graphics gleam against the background’s cool dark tones, flowing water and warm light.
The calm soundtrack adds to the allure, and may even make the player forget—for a moment—how difficult it is to win decent payouts.
This gorgeous five-reel three-row Chinese-themed slot game is available in free and paid modes on mobile, tablet and desktop platforms.
HOW TO PLAY
Despite its sophisticated look, Great 88 uses basic video slot gameplay. Bets can be adjusted by selecting the coin value and the bet level (multiplier of the coin value). The free mode’s bet maxes out at a $0.10 coin value and 5x bet level, resulting in a $15 total bet on the locked 30 paylines. Spins can be played one at a time, or automatically run up to 100 times via the AutoPlay button. Payouts are triggered when three or more consecutive matching symbols appear left to right on a payline, starting with the first reel.
THEME AND SYMBOLS
In addition to the references to Chinese culture in the background and soundtrack, the game’s symbols and name continue the theme. 8 is considered a very lucky number in China. Besides its symmetrical shape and relationship to the infinity symbol, the number 8’s Chinese pronunciation, “bā”, is similar to the word “fā” which means wealth and prosperity.
The game’s symbols also allude to Chinese culture. The designers wisely excluded the playing card symbols familiar in most slots. They do include bar symbols, presenting them as bamboo sticks. Single, double and triple bamboo bars provide the lowest payouts. The next most valuable symbols are red and green diamond-shaped Chinese decor. A green lucky number six, red number eight and red woven rope deliver the next best payments. The most valuable symbols, in ascending value, are a jade frog statue, blue ceremonial lion costume and red serpentine dragon.
The firecracker wild symbols, show up on all five reels. They substitute for all symbols except the Lucky Box scatters. In addition to their wild card status, the firecrackers can deliver big winnings of their own (88x, 888x and 8888X).
The red Lucky Box scatter symbols trigger the game’s bonus features. These symbols are loaded onto all five reels. Three or more of them need to appear anywhere on the visible rows to start the features.
When the boxes open, they may reveal a set of the highest paying symbols, the dragon or lion. Sadly, unless the first box sits on the first reel, these symbols result in no winnings the majority of the time. On the rare occasions they produce a win, the outcome can be lucrative.
The Lucky Boxes may produce Instant Win bronze coins. In this instance, each box reveals one to three coins, with each coin adding a multiplier to the payout. These payouts are based on the total bet, with the multipliers ranging from 3x to 15x.
Super firecracker symbols could pop out of the boxes. Not only do they act as wild cards, but they also turn 1 or 2 of the nearby symbols into wilds as well, increasing one’s winning chances.
The player wins free spins if the lucky boxes produce jade coins. He or she will get 3 to 25 spins, depending on the total number of coins. The free spin payouts are identical to those from the regular game. There are no Lucky Box symbols on the free reels, so one can’t win additional free spins.
If Golden Dumplings appear, they trigger the bonus wheel, with the number of dumplings determining the number of spins. On the wheel, the player can win free spins, big payouts or a spin on the Mega Win Wheel. The Mega Win Wheel offers a chance at large payouts, including a 6000x Total Bet result.
The game is a seductive treat in its audio and visual design, appealing far beyond the intended Asian demographic. The Lucky Box bonus features are the most exciting part of the game, expanding its possibilities far beyond anything else on the reels.
Despite these positives, Great 88 feels hindered by its high variance setup. Winning paylines come few and far between. For instance, out of 400 spins, I had 58 winning paylines; essentially 1 in 7. More than three-quarters of those wins required wild symbols. Out of my 12 sets of Lucky Boxes, six delivered no winnings at all.
For the player to enjoy the game, he or she must be willing to risk many spins before winning a good payout. The good news is the game’s design is a beauty to behold and its gameplay easy to learn. Great 88 slots is recommended to the most patient of players.