Shoji Slot from WMS
You’ll find a unique reel pattern in this Asian themed slot from WMS. There are 6 reels in play, and above them some reels covered in traditional rice-paper wall dividers. These are called ‘Shoji’ and are a central part of the game play. There are 1215 winning combinations possible across the reels, and expanding wilds will sometimes help you trigger many of these ‘lines’ at once. You will also find a free spins bonus game, where the Shoji dividers stay open – giving you many more winning possibilities.
Covered and Visible Reels
The reel setup needs some explaining – as this is different to any other casino slot out there. There are 6 reels in total. The first one has just 3 rows. All of the others have 5 rows each. They are divided into a ‘regular’ section below, where 3 rows of symbols are always visible – and a covered section above. The top 2 rows are covered in rice-paper. Each time you spin, one or two of the dividers move upwards, revealing extra symbols which are in play. On the other reels, the dividers stay down, while you see the silhouette of the symbols behind them, these are not in play.
When you combine this with an all-ways winning system, the game play becomes unique. There are no win-lines in the traditional sense. Instead 3 or more consecutive symbols from the left in any position on the reels will trigger a win. You can spin these reels for 50c per spin and up in multiples of 50c.
6 of a Kind Wins
Higher prizes on Shoji come from 6 of a kind wins. The biggest of these is a samurai, with a sword casually slung over his shoulder. This is worth 750 coins for 6, and pays all the way down to 40 coins for 3. A lady with an elaborate headdress and fan comes next at 400 coins for 6. This is followed by a golden card, bonsai tree and purple pagoda. There are also playing card symbols on the reels making up the smaller and more regular line hits.
There are wild symbols in play – these simply say ‘wild’ on them in large letters. They do appear in stacks on occasion. When you get 2 wilds in the spaces behind the rice paper doors when they are open, they will expand down to cover an entire reel. This can be very valuable at times in an all-ways system game.
Free Spins Bonus Game with Open Shoji
Bonus symbols are represented by traditional gold coins with a hole in the middle. These symbols will also trigger a scatter win. 3 of them simply gets you 8 free spins. 4 gets you 15 free spins, plus 10x your total bet as a cash prize. 5 will bring you 25 spins plus 20x your bet, and all 6 is worth 40 free spins plus 100x your bet.
There is a big difference in the game during the free spins, the 3 Shoji from the right-hand side are locked open – giving you many more winning combinations. In addition, either one or both of the first 2 dividers will open at random on each spin. The scatter symbols are still in play during this bonus game – making retriggers possible. The expanding wilds feature can also occur during free spins.
Japanize Design of the Shoji Slot
While the unusual reel configuration will catch your eye, there is nothing especially different in the overall design. I like the way you see the silhouette of the symbols behind the rice paper dividers, even though these symbols do not count towards your wins. All of the symbols are smart and the game has a vibrant mix of colors. Having said that there are few details, and even fewer animations. The only time the reels come to life during the base game is when the wilds expand from the top of the reels to cover all the rows.
Sound effects are classic Asian, with some ambient traditional music plus electronic noises over the top. There is a jarring sound when the bonus symbols hit, though if you get 3+ I am sure this will not be a big problem!
Should You Open the Rice-Paper Door to the Shoji Slot?
If you have been playing 5×3 or 5×4 slots for a long time then the unusual 6 reel and 3 or 5 rows setup of the Shoji slot certainly makes for a refreshing change. Your biggest wins will come those times you trigger many of the win-lines at the same time – rather than from a single combination. The free spins bonus game keeps the reels expanded, adding a lot more winning combinations compared to the base game. While the design of this slot is average at best, the unique setup and game-play makes it worth checking out!