An unfortunate lack of imagination means China Shores has very little to offer the player except a middling RTP (96.10%) and medium volatility.
When Japanese game makers Konami design a slot called China Shores, you might have expected there to be an element of the local rivalry between the two nations in its design. Instead, China Shores only differs from the average China-themed slot in that the main colour scheme is green rather than red and gold.
The reels are decorated with symbols that contain panda’s faces, golden turtles and the Chinese character for "Good Luck" printed upside down – the symbol for "Arrives" looks a lot like the upside-down "Good Luck" symbol and so is a sort of visual pun indicating the arrival of good luck.
So not a particularly new take on the Chinese slot. This one will have to depend on its graphics and Jackpot system to stand out.
Unfortunately, the graphics are not going to be China Shores’s saving grace. The panda, though cute, is not very well drawn and the colour scheme feels garish.
The animations are basic. Just lines to indicate wins and a simple spin animation. This is also reflected in the sound design where the slot almost feels broken so spare are the sound effects.
Perhaps wisely given the rest of the design decisions, Konami opted not to give China Shores a musical soundtrack.
China Shores is a five-reel and three-row slot with thirty winlines.
There is a two-tiered jackpot system which is triggered at random. Players at higher stakes are more likely to hit the jackpots.
The jackpot is the main appeal of the game which otherwise is pretty basic. It sports no gamble feature, just a single free spin bonus, and little else.
The Wild symbol substitutes for all symbols except the Bonus symbol.
Three or more Bonus symbols trigger a Free Spin bonus with eight spins for three symbols, ten for four, and fifteen spins for five symbols. During free spins, all of the player’s winnings have a times two multiplier applied to them.
However, before playing the free spins, the player is made an offer: either play the free spins or accept a randomised one-off Credit Win. The Credit Win can be between 32 and 234,000 times the bet per line, though the weighting is towards the lower end.
Players who chose the free spins have an opportunity to go back to the Credit Win if they have more than twenty free spins left. In that situation, they simply accept the Credit Win and will be exited from the free spins.
The return to player of the base game is just 88.90% if the jackpots are not included, which is incredibly low. However, with jackpots included, the RTP is 96.10%, very close to what we consider the average – 96%.
The range of bets on the site we tested ran from a minimum bet per spin of $/£/€0.30 up to a maximum of $/£/€60.00 per spin.
The volatility of this game is medium, which makes it a moderately good match for our preferred slot machine strategies since our slot strategies target the highest possible volatility in the slots we chose.
However, because players at higher stakes are more likely to hit the jackpots, the actual volatility increases as the player’s stake decreases.
China Shores is an underwhelming slot. The visuals are not great, and are applied to a tired old theme. No one has made the effort to elevate the slot with interesting animations or immersive sound effects.
The main appeal is that you can win big with the jackpots, but even here the jackpot pool is much lower than the pool provided by slots that are more popular like EGT’s series of Hot slots.
The final nail in China Shore’s coffin is its low volatility and poor base game RTP. We do not recommend this slot.