Although we all love pandas, we do not love Panda King. This dull slot fails to charm at a superficial level and below the surface offers a poor RTP and insufficient volatility.
Panda King is themed around the adorable black and white bears of East Asia, with their bamboo forest habitat providing a backdrop for a range of Sinocentric odds and ends. The style of the slot feels like it had more in common with a London Chinese takeaway menu than the real culture of China and does look a little tacky at first glance.
But the pandas are cute and the lotus blossoms, pagodas and decorative waterfalls are all quite prettily rendered, so, in the end, the theme kind of works in this Ainsworth's offering.
The graphics are pretty well drawn, with easily identifiable symbols rendered in high-def.
These symbols are animated smoothly with good backing sound effects, but no music. This might be a blessing given how bad many slot soundtracks are, but a good soundtrack could have really added to the mood on this one.
The gameplay is rather bland with no gamble feature, no minigames, and only free spins as a bonus. The main game is a twenty win line slot played on five reels. Though the game does allow you to chose how many winlines you ultimately play.
Little effort has been made to make the game engaging beyond this.
There are three special symbols.
There is the Panda symbol which plays as a Wild (or as the game calls it a "Substitute") symbol and can stand in for any symbol except the Scatter symbol.
The Scatter symbol is the second special symbol. When three or more Scatter symbols fall, regardless of where they land on the reels, the game also triggers the free spin bonus.
The Yin Yang Scatter triggers free spins. You can then choose from three options – eight, ten, or twelve free spins with a different set of symbols all converted to Wilds. The more spins, the fewer Panda symbols total on the reels for those spins.
For example, if you chose eight free spins then for those eight spins all of the "waterfall", "coin", "pergola", "lotus" and "ingot" symbols will be replaced by the Panda symbol. If you choose twelve free spins then only the first three will be replaced by Pandas.
Last special symbol is the Fortune symbol, which appears only in free spins. The Fortune symbol is stacked on all 5 reels and pays on any positions, up to 5 symbol hits. Also, whenever you hit at least 5 Fortune symbols together with at least 3 Wilds your winnings are then multiplied.
The return to player on this slot machine is a very low 94.34%. This is a deal breaker for us, anything under 96% we tend to avoid.
The minimum bet per spin on the site we tested was €/£/$0.20 and the maximum bet per spin was €/£/$100.00.
The slot has medium volatility. This does not play well with our strategies which largely focus on high-volatility slots.
Panda King would probably not get a recommendation even if its RTP were not so low. It’s volatility isn’t high enough, the gameplay is weak and the visual and design elements are weak.