You might not find eternal peace with the Dalai Panda in this slot, but a well-made game goes a long way to countering a mediocre RTP and volatility.
The Dalai Panda appears to take the post-Kung Fu Panda theme to a level that World of Warcraft could only ever hope to achieve. Here the Panda sits in the lotus position levitating between two slot machines and kitted out in the robes of a buddhist monk.
It is whacky as far as such ideas go, but the execution is so clean that the player is drawn into a world in which the head of a religion could well be a vegetarian bear.
The graphics are excellent, as is to be expected from iSoftBet’s more recent output. The animations are detailed and punchy and are combined with quality sound effects to draw the player in.
That all-important sense of a unified tone is helped along by the soundtrack which consists of pipes and strings but is well integrated with the sound effects in a way that means it never feels the two are playing against each other.
Coupled with the rendering of the title character which gives a real sense of personality, the overall presentation of the slot is very strong.
The Dalai Panda has a few interesting gameplay tricks up its sleeve. First off, there is not one, but two sets of reels which play as two sperate three by three slot machines. Both are any way wins starting left to right for the lefthand game and right to left for the righthand game. This makes for twenty seven win ways for each game.
When a bigger win is possible, the reels are brought together making the number of win ways shoot up to 729.
There is no gamble feature, but the Free Spin bonus has an interesting twist that spices things up (see below for details).
The Wild symbol substitutes for all symbols except the Bonus symbol.
During the main game, there is a free spins counter which starts on five. Every time you get a win that results in the two reels being brought together, the counter increases by one. The Panda brings the reels together whenever a win can be increased by doing so.
Hitting three bonus symbols will trigger a Free Spin bonus. The number of free spins will be equal to the free spins counter in the base game. The counter resets to five after the bonus feature ends.
During free spins, two or more Bonus symbols will add more free spins to the free spin counter. The amount of spins added depends on the number of Bonus symbols you hit: two bonuses give you +2 spins while hitting six Bonus symbols will add a whopping +50 spins to your total.
During individual free spins, the Dalai Panda will at random award additional Wilds, expanding Wilds which fill the whole reel, or a two times multiplier which doubles your winnings on that spin.
The return to player of this game is 95.81%. Slightly below our yardstick for the industry average which is around 96%.
The range of bets on the site we tested went from $/£/€0.30 per spin up to a maximum of $/£/€30.00 per spin. This is not a huge range, but should cover most players.
Our preference is for the highest variance possible to fit with our preferred strategies. The volatility of The Dalai Panda is at the top end of medium, almost in the high zone, and so is just high enough to squeak a recommendation though we would hope for a higher RTP to make up for this.
The Dalai Panda looks good, as a slot and as a character. At the audio-visual level it is all polished to a high sheen, but under its glossy coat the game suffers from a slightly underwhelming RTP and volatility.
The gameplay is good and the free spin counter adds a nice twist along with having two reels, but, in the end, The Dalai Panda is headed for extinction in our book.