If there is one part of the globe developer Pragmatic Play favours, it’s gotta be Asia. No matter what sort of tangents the studio scoots off on, Asia eventually pulls them back in, like crossing a black hole’s event horizon. Today’s example is Fat Panda, which is a game that drops a variety of modifier symbols onto the game board from a feature reel and has a bonus round where wild panda symbols become sticky. If it all sounds pretty hǎo, why not come take a look?
After designing a good number of these sorts of games, Pragmatic Play has well and truly honed its graphical chops, and Fat Panda is a fine-looking specimen of an Asian-inspired slot. The main gaming area is housed in a pagoda-like structure (naturally), while the rest of the scene is a highly detailed vision of Asia, where flowers grow in abundance and buildings are traditionally picturesque. Panda bears, according to World Atlas, now reside solely in the bamboo forests of Gansu, Shaanxi, and Sichuan provinces of China, and there are only around 1,864 (WWF’s figure) of them left in the wild. Hopefully, they cling on as a species because losing these adorable animals from the wild would just be sad.
Trying to be positive now, and if panda bears do unfortunately go extinct in the wild, at least we’ve got zoos and online slots for future generations to remember them by. In Fat Panda, pandas appear on the wild symbol, which is present on all reels of this 5×3 arranged slot, substituting for any regular pay symbol. To see them in action requires picking a stake of 20 p/c to £/€100, and players may select from two bonus buy options should they so choose. The RTP is the same, no matter how Fat Panda is played, at 96.07% at the most, while two lower return models are available as well. Highly volatile, Fat Panda has 20 fixed paylines for win evaluations.
Regular symbol time, and these begin with 10-A card ranks and are followed by premium coins, a fan, a drum, a lantern, and a pair of sycees. Landing a 5-symbol low pay win awards 0.5 to 1 times the bet, whereas a 5-symbol premium win pays 1 to 5 times the bet. Winning wild lines are worth the same as the sycees symbol, btw.
Fat Panda: Slot Features
Fat Panda gorges itself on several features – the Top Reel with modifiers, free spins, and the bonus buy.
Top Reel With Modifiers
On top of the main 5×3 game grid is a horizontal reel that lands either blanks or modifiers which behave like so:
Scatter symbols appear on all reels. Hitting 3, 4, or 5 of them awards 10, 12, or 15 free spins, respectively. The Top Reel remains active in free spins, and all wild symbols that land remain locked in their position until the round ends. When the Additional scatter symbol hits, it awards an extra 1 – 10 free spins.
Buy Free Spins
Free spins can be bought at any time from the base game. Option one is a regular free spins trigger costing 70 times the bet, while the second option costs 300x the bet and triggers free spins where 5 wild symbols land on the first free spin.
Fat Panda: Slot Verdict
The name might have a familiar ring to it, but Fat Panda is obviously nothing like Fat Rabbit, so it would be hard to say Pragmatic Play was attempting to cash in on Push Gaming’s popular classic. After putting Fat Panda through its paces, it was also clear that the game is unlikely to reach cult status like its rabbit competitor. There’s a charming Kung Fu Panda thing going on, and as Pragmatic Play has extensive experience making Asian-inspired games, they’ve cobbled together another one which looks and sounds the business. For some of the time, Fat Panda’s business can admittedly be a bit slow going, but there’s no doubt it’s got the necessary parts to go nutso when they are brought together just so.
One way is by dropping sticky wilds on the board, in useful positions, as early on in the bonus round as possible. This makes buying the more expensive of the two bonus rounds attractive since you get a good number of them (5) on the very first spin. Still, having 5 sticky wilds from the get-go doesn’t guarantee a stellar result, even with the help of modifiers from the top feature reel. One speed bump was getting wilds in awkward positions that just did not seem in the mood to link with much across the fixed pay ways. Not trying to be a downer here; just reporting back on some caveats. Of course, if fortune is smiling, Fat Panda can swing hard in the opposite direction up to 20,000x the bet. When you think about stacks of sticky wilds, the Add Multiplier to all Wilds modifier, hey, who knows, good things might happen.
Maybe not so good as to thrust Fat Panda into the same league as its cuddly rabbited competitor, though. But, for punters who have a soft spot for Asian-inspired gambling with a panda bear chucked in for good measure, then attempting to bring Fat Panda’s features together might be up there with solving a particularly tricky sudoku.
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