Year of the Rat
2020’s Chinese New Year takes place on Saturday the 25th of January and will celebrate the animal most maligned of the 12 that make up the Chinese signs of the Zodiac. The rat was the first of the 12 animals to arrive at the great meeting called by the Jade Emperor. The myth goes that the as the ox made his way onto the boat, the rat, who was hitching a ride on his back, jumped down onto the deck just ahead of his bovine chariot. In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and plenty, mainly because of their impressive rates of reproduction. This also led to married couples playing to the rat when trying for children of their own.
Whilst I don’t know all that much about horoscopes, I do know that Chinese themed slots are some of the most prolific releases to come out of the slot stable. There are hundreds, possibly even thousands of them and a fair few of those should be considered amongst the finest video slots that casinos have to offer. To get in on the Chinese New Year act, we want to bring you the 10 best Chinese themed slots that you can play online today.
You can expect to see lanterns, temples and the 12 signs of the zodiac. You can expect to see long grey beards, pandas and impressive fireworks displays. There will be dragons, tigers and Buddhas. Koi Carp might swim their way onto your reels too. Above all else, what you can expect to see are a set of 10 slots that are bright, vibrant and offering bags of entertainment. You’re also very likely to stumble across the odd progressive jackpot or two.
In absolutely no order of preference at all, and in celebration of Chinese New Year, here are ThePogg’s list of the 10 best Chinese themed slots on the market today:
The Great Wall
The Great Wall hit casinos at the tail end of 2019 and was probably my favourite release of December 2019. This is an iSoftBet slot, so of course it looks incredible, but what I liked the most was the immersive central feature that can trigger on every single spin. As you might expect from the title, the Great Wall of China plays a big part in this slot. It sits above the reels and each turret has something that you could win. Instant wins and Free Spins are all triggered in the same way, but what gives this slot the edge over so many I played last year is the anticipation that comes with each spin and the fact that the key feature is worked so perfectly with the slot’s central theme.
Untamed Giant Panda
Untamed Giant Panda is an oldie but a goodie, brought to us by Microgaming. It is part of a series of games all celebrating some sort of wild animal and because the giant panda is China’s national animal and because we rated the game so highly way back in the day we feel it is only proper that Untamed Giant Panda finds itself a spot on our list. The panda and its glorious habitat are celebrated here with amazing looking symbols and pictures that seem almost grown up compared the comic book symbols that make up most games today. The features are excellent, with plenty to keep you entertained and the house edge is very reasonable indeed.
Mystery of Long Wei
If we were crowing the kings of the Chinese themed slots game then it is more than likely that iSoftBet would be wearing that crown. This is their first of a number entries on our list and amazingly there were others that we chose not to include. Mystery of Long Wei has all the elements we want from a Chinese themed game. The dragons look incredible and that background is so well drawn that you might just find yourself staring at it for hours instead of playing the game. There aren’t too many features but you do get free spins and some colossal symbols to help keep things interesting.
Imperial Riches ticks every single box you expect from a slot that claims to be Chinese themed. This one is set in an imperial garden that comes with a pond filled with expensive koi carp and all the other trappings we associate with a Chinese themed slot. Lanterns, shimmering music and the commonly encountered progressive jackpot. Add to that an excellent house edge and you’re left with a slot that does all the basic things incredibly well.
Legend of the Golden Monkey
Legend of the Golden Monkey hits all the high notes that you might expect from that inventive bunch over at Yggdrasil. It, as you should expect, looks great. Golden monkeys are native to China and the Monkey King is also a main character the 16th century novel, Journey to the West. Feature-wise, this slot has plenty to keep you engaged, including Free Spins that come with 3 different versions, each one offering a different set of Wilds. You can also hit an instant cash prize and you get a decent house edge.
Caishen’s Cash is a 2019 release from Pragmatic Play. Like so many of their slots, this one has been designed to stand out from the crowd, with bright, bold colours and fun, quirky characters filling the reels. The Taoist god of prosperity is here to try and give you everything you might have been praying to him for. You get Free Spins and Re-spins, which all come with a little something extra. Add to that a potentially impressive jackpot and a house edge that offers good value for money and you have a slot that is more than worthy of a place on our list.
Fireworks Master might not be the most feature laden slot on this list but what it does have still packs an almighty punch. First off, this Playson slot is arguably the best looking one that they have ever released. The colours are rich and the characters and symbols are brilliantly designed. Each win that you land will see the size and shape of the reels change, so that you feel as if something major is happening every time that win comes in. This works because the slot comes with layers, making it a deep and immersive slot experience. You also get Free Spins and you get a decent house edge. Honestly, there aren’t many slots like this one out there.
If you were wonder what game on our list would offer the best value for money, then look no further. Microgaming’s Wild Orient is all about the house edge. At 2.51% you are going to struggle to find a game anywhere that offers better value for money than this. The keen-eyed amongst you might have noticed that there has been some symbol cheating going on here, with a number of the symbols appearing in other Microgaming slots (Check the Untamed Giant Panda game we’ve already mentioned). However, in this instance we are willing to turn a blind eye for excellent value that is on offer.
Prepare to feast on yet another entry from those stalwarts of the Chinese themed game, iSoftBet. Imperial Wealth was a big hot for us back in 2019 and like all the other iSoftBet slots that have already made it onto our list this one looks fantastic. The game is filled with symbols that tie in with the theme, with bright and bold the order of the day. We were impressed with the low house edge and with some of the features that this slot has to offer.
Xi You Ji
Our last game on the list is the only one to come from PariPlay. Xi You Ji deserved a place on our list, thanks in no small part to how fantastic the whole thing looks. Xi You Yi means Journey to the West and is the title of a famous Chinese novel that describes an epic pilgrimage, filled with all sorts of incredible characters, twists and turns. The novel is big, very big, drawing on elements of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, making this a 500-year-old novel that almost everyone in China knows something about. The complexity of the story makes its way into this slot through an array of features, the most notable being the bonus, where you try and win x1000 your bet.
Conclusions and Honorable Mentions
Before compiling a list of Chinese themed slots I felt a little trepidatious because there are thousands of them and a lot of them have the hallmark of a factory line production. There are a slot of Chinese themed slots that exist purely because with a few simple little changes you can essentially re-release the same slot over and over again as along as you make a few changes here and there to help distinguish it from the swell of other Chinese slots. There are no prefect slots here and that is in part because most of the games on this list just do the basics very well. However, the standout slot for me has to be iSoftBet’s “The Great Wall” because it does so much more than just the basics.
For a start, it is the only slot I have seen to take that particular Chinese landmark and make it the centre of the game. To then mould all the features around it makes for a slot that is really trying to stand out, not just from this crowd, but from all other slots.
And the good news doesn’t end there for iSoftBet. This is clearly a theme that they have made their own, with 3 slots on this list and plenty that we couldn’t find space for, crowning them the kings of the Chinese themed slot.
There have also been a few slots released recently that haven’t quite done enough to make it onto our top 10 but do deserve an honorable mention nonetheless. Year of the Rat should be available in online casinos very soon and was clearly intended to make waves just in time for the start of this year’s festivities. As much as I commend Spinomenal for getting this out at such an opportune time there just weren’t enough features for us to find a space for it on our list.
I would also like to give a very brief shout out to Magic Journey, a PragmaticPlay slot that came out a matter of days ago that on another day I might just include on this list. I love the reel formation that it uses, which is totally different to anything I’ve seen before, but that is literally the only feature that this on has to offer and because of this I couldn’t find a slot on this top 10 that I was willing to sacrifice to work it in. However, I would still recommend it to anyone who wants to try something that little bit different.
Chinese New Year
For anyone who would like to know a little bit more about this important cultural celebration we’ve pulled together some information about the Chinese New Year that you might be interested in learning about.
The festival is also known as the Spring Festival as it signals the end of the coldest and darkest days in China. It is also the day when the most fireworks are set off at anyone one time, anywhere in the world; that’s more than Bonfire Night and more than New Year’s Eve. The use of fireworks to celebrate the Spring Festival taps into the myth of Nian, a terrifying monster who was scared off by a small boy and a pile of firecrackers.
Chinese New Year lasts for 16 days, during which no one is meant to wash. Washing during the Spring Festival is bad luck. You wash the night before the celebrations begin, pouring away the previous year’s bad luck, taking nothing but positivity and good vibes into the new year. The last day of the festival sees the whole family get together a large meal and one final hurrah.
During the festival, red envelopes are exchanges, baring messages of good luck and, if you are really lucky, sometimes they can even include some money. That is why so many of the slots that you see with a Chinese theme have red envelope symbols, often as mystery symbols.
And, it doesn’t stop with red envelopes. Red is everywhere, as the Chinese associate it with happiness, beauty, vitality, good luck, success and good fortune. Something that is believed by nearly a quarter of the entire planet.
If you are into your horoscopes and you happen to have been born on one of the years of the Rat then you might be interested in knowing that you are meant to be very industrious and thrifty, diligent and positive. You are also meant to have excellent intuition and can foretell danger. You can deal with the money carefully and can be lucky with it too.
For anyone who is planning on celebrating the Chinese New Year we want to wish you great happiness and prosperity in the year ahead.
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