Wed, Nov 14, 12:49am by Noah Taylor
Last Updated Fri, May 15, 3:01am
Most of the Asian themed pokies with a hold and spin bonus feature are part of the ‘Dragon Link’ family. Happy Lantern is an outlier. This game has an Asian theme, focused on the Chinese New Year celebrations. It is part of the Lightning Link group of slots.
Happy Lantern has a unique picks game. When you trigger the bonus, you select one of two dancing dragons to see which feature you get.
These features are a free spins bonus game with expanding wild symbols that can cover entire reels, or the hold and spin bonus. Lanterns are used to show the prizes in the hold and spin. These include cash prizes, as well as progressive jackpots.
You’ll find a lot of classic Aristocrat pokies online. Many of these are available in demo mode. This gives you the chance to check out the gameplay and bonus features before you commit to playing for real money.
The Lightning Link range of games is currently only available in live casinos. These slots are hugely popular. They are expected to become available online as soon as their ability to attract players to live casinos diminishes.
Like all Lightning Link games, these are solid games with a classic video slot setup. There are 5 reels, each with 3 rows of symbols in view. The number of win-lines crossing this setup is adjustable. You can choose 50 or 25 as defaults. The minimum number of lines increases as your coin size (denomination) goes down.
You can also find Lightning Link pokies including Happy Lantern in high-limit slot lounges. Here the denominations available go higher than the 10c per line max in regular casinos.
Wild symbols show a man in traditional costume. They appear on reels 2 through 5. Wilds will often cover more than one reel – giving you the potential to line up multiple wins. Most symbols require a minimum of 3 from the left to trigger a win. The only exception is the ‘waving cat’. The top-paying symbol has a small prize for just 2 of a kind from the left reel.
Other high paying unique symbols include red envelopes, firecrackers and a tortoise. Playing cards symbols have their usual role – providing the smaller / filler wins.
When you hit 3 or more of the scatter symbols – which show the head of a dragon costume – you’ll go to the ‘Palace of Spins’. These symbols also pay prizes of up to 100 times your total triggering spin for 5 in view.
The palace of spins sees two animated dragons – one white and one yellow. You tap the screen to select one, which reveals your bonus. This can be free spins (with different numbers of added wilds) or hold and spin bonus.
One outcome from the ‘Palace of Spins’ is a free spins bonus. The number of free spins you get and the number of wilds added to the reels throughout your bonus is variable.
You can get 6, 9 or 15 free games. These come with 25, 100 or 200 extra wilds showing the guy in traditional costume. Wilds still appear on reels 2, 3, 4 and 5 only. With one of the higher numbers, the chances of wilds covering multiple reels increase dramatically.
Retriggers are possible with 3+ of the dragon costume heads. Retriggers add the number of spins you originally triggered once again.
There are two ways to trigger a hold and spin bonus on the Happy Lantern pokies. You can hit 6+ of the lantern symbols during the base game or free spins. You can also pick the dragon from the Palace of Spins which awards this bonus.
Hold and spin bonuses are common for the Lightning Link pokies. You get 3 spins to add to the number of lanterns on the reels. Each time you hit one, the number of spins remaining goes back to 3. This game ends in two ways. Either you spin 3 times without adding any new prizes, or you fill the entire grid of reels. Filling the reels awards you the grand progressive jackpot.
At the end of your hold and spin bonus, you’ll be awarded all the prizes shown on the lanterns. These include cash awards (in coins), bonuses (mini and minor jackpots) or the major progressive.
The 4 jackpots on Happy Lantern slots each work differently. The biggest prize is called the grand. This is linked with other Lightning Link slots in a casino. It starts at a healthy $10,000 – and often goes much higher than this.
Major jackpots are machine specific. This prize is also progressive. It starts at $500, rising until it either hits $1000 or is won.
Mini and Minor jackpots are fixed amounts. You can win each one multiple times during the hold and spin bonus. The total for each jackpot will rise as you play for bigger coin sizes in proportion to your coin. For example, the minor jackpot is $50 at 1c denomination and $500 at 10c.
Aristocrat put most Asian themed slots into the ‘Dragon Link’ group. Happy Lantern is the one exception. This game joins the mixed themes in the Lightning Link pokies line-up. The gameplay is similar between these groups of pokies. Both have hold and spin bonuses and a single free spins bonus game.
Not yet. Lightning Link pokies are not available online at the time of writing – and can be played exclusively in live casinos. There are many other Aristocrat titles available at online casinos. You can play them for real money or in demo-mode to test out the gameplay.
The main difference is the picks game, where you’ll receive either free spins or hold and spin bonus after choosing a dancing dragon. If you do get the free spins, the number of spins and number of added wilds are randomly assigned. The only other pokie in the range which uses this system is Lightning Link Sahara Gold.