Tue, May 14, 3:44am by Noah Taylor
Last Updated Mon, Oct 7, 11:24pm
Fans of Asian themed pokies will quickly see that Big Red Lantern from Bally ticks all the right boxes. This is not the most complex game, though the design is impressively detailed. Those red lanterns, released as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations, play a central role. There are also dragons, koi carp and a baby in traditional costume on the reels.
This game uses all-ways wins. This gives the free spins bonus a lot of potential. With all-ways, plus richer reels which have the lower paying symbols removed, you have big win opportunities on every spin. Here are the key reasons to check out this Asian themed pokie:
Those red lanterns need to land on 3+ consecutive reels from the left to trigger the bonus. Wild symbols do replace them – which makes the feature a little easier to come by than on many other Asian pokies.
You get 10 free spins no matter how many lanterns appear. The difference for hitting 4 or 5 is the scatter prize you get before the free spins start. You’ll get 10x for 4 and 50x your total bet for 5.
When the free spins kick in, the traditional Asian tune is one major difference. The reels now have a lighter backing. Those cosmetic differences will soon become less relevant to you – once you notice that all the lower paying (playing card) symbols have been removed from the reels.
With only high paying symbols, wilds and bonus symbols left on the reels, your big-win potential shoots up. You’ll find many of the symbols in short stacks. These are long enough to cover all 3 spaces on one or more reels at times.
Lanterns on the reels make it possible to retrigger this bonus game at any time for 10 more spins.
Reel-Ways is what Bally use to describe their pokies which do not use traditional win-lines. With all-ways type systems, symbols need to match on consecutive reels – starting on the left. As long as there are no gaps of a full-reel, you will win a prize. Those prizes are easier to come by than on ‘win-line’ games. To balance this, they are generally smaller. Your biggest wins will come from spins where you hit multiple 5 of a kind wins.
Wilds make a bigger difference in all-ways systems than on regular pokies. These can connect many wins (if you get them on reels 2 and 3 for example). These wilds show a traditional ‘Fu Baby’ – complete with makeup.
I like the way that Bally has given the higher paying symbols a coloured background, while those symbols providing smaller wins have a light backing. This makes the game-play super-easy to follow.
Golden dragons top the prizes, these are detailed symbols with the artwork standing out even compared to similar games. Other higher paying symbols include traditional envelope full of coins, a circular symbol showing a pagoda and a traditional dancing drum.
Playing card filler symbols are in play – though only for the base game.
It is rare to find an Asian themed pokie which does not have a red and gold background these days – and Bally’s Big Red Lantern is no exception. This pokie does not stand out from similar games until you get close. At this point you will see the impressive detail level of the individual symbols.
Wilds and lanterns stand out. Those wilds show a well-fed ‘Fu Baby’ wearing a traditional costume and makeup. Lanterns bulge, filling their space completely. You can see the orange glow from the candle inside. Symbols do change design for the free spins bonus, though most are easy to compare with those from the base game.
Compared to many similar games, Big Red Lantern is solid rather than complex. Most Asian pokies have a picks game, progressive jackpot prizes (or even both) to go with the free spins. With no random-on reel features either – this game really is all about those free spins. Luckily, Bally have made this feature worth hitting. With all the low paying symbols removed, there are plenty of chances to hit those big 5- of a kind wins!