Shikibu might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of legendary authors. In her native Japan, Shikibu has reached the status of legend. This author lived around 1000 years ago. You’ll find her on the reels of this Konami pokie – along with other iconic symbols associated with Japan. Even the playing card symbols used so often in pokies have been given a makeover. They have an Eastern font – and are decorated with flowers.
To go with the unusual theme, there are some unusual elements in the slot game play. The middle reel has doubled symbols – increasing your line hit chances. When you get the free spins bonus, you will have a strategy choice to make. Here are the highlights:
As soon as you see this Shikibu, you’ll notice something unusual about the 3rd reel. There is a frame around this, and all of the symbols are in pairs – one above the other. These are the same symbols as appear on the rest of the reels.
30 win-lines are in use. With two symbols on each row in the middle reel, your winning chances get a boost. Flower symbols, which are wild, come stacked on this middle reel, giving you even more chances of hitting that big win. Bonus symbols also appear. These count as full scatter symbols, even though they only take half of the space.
Red envelope symbols are the bonus / scatter symbols. You need 3 anywhere in view to trigger the free spins. Getting 4 or 5 on a single spin will not increase the number of spins you win, though it will give you bigger scatter prizes.
Before the spins start there is a sparkling golden explosion. When the screen clears, you’ll see 5 coloured tiles – each giving you an option of how you’d like your spins to play out. The balance is between the number of free spins, and the size of the multipliers assigned to the wilds.
Here are the 4 choices (the mystery tile is covered below).
The mystery choice tile is in the middle. This gives you a random number of spins, with random multipliers. You could get lucky, getting 20 games with the highest multipliers, you could also get the opposite – 3 free games with the lowest!
Compared to some picks style free spins I have seen, the volatility with these is high. If you choose 3 or 5 spins, you certainly have the potential for huge hits. At the same time, you could end the bonus with no wins at all.
If you get 3 more red envelopes during your bonus, you’ll retrigger for the same games you picked to start with.
While the 3rd reel having doubled symbols gives this game an unusual look, this does not affect the setup. You’ll find a 30 win-line game, with a 5×3 grid for the reels. Those flower wilds will substitute for any other symbol except the scatter red envelopes.
An image of Shikibu is the highest paying symbol. This lady is worth 500 coins for 5 of a kind (a great time to get a big free spins multiplier). Next comes a stork, shown against an orange sun. A turtle, gold ingots and a traditional drum complete the high paying symbols.
A pale skinned lady with traditional headgear dominates the scene. The other symbols are a mix of serene and traditional. There are some animations (the flower opens for example), plus traditional music during the free spins bonus. While this is a recent Konami pokie, it gives the feeling of being deliberately tranquil to go with the traditional theme.
It is unusual to find a pokie with a completely unique theme. Covering a 1000-year-old author from Japan certainly fits the bill for something brand new! You’ll find doubled symbols on the middle reel, which do help to enable a lot of line hits. The free spins bonus is intense. This gives you a shot at getting multipliers of up to 40x on your wins!