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Monkey King pokies are only available at Internet casinos that run Microgaming’s casino gambling software. This poker machine is one of many titles by Microgaming that offer video clips, animations, and sound effects as well as a bonus game, opportunities for free spins, and lots of multipliers but lack a progressive prize.
Besides the lack of a progressive system, Monkey King has a nice selection of bonus features – a wild symbol and a scatter symbol along with a free spins round are the best ways to win large jackpots; the game’s static prizes are on the small side, but that’s typical of pokies with equally small available bet sizes.
The setting and storyline of the game come directly from Chinese mythology. The Monkey King is an actual fable told in parts of Asia, a Chinese tale about the king of all monkeys who travels to the West with his monkey friends. Without knowledge of the story, it is hard to know what the characters mean and what part they play, so you’ll need to check the pay table regularly to make sure you know the value of the different images and characters.
On the downside, the animations and drawings of the images are a little cluttered, especially if it is played in any version except full screen. The colours are bright and cheerful, but the images and background are a little muddy; studying the pay table is recommended since telling the characters apart is more difficult than with other Microgaming pokies.
Monkey King is styled after Asian poker machine games. Bright colours and plentiful short animations set the appearance of this pokie apart from others in Microgaming’s library. The theme and design of the game are also Asian-inspired.
Though Monkey King lacks fancy three-dimensional graphics or a complex plot like some modern Internet pokies, the look of the game (including short animations and video clips) along with a lively soundtrack and plentiful character sounds complete the atmosphere. Of course Microgaming has included player options that allow bettors to control the volume of sound effects and music, which is nice for players who want to play more than a handful of rounds, as the effects and background tunes are a bit repetitive.
Monkey King has thirty pay lines available for wagers, and allows bets of between one and twenty credits per line. That sets a credit bet range between one and 600 per spin. Credits can be worth $0.01, $0.02, or $0.05 each, meaning a total wager variety of between $0.01 per spin and $30 per spin.
The top jackpot as published on this pokies’ pay table is 1,000 credits, worth between $10 and $50 depending on the size of credit the player chooses. That is a pretty small top prize, especially compared to other Internet poker machine games that have progressive jackpots that climb up into the six- and seven-figure range. But like many of Microgaming’s video bonus titles, the most valuable prizes come from multipliers, free spins, and other in-game features.
The symbols in this Microgaming title are all characters in the story – gone are the playing card symbols common to five reel / thirty pay line titles by this designer, and there are no inanimate symbols usually found on poker machine pay tables. Besides the Monkey King himself, seven other characters lead to pay outs – a bull-like creature and one with the face of a pig appear alongside five other human characters, each wearing similar clothes against a different-coloured background.
A few special symbols and game features are built in to the game and lead to more valuable jackpots – the wild symbol is a stacked symbol, and the scatter triggers multiplier rewards, free spins, and additional wild symbols.
The game’s stacked wild symbol is the Monkey King himself. He can replace all other symbols in the game (except the scatter symbol, which is described in more detail below) to increase a player’s chances of forming winning symbol combos. The game’s largest fixed jackpot comes from spinning five wild symbols on an active line.
The scatter symbol, the game’s logo, pays a scatter jackpot when it appears anywhere (even on inactive pay lines). When three, four, or five scatter appear on any reel or line, the poker machine’s bonus game is triggered. This bonus round is the most lucrative option in the game, rewarding as many as twenty-five free spins, jackpot and bet multipliers of up to 4x, and the automatic presence of one, two, or three additional wilds during the free spins round. When the scatter symbol bonus is initiated, the prizes (like additional wild symbols) jump up off the reels and announce themselves, and these prize announcements are some of the best-looking animations in the entire game. On the downside, the appearance of the scatter game is pretty rare.
Gamblers looking for a less expensive pokie may be drawn to this game, though the most valuable rewards require max bets, and since the max wager on Monkey King is $30 per round, the appeal to penny poker machine fans is limited. At the same time, the scatter symbol bonus can lead to large amounts of free spins and wager multipliers, and the stacked wild feature is lucrative in its own right.
Asian-style poker machines are not a common release by Microgaming, and in many ways the drawbacks of Monkey King explain why that is. The complex scatter bonus round and the use of characters as symbols is very different from the company’s typical releases, so it requires a little bit of extra study by players used to the company’s normal five reel and thirty pay line offerings. The designers didn’t incorporate the Gamble Game feature used on most of their non-progressive video bonus games, and the small prizes attached to symbol combos, even combinations that lead to the biggest jackpots, would be more attractive if bettors could choose to stake their jackpots for a chance at a 2x or 4x multiplier, as is the case with so many of their other pokies.
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