It's rare that you see a video slot that's able to step outside of the box in terms of format in a way that hasn't been used a lot. With the iSoftBet-powered The Dalai Panda game, however, that's exactly what you get. The game is set up in a way that the features and gameplay all center around a different style of format than what you've probably ever seen before, and that's the sort of thing that can make a title really stand out. In terms of gameplay style, it has a reasonably high hit-rate and a medium-level volatility considering the layout.
Layout and Format
You'll notice as soon as you start playing that the layout is different than normal. You'll see six reels split into two sections with three reels on each side. What you have is essentially two different three-reel slots to begin with. The left three reels pay from left to right, and the right three reels pay from right to left. However, each of them uses an "all ways" format, and that means that there are 27 ways to win on each set at any given time.
These reels can combine to create a six-reel slot if wins are available that would be four of a kind or more, so there's an alternating style of gameplay as well. When this happens, there are actually 729 total ways to win, which is a pretty huge number.
The base bet for this title is 30 coins. The available values of coins go from $0.01 to $1 each, so you're getting $0.30 to $30 as an overall bet range, which we think is sufficient for just about everyone.
The Free Spins Bank and Feature
If you get three-of-a-kind wins on each set of reels at the same time, then you'll be paid out normally, but you'll also see a free spin added to the bank. Your bank starts out at five, and it continues to increase in size until you actually trigger the feature. It's important to note that there's a separate bank for each bet size, and that means that you really need to pick a bet size and stick to it when you play this game to get the most value in the long run.
Picking up three or more of the bonus symbol anywhere on the game board will trigger the free spins with the given number of free turns in your bank.
Wild and Bonus Scatters
Wilds are the bamboo symbols in this game, and they don't help you to get winning combinations of their own. They also do not substitute for the bonus symbols.
However, the bonus symbols don't only help you to get free spins. Instead, they also contribute in the form of some of the biggest overall payouts in the game. Six of a kind earns you a win of 1,000x. You can also pick up 600x for five of a kind or 300x for four of a kind. There is no three of a kind prize for the bonus symbols.
Other Wins and Payouts
Five animal symbols make up the upper end of the pay table. They are represented by five colors as well. The red bird will earn 500x for six of a kind, and you can pick up 350x for six of the monkey symbol as well. The turtle is worth 250x for six, and six of a kind combinations of the small birds or fish will give you 200x or 150x, respectively.
Four letters representing playing card ranks form the lower end of the table. The purple A and red K symbols each get 100x or 75x, respectively, for six of a kind. You can also pick up 50x or 40x for six of the blue Q or green J along similar lines.
The Dalai Panda is a fun game by iSoftBet with a cool theme that's pulled together by a smart take on changing up the format of the game. The all-ways aspect of this format provides a lot of action in terms of hit-rate, but you're rewarded for longer sessions thanks to the free spins accumulator bank function. While these free spins will hold over until future sessions, the real idea here is to give players an incentive to keep playing. Because of this, a smart strategy for this title could be to play longer sessions but with a smaller bet size than you might normally use.