With an entry into the Asian sub-genre, Konami's China Mystery online slot is based primarily around giving players solid, straightforward gameplay. The graphics are fairly basic, though they aren't bad at all, and it's really the balance pay table and interesting approach to bonus features that makes the experience for players here. If you're looking for a straightforward game with a pretty low volatility that still gives you opportunities to wind up as a sizable winner, then this is a title that you will probably gravitate towards. However, if you prefer high-volatility gameplay, then you might want to try a different option instead.
Format and Layout
As is the case with most video slots, this game pays from left to right only with five reels and three rows of symbols. There are 30 paylines, and players have the ability to choose to bet between one coin per payline and 50 coins per payline for a pretty massive betting range of 30 to 1,500 coins per spin. The available coin sizes start at $0.01, and that means the minimum bet size of $0.30 per turn will fit easily within the bankroll of anyone who wants to try out this particular slot.
There is a symbol of a woman wearing a traditional Chinese hat, and she has different Chinese symbols to her left and right on a bright, purple background. This is the wild symbol, and it shows up on the second, third, fourth and fifth reels only. Because she's nowhere to be found on the first reel, she doesn't have a specific set of payouts for herself. However, she's pretty important anyway because she substitutes for every symbol in the entire game, including the bonus symbol that we will take a look at next. This makes her particularly valuable.
Bonus Gold Emblem Symbols
You'll notice a number of circular gold emblems on the reels that have a square space in the center of them. This is the bonus symbol, but it also acts as a regular paying symbol. Moreover, it's one of only two symbols in the entire game that pay for two of a kind or more, so it's easy to see how important it is to the overall gameplay. Since the wild substitutes for this symbol as well, it's even easier to his the bonus feature.
Five of a kind of this symbol is worth a solid 100x win. You can pick up 20x for four as well. Three of a kind earns 5x, and two of a kind pays 2x of this bonus symbol. It's also important to point out that this is not a scatter symbol.
Free Spins and the Balance of Fortune
Three, four or five of the golden bonus symbol on an activated payline will give you eight, 10 or 15 free turns, respectively. When the feature begins, however, you'll have a choice between taking your free spins or using the Balance of Fortune, which will give you a random instant payout. On average, this payout will be larger in exchange for giving up more free spins. The payouts during the free spins are all given a 2x multiplier, and you can re-trigger the feature to add more free turns to your total.
If you re-trigger the feature and have 20 or more free spins remaining, then you can click the icon for the Balance of Fortune and convert all of those free turns into an instant win any time you want. Otherwise, you have to play out your free spins mode.
There's a golden Chinese symbol on a red background that pays 1,000x for five, which is the top payout in the game. Five of the golden turtle is worth 500x, and you can earn 250x for five of a kind of the purple pot or the red lamp. Aside from that, the A and K symbols give you 150x for five, and five of the Q, J, 10 and 9 symbols are each worth 100x. The pay table is balanced overall, and this contributes to the smooth gameplay and low volatility.
The China Mystery video slot by Konami doesn't have the best graphics in the world, and the gameplay is fairly straightforward with a low-volatility style of play. However, the interplay between the wild, the bonus symbol and the Balance of Fortune concept as an alternative to the free spins is somewhat interesting, and it offers a much different approach to what is basically a standardized formula of scatter symbols leading to free spins with multipliers. This game will not appeal to all players, but it's not a complete flop either.