The national animal of the world’s most populous country is the star of Panda King, a Chinese themed slot from Ainsworth. Played using a 5 reel, 20 payline game engine, it comes with a bonus feature where you can choose from 3 free spins options with 3, 4 or 5 symbols becoming wild. Play from between 20p and £2,000 per spin.

The design in Panda King has a traditional Chinese feel – the reels are set within bamboo canes and include Ainsworth’s usual lower value playing cards. They’re accompanied by a pergola, gold ingot, lotus flower, gold coin and a waterfall – 5 waterfalls will get you a payout of 15 times your total stake. The panda is the wild, replacing everything bar the scatter. Rounding out the symbols is the Yin and Yang symbol which is the scatter. So far, so standard.

Where things get far more interesting is in the Free Games feature – to trigger it, you’ll need to land 3 or more Yin and Yang scatters anywhere on the reels on the same spin. After being awarded a payout of 3 times your total stake, you’ll be given the choice of 3 free spin/added wild combinations. The options are:

  • 12 free spins with the coin, waterfall and pergola symbols on reels 2, 3 and 4 replaced by the wild panda.
  • 10 free spins with the coin, waterfall, pergola and lotus flower symbols on reels 2, 3 and 4 replaced by the wild panda.
  • 8 free spins with the coin, waterfall, pergola, lotus flower and ingot symbols on reels 2, 3 and 4 replaced by the wild panda.

In the feature, look out for the Chinese letter for fortune. If a 5-of-a-kind win is landed using the fortune symbol in combination with 2 wilds, then that payout is doubled. If it contains 3 wilds, the payout is trebled. You can retrigger another set of free spins if you land 3 scatters here too.

Panda King is a pretty basic affair – it has the look and sound of a live casino slot so don’t expect lavish visuals. Where the game excels is in the Free Games feature where the added wilds can have a big impact. The free spins aren’t the easiest to trigger but they can certainly deliver when they do. We’d put the variance in the medium to high range.

The giant panda is an endangered species – the same could be said for hitting a big win in Panda King. It may not happen frequently but it will be memorable when you do. If you like pandas, you’re in luck as there are plenty of slots featuring them – my favourite is NextGen Gaming’s Pandamania.