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Developed by Konami, Shikibu slot features an Oriental theme. It tells a story about Murasaki Shikibu, a woman who wrote The Tale of Genji around 1000-1012 AD. She was, in fact, Japanese but fluent in Chinese and was also a lady in waiting at the court of Empress Shoshi. Other than that, little is known about her life which allowed Konami to romanticise it in the video slot Shikibu.
The company is based in the Land of the Rising Sun which partially explains their passion for developing Oriental-style slots and combine Japanese, Chinese and traditional Asian themes in a number of their products. Shikibu is a colourful slot game which benefits from 30 paying lines and a 5x3 reel grid. The graphics are striking and the colours most used on screen are green, gold, red and purple. The reels appear to be set against a scroll and there are lovely flowers in the background. As for the symbols, they include playing card denominations and theme-related icons. The playing card icons 9, 10, J, Q, K and A are written in an Oriental font, so, in a way, they fit the theme as well.
Other symbols include a turtle, a crane bird, golden tablets and an image of Murasaki Shikiru in done in Japanese drawing style with a coy expression. She is the best paying regular symbol, but the Scatter pays even more for five of a kind. It is represented by a golden writing on a red background. There is also a Wild in form of a golden lotus. The Wild only appears on the middle reel.
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The Shikibu slot, like many Konami online slots, boasts the Action Stacked Symbols feature. Here, it works as follows: there are predetermined positions on reels 1, 2, 4 and 5 which are randomly replaced with symbols from the paytable. All positions are replaced with the same symbol which leads to stacked symbols and bigger payouts. The middle reel will house double symbols and each will be evaluated separately when the time comes to conclude a winning combination.
The Free Games feature is also incorporated into the gameplay. It takes 3 Scatter symbols to activate the round and the player gets five options to choose from:
· 20 free spins and Wilds turning into multiplier Wilds to complete winning combinations (2x, 3x or 5x)
· 10 free spins and Wilds turning into multiplier Wilds to complete winning combinations (5x, 8x or 10x)
· Mystery choice
· 5 free spins and Wilds turning into multiplier Wilds to complete winning combinations (10x, 15x or 30x)
· 3 free spins and Wilds turning into multiplier Wilds to complete winning combinations (15x, 30x or 40x)
Different reels are used during free games. The round can be triggered again from within free spins.
Shikibu comes with an RTP of 94.02%. The style and beauty of ancient Japan are supported by impressive artwork and the game pays out regularly and reliably despite not having a high return rate. The volatility changes depending on which form of free spins the player chooses.
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