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The Katana slot machine is a classic in the UK and if you go into a casino in London you are very likely to see someone playing this game (along with Book of Ra, Lord of the Ocean, Lucky Ladys Charm and Beetle Mania).
Katana by Novomatic focuses on the legends about Samurai and their traditional weapon katana, a sword believed to posses almost supernatural powers - if forged properly.
The mythology surrounding katana is rich and there are numerous stories and proverbs that reference this beautiful piece of weaponry. The legend about 7 of the most prominent katanas of Japan is the one that stands out and we choose to believe that this is the story which served as the basis for the Novomatic's interpretation of the theme.
The main symbols are the Shogun, Geisha, Katana, Horseman, Archers and Pagodas, while calligraphy-styled card symbols A, K, Q, J and 10 are the low ranking icons.
Katana has 3 rows, 5 reels and 20 adjustable paylines, the number of which can be manually decreased and increased using – and + commands placed on the left side of the screen, next to the line bet button.
The minimum wager is set at $0.01 and the maximum amount that the player can bet on a single spin is capped at $40. Autoplay option is available, but there are no advanced options for Auto spins that can be selected before activating the mode – the reels will keep on spinning until you manually stop them.
If a spin in base game mode results in a win, the player will be offered to use the Gamble feature, which increases the amount if one accurately guesses the card color. At least three matching symbols forming a combination from left to right will generate a payment. The highest payout is awarded for Katana icon formation, which pays up to 8,000 coins and triggers the bonus feature at the same time. The expected return to player is 95.02% which is generally considered as low.
Samurai symbol is the Wild and as such can become a valid part of any icon combination, completing the string and producing a payment. Katana Scatter cannot be replaced by the Shogun icon; this symbol triggers the Free Spins bonus, which can be re-triggered if the same icon combination lands on the reels during the bonus spins.
Wild Shogun symbols can also appear during the Free Spins and expand across the entire reel after the win. When the Wild icon covers the reel, chances of hitting a big win are significantly increased since multiple winning combinations can be competed that way.
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Strong and weak points of Katana slot
The strongest features of Katana slot are the re-triggerable Free Spins and the expanding Wilds, that can result in generous payouts if the player is fortunate enough to land higher value icons and combine them with the Wilds.
Regrettably, this is pretty much all that you can expect in terms of bonus features which is why a more demanding player will probably not re-visit Katana or play it for a very long time.
When it comes to design and bonus features, players who already have some experience with Novomatic slots will know what to expect.
The developer does not get out of their comfort zone with this release and the first-time players who are only just encountering with the earlier Novomatic releases should be prepared not to get their hopes up.
The RTP percentage is too low to compensate for the unimaginative bonus features, but for the sake of objectivity, it has to be mentioned that the slot has been launched back in 2011 and a lot has changed since. Looking at the game from that perspective, one can rate it as a decent slot with a captivating theme and attractive visuals.