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The Lucky 88 slot machine game is produced by Aristocrat Gaming and focusses on the Chinese luckiness that is bestowed to the number 8. The number 88 is particularly lucky in Chinese culture, hence the name and popularity. The game is quite unusual in being just as popular in Macau and Australia as it is in Las Vegas.
As far as Aristocrat slots go, this one is fairly typical. It has 5 reels and a free spin bonus, which you get in a lot of these games and the sounds are typical of this generation of slots loved by so many.
Lucky 88 is a traditional, Oriental-themed, slot by Aristocrat that does not introduce a specific storyline; instead, it simply features symbols related to Asian folklore: Emperor as the Wild of the game, Red Lantern as the Scatter, etc...
Players will also notice that the payouts have very unusual sums – for example, the Emperor multiplies the win x888, while all other icon combinations will award the totals ending in 8. The reason is the power of number 8, associated with good fortune and prosperity in Asian set of beliefs. Similar in pronunciation to the word Fa, which means to accumulate wealth, 8 has always had an important role in Asian culture and people tend to gravitate towards it. For example, properties with this number come at a much higher value.
Paylines are adjusted through the Lucky 88 slot's main menu, on the same screen with the coin value bar. The coin value ranges from $0.01 to $5.00, making the stake limit $125 per line, on a single spin. To set in motion Auto Play, one can either find the option in the slots menu or click and hold the spin button, activating up to 100 spins.
One will also notice an additional, Extra Choice tab, which is optional and can be turned off and on, at will. Selecting it will add 5 more coins to the player's bet and unlock additional features, that couldn't be triggered otherwise. The return to player percentage depends on the Extra Choice feature – turning it off will decrease the RTP to 87.9%, and leaving it on increases RTP to 96.6%.
The Red Lamp is the Scatter that can trigger the Free Spins bonus; the way this feature is played will depend on whether or not the Extra Choice is on. Once unlocked, the player will have the option to select Free Spins or roll the dice to win. At least 4 Free Spins can be won with a potential multiplier of x88 if a Wild icon completes the winning combination. The maximum number of spins is 25, with x5 or x25 potential multiplier.
Free Spins can also be triggered after every spin. In case the player is not using Extra Choice feature, the number of spins can start at 3 (with x18 or x88 multiplier) and reach 20 bonus rounds with an x5 or x18 potential winning increase.
When the Dice Feature is activated, a player will initially get 3 games and the dice rolls are continued for as long as number 8 lands. Once the feature is complete, the player will receive a monetary award which depends on the number of 8s that landed during the rolling.
Re-triggerable and randomly activated features are the most exciting part of Lucky 88. This is not something that's common to slot bonuses – the spins/features are either triggered by a specific set of symbols or at random, not both ways.
The overall effect that bonuses make is somewhat spoiled by the unimaginative design ad low return to player percentage, even with the Extra Choice Feature on.
Lucky 88 is not likely to be the first choice of players who enjoy Orient themed slots, mostly due to the visuals, which, at a glance, are not very inspirational nor do they bring excitement to mind. The first impression changes drastically once you start playing the game and Lucky 88 slot definitely offers and delivers much more than initially meets the eye.
The game is available to play for real money if you live in the UK and some other European countries, but you will not yet find this on to play for cash if you live in the USA or Canada.
Like a lot of these games, it's the ones you win at that you tend to enjoy the most and last time I played this game I had a really big win, with loads of free spin re-triggers.
In fact, when I last played Lucky 88 slots, it seemed I just couldn't lose, I kept getting the bonus again and again. That makes it one of my favorite game!
That said, I did feel for the lady sitting next to me who did not get a single win and was getting more and more upset every time I hit the bonus. At times, I was wishing she could win instead of me.
With plenty of fire crackers exploding when you hit a win and also, the familiar sound of gongs, this is a game that has a lot of Chinese appeal. Last time I was in Macau, the Lucky 88 slot machine was one of the most popular games I saw.