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Lucky 88 Slot Machine

Aristocrat Leisure Limited released the Lucky 88 slot game in 2008 in their trademark MKVI cabinet, which has housed many of the company’s long time popular games.  The online version of thegame reviewed in this article was released in 2011, the first year Aristocrat began publishing its catalog of slot games for online casinos.

Lucky 88 falls into a category of Asian themed slot games Aristocrat made popular in the 2000s. Designed to appeal to the Asian market, these games emphasize symbols of luck, good fortune, andwealth. Most if not all of them use combinations of red and gold (or yellow) colors and there are invariably a mix of dragons and gods.

Red is the color of good fortune and luck and it is worn at weddings, around the New Year, and at family gatherings, especially for the holidays. Yellow is a neutral color but is considered to bethe most beautiful color by many Chinese people. Yellow is associated with good luck, the five legendary emperors of China, and is often paired with red.

The number 8 is esteemed in Chinese culture because the word for 8, Ba, is pronounced in similar fashion to the word for wealth or good fortune, Fa. The numeral 8 (which is anArabic numeral) is considered to have a perfect symmetry. You can “slice” the character in half either horizontally or vertically and both halves will mirror the other, much like Yin and Yang.

To emphasize the value of “8” in this game of luck, Aristocrat configured most of the prizes to end with the digit “8”. Given how slot games must be designed to achieve a theoretical return toplayer, this was no mean feat, although Aristocrat’s notes describe a somewhat complicated range of RTP estimates depending on how you play the game. The worst, or lowest, estimate is 89.81% RTPbut the highest estimate is 95.60% (you must add more to your wager).

Rules for Lucky 88 Slots

Lucky 88 is a five reel, 3 row video slot game using 25 selectable pay lines. All prizes are paid from left  to right, except for Scatter wins, and only the highest possible prize per payline is paid. Prize amounts are awarded as Credits times Bet Per Line, except the Scatter wins, which are multiplied by the Total Bet amount.

Wild Symbol

The game’s Wild symbol is a portrait of Fu, the Chinese god of luck.  His symbol substitutes for all other symbols in the game except the Scatters. Fu pays 888 times Bet Per Line for fiveof a kind, 388 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, 188 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind, and 8 times Bet Per Line for two of a kind. The Wild can earn a multiplier on any spin. Watchthe fire crackers hanging on both sides of the playing reels. When they go off they reveal a randomly assigned multiplier. If the Wild symbol contributed to a winning combination that prize isadjusted accordingly.

Scatter Symbol

The Red Lantern is the Scatter symbol. Three of more of the Scatters trigger the bonus round which is described below. The Lantern pays 188 times Total Bet for five of a kind, 8 times Total Betfor four of a kind, 2 times Total Bet for three of a kind, and 1 times Total Bet for two of a kind.

Other Symbols and Icons

  • The Golden Fu Dog and the Crane

    both pay 88 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 68 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, 18 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind, and 2 times Bet Per Line for two of a kind.

  • The Golden Totem Pole

    pays 88 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 58 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 18 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.

  • The Temple and Drum symbols

    both pay 78 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 48 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 8 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.

The remaining symbols in the game are drawn from the usual playing card characters.

  • The Ace

    pays 68 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 38 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 8 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.

  • The King

    pays 68 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 38 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 5 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.

  • The Queen, Jack, and 10

    all pay 58 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 18 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 5 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.

  • The 9

    pays 48 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 18 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, 5 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind, and 2 times Bet Per Line for two of a kind.

How to Play Lucky 88 Slot Machine

There are thirteen buttons on the left side of the playing reels and twelve buttons on the right side of the playing reels. Each of these buttons activates a pay line and all lower numbered paylines. These buttons also serve as anchor points for illustrative lines that highlight the prizes won on the various spins.

The orange sound icon is positioned just to the left of green button 5 at the lower left hand corner of the playing reels area. This orange icon toggles the game’s sounds on and off.

The remaining game controls and widgets run across the bottom of the screen in two rows, controls on top and informational widgets on the very bottom.

The purple Info button activates the help screen system. There are seven screens. Click on the Next and Back buttons to move from screen to screen. The system does not wrap back around to thefirst screen so when you reach the last one you have to go back the other way. Click on the Game button to return to the game when you are finished with the help screens.

The Autoplay button activates a dialog box with a long slider. Use the slider to set how many spins you want the game to play for you at current bet settings.  If you have used the Autoplayfeature previous in the same game session you can just click on “Last Settings” and you’re done. Click on the Start button to activate the automatic spins. Otherwise, click on Cancel. Theautomatic spins continue until the last one is completed, or until you exit the game, or until you interrupt the spins, or until you win a bonus round, or until your available balance drops belowthe total bet amount. The Autoplay button becomes a Stop Spin button during the automatic spins.

The Lines widget displays how many pay lines are active. When fewer than 25 pay lines are active the widget’s Max and Plus buttons are enabled. When more than 1 and less than 25 pay lines areactive all three buttons are enabled. When only 1 pay line is active only the Max and Plus buttons are enabled.

The Bet widget works in a similar fashion. Playable Bet Per Line amounts range from 0.02 to 4.00. Use the widget’s Minus and Plus buttons to adjust the values up or down. The Max button isenabled when all but the highest available bet per line amount is chosen.

The Gamble button is only enabled after a paid spin awards a prize. Click on this button to play a special gamble feature with your prize as the stake. Details provided below.

The Spin button initiates a single paid spin.

The Play Extra Choice button adds 20% to your total bet amount. This feature results in additional options being awarded on your bonus rounds. You must play 25 pay lines to receive this feature’sbenefits so clicking on this button sets your active pay lines to 25.

How the Gamble Feature Works

Whenever a basic paid spin pays a prize the Gamble button becomes active. When you click on this button you are taken to a second screen where the back of a playing card is displayed. The objectof the game to either guess what color the card is or which suit it will be drawn from. The game doubles your stake (the prize you just won) for guessing the right color or quadruples it forguessing the right suit.

You can play the game up to five times in a row provided you win each round. The game exists when you collect your money, guess wrong, or complete the fifth choice.

How the Bonus Game Works

When three or more Scatter symbols appear anywhere on the playing reels a bonus round is awarded to the player. You are taken to a selection screen where you choose which bonus game you want toplay. Your options depend on whether the Play Extra Choice feature is active or not.

Normally you can only choose from different configurations for free spins. With the Extra Choice option active you can also choose from a special dice game.

Your options without the Play Extra Choice feature are:

  • 20 Free Games with a random Wild multiplier of either 5 or 18.
  • 10 Free Games with a random Wild multiplier of 8 or 38.
  • 3 Free Games with a random Wild multiplier of either 18 or 88.

Your options with the Play Extra Choice feature are:

  • 25 Free Games with a random Wild multiplier of 5 or 18.
  • 15 Free Games with a random Wild multiplier of 8 or 38.
  • 8 Free Games with a random Wild multiplier of 18 or 88.
  • 4 Free Games with a Wild multiplier of 88.
  • 3 Dice Games.

Dice Game Rules:

  • Each dice game uses 9 dice. The 8 outer dice are rolled first. Any dice rolling up 8 are left in place. The remaining dice are rolled again and this process repeats until either no more “8”values are rolled or all the dice become “8”.
  • A prize is awarded on the basis of how many dice are showing “8”.
  • After the third dice game is completed the inner die is rolled. If it reveals “3 more games” the bonus continues as described above.
  • All prizes are cumulative.

Other Bonus Game Rules:

  • The free spin games can be retriggered by the appearance of three or more Red Lantern symbols.
  • The number of free spins remaining is counted down next to the retrigger icon.

Conclusion

Lucky 88 is one of Aristocrat’s more complicated games, even for the Asian theme category. This game’s numerous bonus round options make it appealing to players who like to explore games anduncover new experiences. The variance spread in the theoretical return to player suggests that even Aristocrat would have trouble projecting just how much an average gamer should expect to keepor win while playing this game. This is a truly chaotic gambling experience.

The game’s sound effects are nothing special. They use the canned synthetic sounds that so many slot games of the era used that you can just turn the sound off and not worry about it. There is nointeresting theme song to listen to over and over again. You don’t even get a fragment of a song during the spins.

The graphics are adequate for a 2008-era game but they were not trying to impress players with the quality of their game images. The background image is more interesting and you can see more ofit on some of the help screens. The exploding fire crackers are a nice touch but they don’t really enhance the gaming experience since the multiplier could have been added on top of the Fuportrait. In fact, you may sometimes see the firecrackers explode when there is no Wild to enhance.

Despite its name Lucky 88 is probably not a good first choice for someone with a limited budget or who has never played slots before. The complicated bonus round choices will certainly confusesome people. It may not help that the game offers so many options. Players can become overwhelmed in the moment, although there is no way to know in advance which combinations of spins andrandomly chosen multipliers will pay best.

Our Thoughts:

Compared to other Asian theme games from Aristocrat like 50 Dragons this one is a tad more challenging and interesting but anyone who has grown accustomed to the high quality visual effects andmusic of more contemporary games will probably become bored with this one relatively quickly.

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