Aristocrat is known for making high volatility games, and they tend to be winners, and Fu Dai Lian Lian is another example of their persistence in developing games that people want to play despite periodic levels of difficulty.
In this case, the high volatility is denoted through some pretty common slot machine tropes. For one, there is the Asian theme, which is usually a sign in the slot world the game is going to be a bit tougher.
This is reinforced by the 88 credit bet increments, with 8s being a lucky number in China and Japan, particularly. The game evaluates 50 lines.
The game also has other elements which can create volatility, such as stacked symbols. There are two versions, Dragon and Panda, with very subtle differences around the bonus structure.
The game has the traditional four jackpots seen on games of this type, but in a slight tweak on the game model the mini and minor move proportionally to the bet, so the odds of getting them on any bet level are the same. The Major and Grand are the same Progressive value available at all levels, so higher bets will increase your odds of seeing one.
The games are multi-denomination, and you can play at dimes, which allows at least a $26.40 spin based on what I have seen.
The game also introduces a twist on the bonus model. There are three different bonuses, linked to three different coins. Just like most games of this style have some sort of pot/fireworks/bag of some sort, with coins flying up to potentially trigger a bonus, so does this, but instead of a progressive pick, you can trigger a bonus.
There are three colored coins, linked to a matching bag:
- Green/Prosperity: This one slightly differs between the two themes. Both give you grow reels. Panda nudges the wilds, while Dragon offers more wilds.
- Purple/Longevity: You can win more free games, or credit prizes, behind the purple coins. Multipliers are applied to the line hits.
- Red/Jackpot: You can collect the letters to win a jackpot behind the coins.
When a coin flies up to the bag, it can do nothing, the bag can grow (which is nice for visuals but means nothing about when a bonus will trigger), or the bag will trigger and a bonus is awarded. 5 free spins are awarded for Prosperity or Longevity to start; 10 free spins are awarded with Jackpot.
These can be won in combination, with their powers combining. This happens if multiple different coin colors appear, and the bags for multiple colors rotate. I have seen instances where not all the bags rotate with the coins on screen, but more often than not they all do seem to rotate when present.
If you win Jackpot with either Prosperity or Longevity, you get the 10 free spins. However, you cannot trigger any additional bonuses under the Jackpot bonus, only additional spins if Longevity Bonus is active. If you are Prosperity, Longevity, or the combination of the two, it is possible to retrigger as the coins retain their color and can trigger a fresh bonus to follow after the current one is complete.
The most rare of all is the Mega Feature, which brings all three of the features’ abilities together – taller reels, chances to add more spins, and the possibility of collecting a jackpot, all with more/nudging wilds, depending on the version, to also bring line hits.
It’s the chase of these bonuses, and the ability for the bonuses to combine powers, along with the jackpot bonus aiming to collect all the letters (and frequently come close, but not quite, to completing the bigger progressives) that makes this game so seductive.
When the game is active, it can be quite a lot of fun, but it can also get quiet in a hurry, with money slipping away fast. This is not unusual for an Aristocrat game, nor an Asian themed game for that matter, but it is something to keep in mind when sitting down to play this.