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Occasionally, a slot comes along with no rhyme or reason to its name. Unfortunately that is the case with 50 Dragons.
While its ancient Chinese theme is obvious, where the half-century of fabled beasts come into the equation, I’m not sure.
Still, a slot’s name doesn’t make or break whether it’s enjoyable, playable, and potentially profitable long-term. So let’s take a closer look to see whether 50 Dragons breathes fire or simply blows smoke.
Overview: 50 Dragons Slot
There are some positives when you load up the slot. The graphics have been beautifully realized. The red backdrop of a village is dim, but nicely rendered and the animations on the payline symbols are rather nice.
Another positive is that this is a 5×4 reel slot, rather than a 5×3 reel, which means you can spin for up to 50 paylines every spin. It was made by Aristocrat Gaming.
You can also select how many lines to play, meaning this slot is fantastic for varying your bet size from $0.01 up to a maximum bet of $100.
In addition, wins can be increased by way of a “gamble” feature (which is the usual card selection game to play) and of course there is the now seemingly obligatory free spins round to aim for bigger wins.
However, two key things drag 50 Dragons down.
First, the sound. I could be kind and describe the sound as “retro,” but “dismal” is more appropriate. The slot sounds cheap and that is at odds with the rather ostentatious look of the game. You’ll be hitting the mute button in no time.
The other big issue is base game wins, which are generally very small. The gamble feature will no doubt be in use a lot as you try to wager up smaller wins into big ones. The size of base game wins, if you play all paylines, is generally rather small.
Who will 50 Dragons slot appeal to?
There is obviously a huge following for Eastern-styled slots given how many of them there are, and this slot will certainly appeal to fans of the genre. Yet, they may wonder where the 50 Dragons reference comes from as they don’t appear anywhere in the game that I can see.
Slot gamers who like rewarding free spins rounds will also find something here as it is during free spins that the better wins are available.
The good news is that triggering free spins isn’t too rare an event. That is one thing 50 Dragons definitely has right.
Gameplay: 50 Dragons
The gameplay is relatively simple. Play the base game and hope to hit free spins, because in all likelihood, unless you get very lucky on the gamble feature, you will lose money on the base game and then hope to trigger free spins to win that money (or more) back.
Wilds and scatters do appear frequently on the reels, but the base game wins are disappointingly small and don’t make you want to play on. However, it is usually then that you hit free spins and the game does pick up considerably.
Unfortunately, that’s all there is to the 50 Dragons slot. There’s no pick-me games and it can be frustrating to have to continually gamble a small win into better value to try and maintain your bankroll.
Special features: 50 Dragons
Pearl wild symbol
The Pearl symbol is the in-game wild which can substitute for all high and low symbols to create additional winning paylines.
Gold ingot scatter
Land three or more of these to trigger the free spins round, which sees an additional Pearl wild added to the reels with every successive free spin. Free spins can be retriggered again, but you will only receive an additional five free spins if you do so.
Any win can be gambled by clicking on the red “gamble” button. Here, you can double or quadruple your win by correctly predicting the color or suit of the next card randomly drawn from a pack of cards.
If you like peace and quiet then you’ll enjoy the 50 Dragons slot. This is not because it hasn’t got any sound, but because the sound is so comically bad that you are likely to hit the mute button within a few seconds.
Free spins are what save this slot from being a duff. We like the fact you add extra wilds to the reel with successive spins and that you can trigger free spins relatively frequently.
But the real bonus here is the decent-sized wins during free spins.
Stacked high-paying symbol
The highest paying high symbol (the lion head against a black background) is stacked across all the reels. When landed with a wild this can see you land good-sized wins, especially in free spins.
I didn’t think it was possible to make a 2016 slot game sound like a 1982 arcade game, but it’s been achieved here. To say the sound is basic is an understatement. Being kind, we could call it retro.
Being unkind, you could call it completely dull.
Eastern-themed slots are very common and 50 Dragons doesn’t seem to be sure of what its theme actually is beyond this broad definition.
Does anyone know what the symbols are on the reels, or why? We didn’t. You may argue that doesn’t matter, but if you like to play a slot with a little context, that ambiguity could irk you after a while.
Small base game wins
Sure, they come along relatively frequently, but most are tiny, often around 10 percent of your total bet. Multiple line wins are common, which is a positive, but this is a slot which frustrates you as you think you are winning when you are actually losing money pretty quickly.
Graphics and soundtrack 2/5
I have no complaints with the graphics as they are a bright, cheerful, relevant to the theme of the slot and have some nice animations. Unfortunately, the sound is taken straight from a 1980s arcade game, and not a good one at that.
Originality and creativity 2/5
It’s nice to see a break from the more usual 5×3 reel slot and 50 paylines is also nice.
However, the features don’t really make this game remarkable creatively. It lacks a little originality in the gameplay. It should be noted that the extra wild on every successive free spin is a nice touch.
Play value 2/5
You can play 50 Dragons for almost any amount of money — from $0.01 up to $100 per spin. Wins are relatively regular, but most wins are smaller than what you wagered, hence the play value isn’t that great.
However, decent wins during free spins do improve matters.
Jackpot potential 1/5
With a jackpot of 1000 times your bet, this isn’t a slot that is going to make you fabulously wealthy. Rewards in free spins can be good, but the base game isn’t particularly rewarding.
Repeat play 2/5
The free spins rewards may keep you coming back to play 50 Dragons for a few weeks, but its longer-term appeal is doubtful given the paucity of action in the base game and the relatively small jackpot.
Total score 9/25
Awful sound notwithstanding, 50 Dragons is not a bad slot. It just doesn’t do anything exciting to make you want to play again.
Combine this with small base game wins and a small jackpot, and there’s not an awful lot of “wow” factor here. The free spins round redeems the slot a little, but with no other features to play for, you’ll be looking elsewhere before too long.