The thunderous echoes of lucky drums being thumped signals the re-emergence of those cute little Fu Babies who featured on the opulent reels of 88 Fortunes. This time, you’ll be hoping they’re followed by the sound of cymbals clashing together, which indicates they’ve delivered good fortune your way.
Software by Shuffle Master powers the Dancing Drums video slot. The game will already be familiar to many players, as the Twinstar J43 machine version can be found at numerous brick-and-mortar casinos in Las Vegas. If you’ve played and loved it, you’ll be chuffed to learn that this version for online casinos remains the same. The Fu Babies have returned with a whopping four progressive jackpots up for grabs. There’s also a free spins feature, which can result in the game engine transforming to provide a jaw-dropping 7,776 ways to win.
In terms of the game engine you’ll experience playing the base game, Dancing Drums is a 5-reeled slot with the cultural symbols of Asia appearing across three rows. There are 243 ways to win – and what generous Fu Babies! Just like 88 Fortunes, all the action is accompanied by a rhythmic wind and chime soundscape that captures the aura of the Far East. The reels have been filled with the usual wealth-related symbols that we see so often in Asian-inspired casino slot machines.
While you have the option to play for free with no download needed below, those of you who want the drum-beating Fu Babies to deliver real cash your way will have to put your hand in your pocket. However, the stakes might prove too costly for players who like to bet minuscule amounts on each spin.
That’s because the betting options for Dancing Drums revolve around the Chinese belief that the number eight is auspicious. Beginning at a costly low limit of 0.88 credits, the stakes increment in multiples of eight up to a max bet of 220.00 credits for the wealthiest gamblers.
A red and gold color scheme dominates both the background and reels of the free Dancing Drums slots game. For those of you who aren’t very knowledgeable about Chinese culture, red symbolizes good luck and gold is considered the most beautiful color.
Shuffle Master have also filled the pay table with a host of symbols related to fortune and wealth, which give you a flavor of the Far East during your quest for prosperity. Something else that will have you grinning as widely as the Fu Babies is that Dancing Drums is an all ways online slot, meaning you’ll simply need to match symbols on adjacent reels, beginning on the leftmost reel. This keeps things simple and saves you having to worry about which payline the symbols will land on.
Now it’s time to check out the eleven regular symbols that you’ll be aiming to match, so those lucky drums start beating as your balance soars.
Despite the theme providing ample opportunity for Shuffle Master to create unique symbols, this did not happen. It’s the six playing card symbols that we see so often in their online slot machines as the least valuable symbols that are once again included here. What’s most disappointing about this, aside from the measly payouts on offer, is that they haven’t even made any effort to give these symbols an oriental twist – they’ve simply been plucked from the Shuffle Master stock graphics library and thrown in. Regardless, the game does keep your balance ticking over with sets of 9, 10 or J symbols being worth up to 0.15x your stake, and slightly better rewards of up to 0.20x on offer for lining up Q, K and A symbols.
Thankfully, the creative team at Shuffle Master have put a lot more effort into designing the six highest-paying symbols that feature in Dancing Drums. Fortune coins see you secure up to 1x your stake, and the ornaments are worth up to 1.5x. The beautiful sight of golden lotus sees you collect up to 2x, while golden ships sail upon the reels to deliver wins of up to 4x your stake. Those distinctive Chinese guardian lions roar onto the reels to see you pocket a maximum of 8x.
Nevada-based Shuffle Master have also included a couple of special symbols in Dancing Drums, with the inclusion of a very powerful wild symbol and a scatter symbol that could see you play for free.
Appearing only on the second, third and fourth reels, the wild is represented by a framed Chinese symbol. Not only does this possess the usual substituting powers of wilds, but one or more appearing during a spin could result in the jackpot bonus game being randomly triggered. If you’re one of the lucky players to experience this, you’ll be taken to a new screen where you get to pick from twelve fortune coins to reveal three matching ones – which results in you winning the corresponding jackpot. The largest jackpot is the Grand, followed by the Major, Minor and Mini in decreasing order.
It’s those lucky drums that represent the scatters, and you’ll be enjoying banging wins worth up to 44x whenever they dance onto the reels. Land three or more from the leftmost reel, and you’ll know the Fu Babies have showered you with good fortune. This triggers a free spins bonus game where you get to choose from five options that will determine the number of free spins awarded and the size of the grid they’ll play out on.
There are 15 free spins on a 3×5 grid, ten free spins on a 4×5 grid, five free spins on a 5×5 grid, or three free spins on a 6×5 grid on offer. But that’s only four choices, we hear you say. That’s right: the fifth and final option is a mystery pick that could see any combination of free spins and grid size selected. Just don’t cry like a baby if you receive the bare minimum!
While the lowest stake will make it too expensive for players with a small bankroll, and disappointingly no effort was made to give the playing card symbols an oriental look, those are pretty much the only negatives we’ve got on the Dancing Drums slots.
It boasts a decent payout percentage of 96.06%, plus it’s great to be able to choose how many free spins you’d like and watch the game engine change before they play out. And the inclusion of four progressive jackpots is simply fantastic. It’s safe to say that we’re never going to grow tired of seeing those Fu Babies – we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they return very soon!