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Chi by ELK Studios released on 07.05.2019 is a 5-reel & 3-row online slot with 54 paylines and a 96% RTP. This is a asian-themed game offering players a max win of up to 12500x their stake. Chi can be played on all devices from €0.2 to €20 per spin and is considered a high volatility game.
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Design & Symbols
You can usually rely on any Asian-themed slots to contain a number of standard design features, and Chi certainly has its share; Cherry Blossom Trees, Pagodas, misty and mountainous backdrops. However, there are enough individual touches to this slot to steer it away from the generic.
Firstly, the gameboard is both unique and splendid. The intro to the game sees Chi and Mow flying up the mountains on clouds until they reach the lost city where the game is played. Two red pillars hold up a Japanese style roof, under which the gameboard, a cylindrical 5x3 reel tower, spins from left to right. The reels are horizontal rather than vertical, which is initially confusing but ultimately quite satisfying. Cherry Blossom trees flank the gameboard while the backdrop shows distant mountains, pagodas, and towers in the eerie mountain mist. Short, spinning totem poles sit either side of the gameboard. When involved in play, Chi stands to the left and Mow to the right next to their respective totems. A typical Oriental, genteel soundtrack accompanies play.
Low value symbols are flutes, cups, fans, and flutes. The higher value symbols are represented by jade stones, golden gourds, fire lanterns and lotus flowers. The lotus flower is the most valuable, worth 10x the bet size. The game also has a wild, a bonus scatter, and free spins scatter.
The base game has two reel modifier features, Chi’s fireball wild and Mow’s gong-gong multipliers. The two bonus game features include a free spin round and the Stairway to Fortune path of bet multipliers.
Chi’s Fire Totem
Fire spirit Chi awakens when the three rotating parts of his totem reveal a complete symbol. Chi joins the action by hurling fireballs at the reels which transform into between 1-6 wild symbols.
Mow’s Wind Totem
Wind spirit Mow springs to life when his wind totem reveals a complete symbol. Mow hits the gong-gong next to his totem which will send a multiplier of between 2x – 5x which is then applied to any wins on the board.
Land 3, 4, or 5 free spins scatters to earn 10, 15, or 20 free spins. During free spins, all wild generated by Chi remains sticky throughout. Also, Mow’s progressive multiplier remains sticky during free spins and can go up to 5x.
Stairway to Fortune
3 bonus scatters trigger the Stairway to Fortune bonus round, the most lucrative of all. Chi and Mow work together to acquire as many bet multipliers as possible as the travel towards the Fortune Reels. Chi reveals random numbers between 1-6 and Mow will move a corresponding number of steps along the cloud path towards the Fortune Reels. On each stop Mow will collect the bet multiplier attached to the cloud he is on. Chi will continue to draw numbers and Mow will continue to progress towards the Fortune Reels. The round is over when Chi draws collect rather than a number, whereupon the collected multipliers will be added to form the total win. If, however, Mow makes it all the way to Fortune Reels, big money is on the horizon. One spin is guaranteed on each of the ascending 5 reels. Hitting the ‘up’ arrow on the final reel results in a 10,000x bet multiplier. In total it is possible to win a huge 12,500x the bet size here.
Our Thoughts on Elk
Elk have pulled off a great coup with Chi, developing a wholly original Asian themed slot with superb artwork, memorable characters, a quirky design, and more importantly great features with huge potential. During our test spins, we were fortunate enough to play on the Fortune Reels resulting in a win of over 1,000x, as well as some tasty scores with Chi’s fireballs wilds. This will be down to beginners luck no doubt as this is a highly volatile game. As such, you’ll need to prepare for some dead spins along the way to your own stairway to fortune. However, there is plenty to keep you occupied along the way. Enjoy.