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Happy Panda, a video slot released by NetEnt in June 2019 is another slot which has been cloned and repackaged for the massive Chinese market. This time the NetEnt title who’s engine and features have been ‘borrowed’ is 2018’s Ancient Greek themed slot, Divine Fortune. The Mount of Olympus has been replaced here with a peaceful Asian jungle inhabited by none other
than the Happy Panda himself.
This slot has a 5x3 reel set with 20 fixed paylines and comes with an industry-standard RTP of 96.64%. Of medium volatility, Happy Panda comes complete with a selection of fun features including; falling wild respins, expanding wilds, free spins, and three jackpots including a huge progressive jackpot. The biggest wins usually come from the free spins round although the biggest win possible to come from the Mega Jackpot which starts at €10,000. You can play Happy Panda from €0.20 to €100 a spin at NetEnt casinos.
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Design and Symbols
The team at NetEnt have done another good job here in setting the scene with their design. The action takes places in a peaceful bamboo forest. Bamboo canes frame the white, translucent reels.
Through the reels, you can make out the path of a flowing river flowing from a waterfall and snaking through the jungle. To the bottom right of the gameboard is a large bamboo leaf with three round holes used to hold coins collected during one of the features – but we’ll get to that later. Play is
accompanied by a suitably tranquil Chinese instrumental.
Low value symbols are the standard card values J-A. High value symbols are Koi Carp, flying birds, ducks, and bamboo trees. Bamboo trees are the most valuable symbol with 5 on a payline awarding 80x the bet size. The wild is the Happy Panda, and the scatter is a pink lotus flower.
- Falling Wild Respins
- Gift of Double Wilds
- Giant Panda Jackpot
- Free Spins
Falling Wild Respins
A wild landing anywhere on the board triggers falling wild respins while the remainder of the reels respins, whereupon the wild symbol moves down one row. This continues until the wild drops out of view. Fresh wilds landing higher on the board than the initial wild enable the feature to continue. The feature ends when no more wild symbols are in view.
Gift of Double Wilds
If a wild lands on top of a falling wild during falling wild respins the ‘Gift of Double Wilds’ activates to create a wild which covers the entire reel. Not only does this offer more ways to win but it also guarantees another 3 respins.
Giant Panda Jackpot
Coins which land on the board during falling wild respins collect on the aforementioned leaf to the right of the gameboard. Three or more coins activate the Giant Panda Jackpot game. The jackpot
game is only activated once the falling wild respins have ended, whereupon the screen changes and a new board appears in front of the snaking river. The board only contains coin symbols or blank symbols. All coins collected during the respins are added to the board and given a coin value of between 10-200x the bet size. 3 spins are awarded with the aim of collecting more coins on the reels. Each time a coin lands the spins are reset to 3. Filling one of the three rows awards the Minor Jackpot (20x the bet size). Two rows full of coins pays the Major Jackpot (100x the bet size). A full board of 15 coins awards the Mega Jackpot which starts at €10,000 and is progressive.
3, 4, or 5 scatter symbols awards 5, 8, or 12 free spins. During free spins, all wild symbols expand to cover the entire reel and activate falling wild respins. Free spins cannot be retriggered.
Our Thoughts on Happy Panda
Happy Panda is a good addition to the batch of titles which have been repackaged for the Asian market. The theme will no doubt appeal to them more than the Greek-inspired Divine Fortune, or
indeed the other NetEnt clone of Divine Fortune, the Egyptian themed Mercy of the Gods. While this isn’t as volatile as some of the other cloned slots, Happy Panda is a fun game with decent
features which have a good hit rate. There is too, of course, enormous potential with that Mega Jackpot which starts at a tasty €10,000 (which equates to 50,000x the bet size playing at the lowest
stakes possible). The chances of winning that progressive jackpot are very slim, naturally, even more so if you play at low stakes – but the potential is there nonetheless, and that will be enough of a draw for some people for sure. All in all, a good slot, reimagined well.