Eye of the Panda

(Hacksaw Gaming) Slot Review

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Eye of the Panda: Slot Overview

Thanks to the American group Survivor's theme song from Rocky III, we're pretty clued up on the 'Eye of the Tiger', but have you ever heard of Eye of the Panda? Nah, neither, till now. Eye of the Panda is the name given to an online slot from developer Hacksaw Gaming, which shifts the focus away from tigers to their more placid panda brothers and sisters. However, being a Hacksaw Gaming slot means players should be mentally prepared for anything but placid in a slot that does all sorts of intriguing tricks with wilds, wild multipliers, and jumping wild multipliers.

Eye of the Panda is a classically presented Hacksaw Gaming slot, juxtaposing drab monochrome colours with bright splashes of neon, à la Chaos Crew and Chaos Crew 2, RIP City, and Break Bones, for example. Also in character, Eye of the Panda features a grumpy panda character lurking cross-armed next to the game grid, occasionally chowing down on fast food. The visuals create a strangely compelling scene, and a special shout-out goes to Eye of the Panda's music maker, as the Asian-influenced electronica can really add to the adrenal rushes when they occur.

Eye of the Panda slot
Eye of the Panda slot - base game

Stepping into Eye of the Panda means picking a bet of 10 c to $/€100 per spin, while four options are available from the feature buy menu. A medium volatile slot (3 out of 5), the default RTP value is 96.26%, varying slightly depending on bought features. During both phases of the game, base and bonus, the action is held on a 5x5 grid matrix with 27 paylines, awarding wins left to right from the first reel onwards.

Pay symbols in the game are either 10 to A card royals or junk food items such as ice cream, bubble tea, doughnuts, fries, and hamburgers. For a 5-of-a-kind royal win, you're looking at a payout of 1 times the bet or 5 to 10 times the bet for a 5-picture symbol win. Our panda pal is the wild symbol, substituting all pay symbols and worth 10x the bet for a 5 wild win.

Eye of the Panda: Slot Features

Eye of the Panda slot
Eye of the Panda slot - free spins

For features, Eye of the Panda has super cascades, Wild Panda Multipliers, Never Say No to Panda! Bonus, Jumping Panda Bonus, and buy bonuses in its bag of tricks.

Super Cascade

Super Cascades remove all instances of the winning symbol types from the reels and lets new symbols drop in to fill the gaps.

Wild Panda Multipliers

As well as being wild, when Wild Pandas hit, they do so with a multiplier of x2, x3, x4, x5, or x10. Wild Panda Multipliers apply their value to any wins that are part of, and if more than one Wild Panda is part of a win, then the multipliers multiply their value before being applied. Landed Wild Panda Multipliers are persistent during the round until they are part of a win. Once a Wild Panda is part of a win, it is removed on the cascade together with the winning symbols.

Never Say No To Panda!

Landing 3 FS scatters in the base game triggers 10 free spins in this round. When a Wild Panda symbol is not part of a win, it is saved in one of the 5 Panda Collector spaces. If all spaces are full, no more Wild Pandas can be saved. When a win occurs, saved Wild Pandas jump to random positions in the winning combination, applying their multipliers to any wins they are part of. Only the number of Wild Pandas that can fit within existing wins jump onto the reels from the Panda Collector. Since Pandas are wild, they may create new wins when they jump onto the reels. On the last spin, all saved Wild Pandas that were not part of any win jump onto random reel positions.

Jumping Panda Bonus

Landing 4 FS scatters in the base game awards 10 free spins in this feature. During this one, the first 5 Wild Pandas that land become sticky and remain on the reels till the feature ends. Sticky Wild Pandas jump to new random positions on each free spin and cascade and get a new multiplier value on each jump.

Bonus Buy

From the feature buy menu these options are available:

  • BonusHunt FeatureSpins – 3x the bet, each spin is 5 times more likely to trigger a bonus game. Highly volatile with an RTP of 96.34%
  • Panda-licious FeatureSpins – 50x the bet, each spin guarantees at least 5 Panda symbols land. Highly volatile with an RTP of 96.28%.
  • Never Say No To Panda! – 100x the bet, highly volatile, with an RTP of 96.27%.
  • Jumping Pandas – 200x the bet, very highly volatile with an RTP of 96.33%.
Eye of the Panda slot
Eye of the Panda slot - bonus buy

Eye of the Panda: Slot Verdict

Eye of the Panda evoked a roller coaster of emotional responses from start to finish. At first, reading about wild multipliers on the pay table sounded like stock Hacksaw Gaming stuff. Then, the first bonus round deviated from the norm with its collection aspect before jumping back to familiar Jammin' Jars territory when reading over the second bonus round. This mishmash of original and not-so-original elements might've been a bigger deal if Eye of the Panda hadn't been so stylishly presented. The graphics, as mentioned, are classic Hacksaw Gaming, thrusting players deep into an urban jungle where hidden gems may be found down hidden alleys, where achingly cool inhabitants have a unique way of getting through this life, maybe warily hostile to newcomers at first, but willing to open their arms for the right visitors to their patch. Hopefully, that made some sense.

As in the Chaos Crew 2 review, BonusHunt Feature spins were more interesting than regular spins, triggering bonus rounds with noticeably greater frequency. Not just the 3 scatter Never Say No To Panda! round either, but sneaking in the 4 FS scatter Jumping Pandas feature, too. Or Jammin' Pandas, if you will, since it plays out in a similar way to Push Gaming's classic jar slot. Despite the 'influence', it's hard to say no to roaming multiplier wild symbols, which multiply each other in the same win. It means nothing can flip to something special when Wild Pandas leapt to the right spot. The other bonus round wasn't bad, either. Some may consider it a warm-up to the main event, maybe, yet collecting wild multipliers for future use is made better by the fact that when Wild Pandas are added to the reels, they are added directly onto a readymade win rather than just slung onto the reels, hoping for the best.

Rounding off Eye of the Panda is its 10,000x the bet max win, which is achievable in any phase of play. Eye of the Panda might not go on to become one of Hacksaw Gaming's classics, it didn't exude that sort of vibe, but it is evidence of a studio crafting some of the best slots out there, whether created from new ideas, other people's ideas, or a combination of both, like a restaurant which lets you build your own rice bowl.

Good

Borrowing ideas from elsewhere doesn’t stop Eye of the Panda from being a class act slot.

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