Floating Dragon New Year Festival: Slot Overview
Two studios showing an affinity for slots steeped in Asian culture are Pragmatic Play and its buds Reel Kingdom. One piece of evidence is the Floating Dragon range, which has poured forth from the studios' production lines, starting in early-mid-2021 with the release of Floating Dragon. Since then, we've reviewed a Dragon Boat Festival Hold & Spin version and a Megaways version. Now we get yet another Megaways version - Floating Dragon New Year Festival. Or, to use the full technical title, Floating Dragon New Year Festival Ultra Megaways Hold & Spin. Yeah, no one's got time to say all that. If you liked the last Megaways one, then the 'Ultra' part of the tile might be raising an eyebrow of intrigue.
Don't want to ruin the suspense, but one of the biggest changes between the two Floating Dragon Megaways slots is mostly skin-deep. This time, the base game action occurs at night in a blue-lit square lined by crooked pagodas as if they're leaning in to see what's happening on the larger-than-usual gaming grid. Another new thing is the ante bet, yet apart from that, not much else has changed with the features or mechanics. Hopefully, fans of the FD range will be satisfied with the new surroundings in that case.
Stats were one of Floating Dragon Megaways' strong suits, and the good news is they've all stayed the same for Floating Dragon New Year Festival. This means a default RTP of 96.7%, no matter how gamblers attack the game. There are four ways – bet 20 c to $/€240 per spin (slightly different), activate the ante bet, buy free spins, or buy the hold & win round. The ante bet ups the stake by 50%, giving an extra chance of getting scatters. Floating Dragon New Year Festival's game grid consists of 6 main reels plus 3 extra rows of symbols above reels 2, 3, 4, and 5. These extra rows lock or unlock at random on each spin, where the maximum number of ways to win is 147,456.
Winning symbols are removed from the board by the tumble mechanic, then symbols drop down to refill the gaps. If a new win is created after the refill, another tumble is triggered. Tumbles continue until no new win appears. As for the paytable, ten to Ace card ranks make up the lower paying symbols, worth 1 to 1.5 times the bet for a 6 OAK result, while the high pays are fish money symbols, a red letter, a lantern, a little tree, and a golden frog. Picture symbols pay 1.5 to 50 times the bet for 6-of-a-kind. Wilds help create wins by substituting for any pay symbol, though they only appear on the topmost row.
Floating Dragon New Year Festival: Slot Features
All of the features from Floating Dragon Megaways Hold & Spin are back, such as fish money symbols, mystery symbols, free spins, a hold & spin bonus, and feature buys.
Fish Money Symbol
Fish money symbols possess a random value of 2x-5,000x the bet, which may only be won during free spins. In the base game, fish money symbols are removed, and they tumble as normal, but in free spins, they are not removed, instead falling to the bottom of the screen as tumbles occur.
Mystery symbols may hit in the base game and free spins. In the base game, all mystery symbols transform into the same type of pay symbol. In free spins, if the lady symbol is in view and no fish money symbols are, mystery symbols may randomly appear, then transform into any other random symbol.
Landing 3, 4, 5, or 6 dragon scatter symbols awards 10, 15, 20, or 25 free spins, respectively. The lady symbol appears during free spins, collecting the value of fish money symbols whenever they are in view at the same time. Lady symbols are also collected whenever they land. Each time 4 ladies are collected, +10 free spins are retriggered, and a multiplier is created. Multipliers are applied to the fish money symbols collected. The first collection point achieved creates an x2, then an x3, then an x10 multiplier. After that, each retrigger adds +x10 to the multiplier - without limit. Multipliers are active in the retriggered spins, which play when the previous batch of free spins ends. Sometimes, at random, if there are lady symbols on screen but no fish, fish may be added to the grid.
Hold & Spin
Coin money symbols appear in all positions except the topmost reel and have values of 1 to 2,000 times the total bet. Landing at least 3 coin symbols triggers the hold & spin bonus round. This bonus begins with the triggering coins locked in place while all other symbols vanish. 3 respins are awarded, where any new coin symbol that lands is locked while resetting respins back to 3. In addition, keep an eye out for diamond symbols bearing values of 50 to 2,000x the bet. When spins end, the value of all symbols in view is awarded, and if players win less than 20x the bet, 3 extra respins are awarded.
From the feature buy, players can get the free spins bonus for 100x the bet or the hold & spin bonus for 120x the bet.
Floating Dragon New Year Festival: Slot Verdict
Hmm, the 'Ultra' part of Floating Dragon New Year Festival's title is questionable since it is so close to the last Floating Dragon Megaways game. In fact, this is tantamount to flogging a dead horse till its innards are oozing about the place. Or is it giving players another chance to delve deeper into Asian culture? Players will have to make their own mind up on that one, but it was hard not to lean towards the oozing innards assessment. Simply because Floating Dragon New Year Festival is almost bang on the same (aside from graphical tweaks, a slightly different bet range, and an ante bet) as its slightly older cousin, Floating Dragon Megaways Hold & Spin. Well, the name's different, so perhaps Pragmatic Play and Reel Kingdom are slinging Floating Dragon New Year Festival out there for the Chinese New Year celebrations, which fall between Jan 21 and Feb 20 on the Gregorian Calendar. Again, a celebration of culture or a cash grab? Eh…
In a less cynical tone, Floating Dragon New Year Festival is a busy game with a lot to look out for and enjoy when it's popping. Really, Prag and CO. chucked everything but the kitchen sink into Floating Dragon Megaways Hold & Spin and now, by extension, Floating Dragon New Year Festival as well. More, since it's got an ante bet, which, with luck, will get you to the more exciting parts more frequently. Winning potential is the same sizeable 20,000x the bet figure as before, RTP is strong, so Floating Dragon New Year Festival should be at least as enjoyable as the previous game, unless you're suffering from Floating Dragon fatigue by now.
That would be understandable since Floating Dragon New Year Festival pads the range out rather than offering anything innovative to move it along. Not a bad game in a bubble, but one even hardcore Asian-themed gamblers could have lived without.
While not a bad game, Floating Dragon New Year Festival Ultra Megaways Hold & Spin is too much like the previous Megaways version to make any sort of major impression.