Hong Bao (Kalamba Games): Review
In Chinese culture, Hong Bao, which translates to red envelope, is a monetary gift that is given during special occasions such as weddings, graduation or the birth of a baby. In this 5-reel, 50-payline Relax Gaming powered slot produced by partnering studio Kalamba Games, collecting red envelopes, amongst others, is indeed what's on the agenda in the Bonus Spins feature. There's also a Free Spins feature in which multiplier wilds appear randomly, potentially giving you up to 3 fully stacked reels.
The Return to Player percentage in Hong Bao varies depending on your Hyper Bet level. At its very lowest, you'll play with a setting of 94.74%. With the top bet level activated, the RTP increases to 97.50% which is quite generous. It gets a bit technical here but essentially, the higher the bet level, the more likely it becomes for you to win. You can play this Chinese-themed slot from 0.30€ up to a staggering 2120€ per spin.
There's a remarkably high level of detail in the visual production, and it's quite evident that a lot of resources have been invested in making Hong Bao appealing to your senses. With a mist-shrouded mountain valley in the backdrop and a tranquil zen-like sound track playing in the background, you'll see Chinese-style 9 to A card suit symbols as well as high-value lotus-flowers, folding-fans, Octagonal boxes and Ming Dynasty vases, the latter being the most valuable giving you 1.6 times your stake for 5 of a kind. Supporting you in your quest for the riches is the wild symbol. It's represented by a lucky golden coin and carries out all the regular duties of substituting all regular symbols. Land 5 of these on a full payline and you'll pocket an award of 8.3 times your total stake.
Hong Bao (Kalamba Games): Features
To the left of the reels you'll see the Hyper Bet options. It allows you to choose from 4 bet levels - 1x, 2x, 3x and 4x. Each of these 4 betting levels corresponds to a different multiplier for pays involving a multiplier wilds symbol and a different number of initial free spins when the free spins are triggered. When one or more multiplier wild symbols occur in a winning combination, the pay for the winning combination is multiplied by the value on the multiplier wild. During the main game, these multiplier wilds appear randomly and move down one position on each base game spin until it is removed from the game.
Look to the right of the reels and you'll see a collection meter. Now, whenever a red envelope appears in the base game, it's added to the meter. When 50 of them have been accumulated you're given the option to either play the Bonus Spins feature at bronze level or carry on collecting envelopes to reach the next bonus level accordingly:
- Bronze level: 50 envelopes.
- Silver level: 100 envelopes.
- Gold level: 150 envelopes.
- Platinum level: 220 envelopes.
The bonus game awards 3 initial spins and gives you a chance to win 1 additional spin for every extra spins symbol that appears in the bonus. At the end of the bonus spins, a prize is awarded based on the number of red envelopes accumulated during the feature, as shown below:
- 20 symbols - Bronze Level Pays 10x, Silver Level Pays 15x, Gold Level Pays 30x, Platinum Level Pays 50x.
- 30 symbols - Bronze Level Pays 15x, Silver Level Pays 30x, Gold Level Pays 40x, Platinum Level Pays 70x.
- 40 symbols - Bronze Level Pays 25x, Silver Level Pays 60x, Gold Level Pays 80x, Platinum Level Pays 100x.
- 55 symbols - Bronze Level Pays 35x, Silver Level Pays 70x, Gold Level Pays 120x, Platinum Level Pays 150x.
- 70 symbols - Bronze Level Pays 60x, Silver Level Pays 120x, Gold Level Pays 200x, Platinum Level Pays 200x.
- 85 symbols – Bronze Level Pays 100x, Silver Level Pays 200x, Gold Level Pays 500x, Platinum Level Pays 1000x.
Hong Boa includes a Free Spins feature as well that is played when 3 scatters appear. Optionally, you can also purchase the free spins using the confusingly named Hyper Bonus button (the Free Spins and Bonus features are not the same in Hong Bao). The number of initial free spins depends on the selected Hyper Bet level accordingly:
- Bet Level 1: 5 initial spins with a multiplier wild value of 1X.
- Bet Level 2: 7 initial spins with a multiplier wild value of 2X.
- Bet Level 3: 8 initial spins with a multiplier wild value of 3X.
- Bet Level 4: 9 initial spins with a multiplier wild value of 5X (not available in the bonus buy option).
The multiplier wilds drop randomly on reels 1, 3 and 5 and lock in position for all remaining spins. In the best case scenario, you'll have 3 fully stacked multiplier wild reels. You can also retrigger the free spins by landing the extra spins symbol. This will add 1 spin to your total.
Hong Bao (Kalamba Games): Verdict
With SG Interactive's slot Endless Treasures in fresh memory, it almost seems as though Chinese-themed slots have to be designed in the most confusing and complicated way possible. Hong Bao is no exception to this rule as you have seen.
There's really not much potential involved either which makes Hong Bao about as exciting as the sleepy background music. Even with 3 fully stacked wild reels in the free spins, nothing much really came out of it when we gave it a try. Instead, the top award appears to be found in the Platinum level Bonus Spins feature, but to get there you really have to master the Zen mindset. Overall, Hong Boa is better to look at and listen to than it is to play.
Hong Bao does little to tickle your inner zen.