Treasures of Lion City (Pulse 8 Studios): Overview
The real-life Lion City has a pretty interesting story behind it. It was founded around the year 25 - 200AD and was one of the main political and economic centres of Eastern China. Then, around 1700 years later, in the 1950s, the Communist government of the time decided to build a huge dam to create a power station for the local population. To do so, they flooded an entire valley to build the lake that was necessary. In the process, Lion City was completely submerged under water. This mysterious ancient city still exists and retains its arches, roads, houses, and temples beneath 130 feet of water. It has been known as the Atlantis of the East ever since, and this sunken city provides a unique setting for a slot. According to developers Pulse 8 Studios, a Microgaming partner, treasure lies in wait for players to discover.
In keeping with the aquatic motif, the game’s 5x3 grid and 25 fixed paylines are set beneath the calm, clear waters of the lake above it. Flanking the grid are two stone lion statues carved in a classic Chinese style that give the game a nice Asian touch. Above the reels is a win meter that contains 3 symbols, and 3 multipliers that are greyed out when not in play. There will be more on these below. The bet defaults to £/€2.50, but this can be lowered to 25 c/p or raised as high as £/€50 per spin. Not a huge amount, but enough to satisfy a good range of bankrolls and betting styles.
With the exception of the low pay J – A royals, the symbols follow the theme. The high pay symbols are comprised of two crystals, a warrior’s helmet, an elixir for immortality, and a gold chest - this one is the most lucrative base game symbol worth 18 times the stake for five of a kind. On the whole, the symbols provide so-so value, with nothing to get too excited or upset over. However, what will stick in most craws, are the stats that drive the game’s win model. Specifically, the low RTP of just 94.20% coupled with a medium volatility. That RTP rating alone is enough to qualify as a hard pass by many players. Can the extra features can do anything to negate that?
Treasures of Lion City (Pulse 8 Studios): Features
Treasures of Lion City is missing a bonus game, so there is no scatter, but there are several wilds. The standard wild has the appearance of a golden lion and can substitute for any other symbol to create a winning combination. It will also pay out when it least two of a kind land, from 0.4x – 20x the stake making it the most valuable symbol in the game.
Any sort of adrenaline rush in Treasures of Lion City comes courtesy of the Rolling Reels mechanic. Rolling Reels are triggered on each win and the winning symbols are cleared away to make room for new symbols to drop into the empty space. This can lead to consecutive Rolling Reels and several wins from just one spin. As wins snowball, the win meter above the reels lights up with a corresponding change to the game:
- 1st cascade – the elixir for immortality symbols turn wild.
- 3rd cascade – the warrior’s helmet symbols become wild.
- 5th cascade – the gold chest symbols become wild.
- 7th cascade – a x3 multiplier comes into play.
- 9th cascade – the multiplier increases to x9.
- 11th cascade – the multiplier maxes out at x27.
There are a couple of points to keep in mind. Once no more winners land, then the progressive Rolling Reels feature comes to an end and any symbols that had turned wild revert back to their original state. Also, only the highest multiplier applies; they don’t add up to larger than the highest number highlighted. Finally, multipliers come into effect on the following spin - not on the one they were activated.
Treasures of Lion City (Pulse 8 Studios): Verdict
We asked if the extra features were enough to save Treasures of Lion City from its diabolical RTP/volatility combo. Sadly, no, not really, and Treasures of Lion City is a reminder why players should always absorb the paytable of every game thoroughly. The gameplay is also a little unoriginal, and has a similar symbol to wild feature that we got with Pulse 8’s previous release Relic Seekers. It’s a pity Pulse 8 couldn’t have beefed up Treasures of Lion City with scatters and free spins like they did with that game although you have to give them some credit for trying to come up with something unique.
When it comes to potential it's safe to assume that the top prize is possible via the maximum bet level. This means you are looking at max returns of around 2,600 times the stake. Not awful, but not enough to make up for its other poor figures. Lion City is meant to be a wild and lucrative adventure full of twists and mystery. Yet, the biggest mystery is why Pulse 8 softened the volatility while dropping the RTP in the process.
So who is Treasures of Lion City’s target audience? Well, there are two figures here that are the main draw - the x27 multiplier and the top theoretical prize of £/€130,000. While that might be enough to dazzle some casino goers, they are probably not enough to pull in the discerning gambler when other elements are factored in. It’s a shame because the concept is a good one. There are plenty of Atlantis themed slots out there such as Fortunes of Atlantis, or Treasures of Atlantis, but none set in the East. With a few tweaks and additions to the game dynamic, Treasures of Lion City could have been a much more appealing slot.
Treasures of Lion City’s interesting gameplay design and solid visuals are crippled by the games awful RTP and low potential.