Lucky Neko Gigablox, a slot machine with an Asian theme developed by the Swedish company Yggdrasil Gaming, showcases the second of two brand-new, much anticipated features. The other, Splitz, had tiles that could “split” into many symbols, increasing the potential payout from any given line. Gigablox adopts the opposite, less subtle technique by making use of extra-large symbols to attract players and activate additional paylines. Let’s play a bit of word wittiness with the title before we get into the meat of the game. The Neko; who or what is it?
Neko means “cat” in English because that is its literal meaning. Typically, it refers to the lucky cat statues that are waved around as decorations in Asian countries like Japan. The clean visuals and occasional use of charming Japanese voice-overs confirm that Lucky Neko Gigablox is based in Japan.
The presence of Daruma dolls on the paytable and the reels is another dead giveaway. These circular, hollow dolls are also typically found in Japan and modelled after the founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma. Clearly, a lot of time and effort was put into creating Lucky Neko, which is a veritable cultural extravaganza.
The game looks fantastic, so clearly a lot of effort was put into making it. The standard layout is a 6-reel, 4-row grid where the symbols are tightly packed together like a box of stapled sushi. The huge Daruma symbols cause the reels, which are housed in a lovely shop full of Japanese objet d’art, to shake. In the background of the effects music from traditional Asia tinkles away, creating a soothing, even harmonious atmosphere. Maybe Yggdrasil Gaming hired a Feng Shui master to make everything flow smoothly.
The base game features 40 active paylines, where players may win prizes by landing clusters of three or more identical symbols. The minimum bet is a reasonable 8 p/c per spin, while high rollers can put in as much as $100/€100. When it comes to the numbers, Yggdrasil is as helpful as ever, beginning with a respectable RTP of 96.4%. On the other side, at 15.45%, the hit frequency is slightly below average, despite the fact that volatility increases when set to medium/high.
So no troubles behind the scenes. There will be 8 standard pay symbols for players to choose from. Half of them resemble tiny screens and are depictions of the card suits (spades, clubs, hearts, and diamonds). Darumas, sometimes known as high payouts, are available in purple, green, yellow, and pink. The payout for a full house is 8 times the bet on the pink Daruma and 10 times the bet on the purple Daruma. The golden wild, which is the last symbol discussed here, can be used in place of any other pay sign. Now we get to the truly mind-blowing additions!
Gigablox’s Lucky Neko – All the Extras
Since Yggdrasil’s new Gigablox feature makes its debut in Lucky Neko, that game is a good place to begin. It is slightly similar to Splitz in that it incorporates many symbols in one. Every spin guarantees the appearance of at least one set of synchronized reels, forming enormous blocks of symbols. Depending on the number of synchronized reels in play, Gigablox may appear in 2×2, 3×3, or 4×4 grids.
The subsequent addition completely changes the gameplay experience. When at least five scatter symbols appear anywhere in view on the reels, the Free Spins bonus round is activated. The number of free games awarded is proportional to the number of visible scatters. During the bonus round, the number of rows increases to 8, and the number of paylines rises to 85, for a significant shift in the gameplay.
Gigablox symbols are also expanding, now being able to appear in either a 5×5 or 6×6 grid. At last, prior to the start of the bonus spins, one of the pay symbols is chosen at random to become the Blessed Symbol. The payout value of the Blessed Symbol increases by a factor of 5 during free spins, increasing the high paying pink Daruma’s value to 40x the bet for six.
The Judgment of the Lucky Neko: Gigablox
I was wondering how the pilot test of the new Gigablox feature went. It’s not exactly a paradigm breakthrough, and Yggdrasil has already dabbled in gigantic symbols with their excellent product Gem Rocks, but the game is entertaining nonetheless. Gigablox’s mechanic is simpler, more effective, and more straightforward than Splitz’s, which is usually a plus.
It’s a beautiful thing when a huge block appears out of nowhere and smothers the grid. And if it’s the Blessed Symbol with the x5 multiplier, it’s like a shot of adrenaline straight to the gland. Also, remember that Gigablox can be used for both wilds and scatters. Yggdrasil Gaming claims that potential wins of up to 6,953 times your stake are available, so you may expect to see some solid wins. While not exactly a king’s ransom, that’s still a pretty penny.
In sum, Yggdrasil Gaming should be commended for designing such a sophisticated Asian-themed slot. As one would expect from this developer, the aesthetic is stunning, and the little shop’s ambiance is cute and homey. The Darumas’ inclusion is a welcome variation, and the motif has been used effectively. You may feel like you’ve seen a new side of the Far East and learned something new after playing Lucky Neko. Lucky Neko proves that you don’t need a dragon or Caishen to make a successful Asian-themed slot machine.