Lucky 88 is perhaps Aristocrat’s best known take on Chinese culture in pokie form, basing the entire game around the well-known lucky number eight that takes on so many connotations in the area. Of course, a little extra luck when playing the pokies never hurts, and so the game did just as well as the rest of the vast Aristocrat range in land based establishments in Australia.
It is somewhat rare to find a pokie that is based only on a single number, and players will quickly notice that it permeates all aspects of the game. However, somehow the theme simply works and many players can identify with the gameplay and graphics on offers.
Theme and Graphics
While the number eight is undoubtedly the star of the show, Aristocrat took the opportunity to show off their graphical flair and knowledge throughout the game by adding all manner of Chinese cultural references to the reels and bonus features. The game is one of a select few to offer a variety of gaming backdrops in a range of colours and features symbols depicting the likes of Dragon Statues and Paper Lanterns. Of course, no Aristocrat pokie would be complete without the addition of the seminal playing card symbols which fulfil their standard role as the lower value gaming symbols on the pokie.
One of the more unique features of Lucky 88 is the fact that virtually every aspect of the pokie is related to the number eight in some way, with few other titles allowing the theme to influence the game to such an extent. It is most certainly a good thing, and something that a huge number of players will appreciate. For example, virtually every prize on the pay table is a multiple of eight and the highest coin jackpot on offer is a lucrative – and thematic – 888 coins.
Getting Started on the Pokie
One area where it would be unlikely for the theme to influence design decisions is the basic gameplay and Aristocrat has opted to utilise its standard themes and features when it comes to preparing to play. With a standard reel layout on offer, players can opt for anywhere between one and 25 win lines, each with a bet of between $0.01 and $4. This makes for a top prize during standard play of $3,552 – 888 times $4.
Features and Extras
As Aristocrat fans have come to expect, the features come thick and fast throughout Lucky 88, some related closely to the theme and others that were no doubt added because they are synonymous with the Aristocrat Gaming brand. The first is the Chinese Man symbol, who helps players along their way by acting as the game’s wild card. In line with the theme, he is perhaps the luckiest wild symbol ever seen as he offers players the potential for a hugely impressive 88 times multiplier on any prizes of which he forms a part.
Elsewhere on the reels, players will often notice the Paper Lantern symbol that never seems to appear in a straight line. This is the scatter symbol and awards a cash prize even if only two symbols appear on the reels at once. Three lanterns pays double the player’s total stake, while four offers eight times the wager. Finally, a Paper Lantern on all five reels pays out 188 times the original bet – certainly not bad for something that can be considered an added bonus rather than an integral part of Lucky 88′s gameplay.
Where the Lantern does prove integral is in its role as the activation symbol for the bonus round. In essence, the bonus game is a typical free spins feature, although it offers the added twist of giving players a choice regarding how they approach it. They can take a lower number of spins with a greater multiplier applied to each prize, or go for a longer game with a lower multiplier. While each balances out over time and does of course adhere to the same return to player percentages, the choice is most certainly welcome and adds another layer of interactivity to what is typically a spectator game.
Playing Online in Australia
With so many lucky aspects to the game, as the name implies, Aussie players may well be hoping that their luck is in when it comes to enjoying the pokie at home. On the one hand, it is fortunate that such an enthralling game has been selected for online conversion. However, the fate that befalls so many of Aristocrat’s most popular Australian titles continues here, as the game is currently only available at Bet365 Casino. This means, as regular readers will be aware, that Aussie players cannot access the game as things stand.
Fortunately, the luck aspect of Chinese culture has permeated a great number of online pokies from a range of providers, and players are sure to find a comparably lucky game at any of our recommended online casinos, each of which most certainly do welcome players in Australia.