Visual appeal is an issue that's been consistently revised and revisited since the beginning of the online slots industry back in the mid-to-late 1990s. Microgaming was the first on the scene because they were producing the very first online casino software, and since then, they have altered how they handle their game production in a lot of ways. The Lucky Zodiac slot is a good example of them using all of that experience to create a very visually-appealing game without it having to be jam-packed with gaudy 3D graphics like what some of the competition prefers to use.
The format that is used in this game is pretty straight-forward. You have five reels, three rows and 20 paylines. What's good about the 20-payline choice, especially in a game with features like this one, is that it gives players enough ways to win each spin to make play more exciting without it being so many that small wins don't really matter because they don't cover the initial size of the wager. It's also the case that there aren't so many ways to win that the player can't keep up with them all, and that really helps players to be able to slow down a little and really enjoy the action.
It's worth noting that the 20 paylines are locked in for this game, and you can't select fewer than the maximum of 20. On top of that, the betting options are based completely on the coin size, and you do not have the ability to bet multiple coins on each payline. While that might seem overly restrictive, the fact of the matter is that coins start at a super-low $0.01 each for spins of $0.20 apiece at the low end, so it's well within the budget of any player. What's more is that the coins are offered at a lot of increments, so you'll have no trouble getting a bet size that works for you.
As mentioned above, the Lucky Zodiac online slot is based on the Chinese Zodiac. Along these lines, you'll get a combination of an Asian feel and zodiac-specific symbols to a degree. For example, the low symbols consist of the A, K, Q, J and 10 symbols. While they don't get points for originality with this choice, the symbols are decorated in a way that makes sense for the game's theme, and that helps to really blend them in without disrupting your gameplay.
Lanterns, vases, fans and flowers make up some of the higher symbols. In addition to that, there is also the Lucky Zodiac symbol, which is wild, and there are the scattered firecrackers symbol that can give you free spins. More symbols show up during those free spins depending on your own choice.
Free Spins Bonus Feature
For the free spins, you'll need to line up three or more of the scattered firecracker symbols anywhere on the reels. These do not have to be paid from the left-to-right, and they can show up on any reel in any position to win. When you trigger this, you'll be given a selection of free spins. These free spins will be given randomized multipliers based on different factors, and it definitely creates the ability to win much larger wins than you would get otherwise during the regular game.
This last point is pretty important because it really affects the volatility of the game as a whole. Because so much value is tied up in the large multipliers that you have in the free spins, this game can be considered "top heavy" in terms of payouts. However, because the rest of the paytable is fairly balanced, the game itself doesn't have a very high volatility at all. This is a good example of the normal paytable and bonus feature working together to give players chances for major wins without putting them in a position where the volatility is out of control for the entire experience.
Lucky Zodiac is not a bad title at all, but it's also not going to break any records for being one of Microgaming's most popular titles ever. It doesn't really stand out in any particular way, though it's also of a high enough quality that it won't get any complaints. In general, this is a relatively generic medium-volatility game that's right down the middle of the road in just about every category, but it's still a solid addition to the Asian slot genre.