China River is another Bally Technologies digital slots game popular in land-based casinos that the company has now redeveloped for online and mobile play. Not surprisingly, it features a Chinese theme, with the reels hanging against the backdrop of an intricate Chinese river scene.
The reels themselves and the symbols they contain, however, are rendered in bold lines and solid colours, which should make the game more accessible on smaller screens, such as those on iPads, iPhones and Android-enabled tablets and smart phones. The background music has an unobtrusive oriental feel to it, without being definably “Chinese”. China River plays on five three-row reels, featuring 30 fixed bet lines. Players must play all 30 lines on each spin, but they are able to vary the bet per line to suit their budgets.
Symbols Mix the Standard and Exotic
For its six lower-win symbols, China River uses the standard icons 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A as found in online poker games. Medium-win symbols are all drawn from Chinese cultural artefact’s considered lucky: for instance, a Feng Shui frog, a lotus blossom, a golden bowl, and a Chinese ideogram. The wild symbol is a golden pheasant, and it substitutes for all icons except the scatter symbol. The scatter icon is the Chinese symbol for “longevity”, which resembles a gold coin. The special symbols are important, because it is the China River’s bonus features that give players the best chance at substantial wins.
Stacking and Other Bonuses
At the start of each spin, the game chooses a random symbol and if that symbol comes up, it is stacked over the whole reel, increasing the player’s chances of winning bet lines. Each reel also contains a stacked symbol mystery position that is replaced with a random symbol. If the scatter symbol ends up in the stacked mystery position and the player ends a spin with the first three reels entirely covered in scatter symbols, it can trigger up to 240 free spins.
In normal play, three or more scatter symbols will activate the free spins bonus feature. The number of free spins a player receives in each bonus round depends on the number of scatter symbols that appear: three will trigger 8 free spins, four will trigger 10 free spins and five will trigger 15 free spins. If more than five scatter icons appear distributed across the reels, extra free spins are added to the base number: hence China River’s ability, if the right scatter icons come up in the right stacked reels, to deliver as many as 240 free spins in one bonus round. It is also possible to trigger extra free spins within a free spins bonus round, so a player on a lucky streak will be able to stack up several healthy consecutive wins.
Players accessing China River via mobile devices may also be keen on the Auto Spin feature, which will let the game play automatically at normal speed, without the player having to hit the button to activate the reels on each spin.