Can you count how many dragon-themed online slot games there are out there currently? You wouldn't want to count them, right? Me neither. There are just too many of them now, from just about every games provider, from old ones to new ones, and with a variety of game play strategies too. The recent trend, as you may have noticed, is of moving away from the traditional 5-reels 3-rows format. There are already quite a number of new formats around, usually intermixing 3 rows with 4 and 5 rows, such as can be seen in this new game from Quickspin, Dragon Shrine. It uses a 3,4,4,4,3 format, which I find is much more pleasing than a 3,3,4,4,5 (Motorhead) format, or a 3,4,5,4,3 (When Pigs Fly) format. But of course, to each its own, and you may have other preference, other than the standard 3,3,3,3,3 format, which is still my all-time favourite format. I may be 'old school' but I don't care! Hahaha.
The Wild symbol, usually the most important symbol in a game, is not a big-role player in Dragon Shrine. 5 of them pays only 10x the total bet, which is extremely low, doesn't double any wins with, are stacked on all reels, and substitutes for all symbols except for the Bonus and Dragon symbols. The Temple is the Bonus symbol, appearing only on reels 2, 3 and 4, it doesn't pay anything for itself, but getting all 3 of them awards 10 free spins without any multiplier, but all wins are paid both ways, left-to-right and right-to-left. Hmm, that doesn't sound so good at all. However, the Dragon Stack Respin can be triggered during the free spins and gets paid both ways too, unlike in the base game. As for the other symbols, the coloured gems pay from 1.25x to 0.5x the total bet for 5 of each kind, and the lower symbols pay from 0.4x to 0.25x the total bet for 5 of each kind. Argh! An extremely low paytable!
Whenever a fully stacked Dragon symbol appears on reel 1, a Dragon Stack Respin feature is triggered, awarding 3 respins with Sticky Dragons. During the Free Spins game, this Stacked Dragon symbols may appear on reel 1 or 5. A mirrored stack is then created on the opposite end of the reel, providing 2 Stack Dragon reels, and activating the Dragon Stack Respin within the Free Spins game itself. This is interesting, with a possibility of getting all Dragon symbols on the reels, but 5 Dragons pay only 3x the total bet for each payline, for a maximum win of only 120x the total bet amount. Argh! That is very low indeed! All wins are paid both ways during the Free Spins game, including wins in the Dragon Stack Respin, but I wouldn't know if all 15 Dragons symbols would get paid both ways, thereby doubling the maximum win to 240x the total bet. I haven't got this win yet, so we'll never know, until someone else wins it.
Being a new game, I had tested it out for thousands of spins, just to see how the game would play and pay. As expected, all payouts were extremely low, mostly ranging from just 3x to 25x the total bet amount. Only after several thousands of spins later did I manage to get one lousy 50x bet win! Next, came the actual game play, with real money, but with only 1 deposit. I wasn't about to waste my hard-earned cash on a game that can hardly ever pay good! How did it go? Disastrously, if that's an appropriate enough word! I managed to get only 2 Stack Dragon Respin games, which paid me 3x and 9x my bet amount, but never getting even 1 Free Spins game from the Bonus symbols. Only 2 of them kept coming, the third one never appearing.
I must admit that during its good time, those Stack Dragon Respins and Free Spins games can come quite often, as I had found out playing in the fun mode, not sure if this can actually happen in the real money mode, but the possibility is always there. It boosted my balance to over 250% before taking it back again. So be alert! Don't ever expect big wins on this game, or you'll get burnt!