88 Fortunes Has a New Rival, and it’s Only Available at Golden Nugget

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While it may be true that most sequels don’t live up to the originals, a new exclusive Golden Nugget slot might just have what it takes to rival its predecessor.

Dancing Drums follows in the footsteps of the ultra-popular 88 Fortunes, bringing back the lovable Fu Babies and tantalizing with four static jackpots.

The game was designed by SG Interactive and introduced to land-based casino floors worldwide in 2017, finding its way into several Atlantic City properties earlier this year.

But in New Jersey, brick-and-mortar casinos make up only part of the total gambling market, with online games grabbing a sizable chunk as well. Fortunately, the developers of Dancing Drums got the message, and recently released the game in an Internet-ready form.

With a grand prize jackpot that can lavish up to $250,000, a customizable Free Spins Bonus and a bevy of other features, players won’t be disappointed by this luxurious five-reel slot.

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Decadent look and feel

Dancing Drums, along with many of the other slots in this SG Interactive series, was crafted to emulate a decadent and opulent style of Asian design. For starters, that means anything and everything is plated in gold, including all of the slot’s high-value symbols.

Unlike most online slots, the Dancing Drums game window is set in a portrait style, having the effect of shrinking the reels and creating a taller than normal playing area. This is due to poor planning on the part of developers, which didn’t put much thought into designing the game for online screens.

A pair of the famous Fu Babies sits at the top of the window, smiling down as players shoot for a big payday. The game’s four jackpots, along with their payout amounts are situated below.

Just above the reels, a pot of gold coins teases with its lid half open.

Special symbols and pay structure

Dancing Drums is similar to its predecessors in that it does not use traditional paylines for paying out winning matches, opting for a 243 ways to win structure instead. That means players score wins whenever identical symbols appear on adjacent reels, not when they follow any specific lines.

Keeping with the game’s Asian theme, the high-value symbols are represented by traditionally lucky Chinese objects, like the following:

  • Lion
  • Vase
  • Ship
  • Coins
  • Coin Tree
  • Drum

The Wild is comprised of an intricately designed tile featuring a Chinese character. Players will find this symbol appearing frequently on reels 2, 3 and 4, helping to generate all-important base game wins.

You might notice that whenever a Wild symbol appears, a stack of coins is whisked into the pot above the reel set. Unfortunately, the animation is just for show, and doesn’t have any effect on the size or probability of triggering any of the game’s jackpots.

The slot’s Scatter symbol is the Drum, which helps unlock Free Games.

Fu Babies Jackpot Bonus

With Dancing Drums, SG Interactive has brought back the giggling Fu Babies, the seemingly innocent characters which can signal that big rewards are on the way.

While the land-based version of the game features a Progressive Jackpot, which scales as more bets are placed on the game, the online version is a little different. The same four jackpots are still on offer, but are static and aren’t affected by wagers made by other players.

Instead, the jackpot amounts are determined by the size of a player’s bet on a single spin. The bigger the wager, the bigger the possible score. Fortunately, the size of the bet does not make it any more likely that the jackpot will hit, meaning that even those playing for small stakes have a chance at winning big.

Here are the four jackpots:

  • Mini
  • Minor
  • Major
  • Grand

That said, you’re probably wondering how to actually trigger one of these delectable payouts. It’s quite simple, really. When a Wild symbol falls at any time during the base game, a Pick ‘em jackpot game can be triggered.

When that happens, you’ll be taken to a new screen and presented with 12 coins. Start choosing coins to reveal Fu Babies. Once three of the same Baby symbols are revealed, you’ll receive the jackpot corresponding to that symbol.

With any luck, you’ll hit the Grand and take home the top prize. Of course, any of the other three would also do nicely.

Free Spins Bonus

Hitting one of the Dancing Drums jackpots is obviously the main goal, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other opportunities for big paydays.

The game also boasts an interactive Free Spins Bonus round, which is triggered when 3 Scattered Drum symbols appear starting on the leftmost reel. When that happens, players are presented with five options for Free Games combos. Some options offer more Free Spins, while others offer less spins, but give more chances for wins by expanding the reel set.

  • 15 Free Spins: 3×5 grid size
  • 10 Free Spins: 4×5 grid size
  • 5 Free Spins: 5×5 grid size
  • 3 Free Spins: 6×5 grid size

Can’t decide? There is also an option for a “Mystery Pick”, which will allow the game to make the choice for you.

Bottom line

Dancing Drums is clearly an attempt by SG Interactive to capitalize on the popularity of 88 Fortunes, which continually ranks as one of the most frequently played online slots in New Jersey.

That said, we deem the game is a worthy successor to its predecessor, offering up the same excitement through four hefty jackpots. However, we do think the online version of the game can be improved upon in terms of how its design was ported from its brick-and-mortar counterpart to its online form.

The portrait-style display is more fit for a tall physical screen, rather than a computer browser window. Hopefully, in the future, the designers will do a bit more to optimize the overall look.

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Bill Grinstead

Bill has over a decade of experience working in diverse aspects of the online gambling space. He is currently focused on legal, US online gaming, which he has reported on since the industry first became regulated in the country.

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