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Shikibu

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Shikibu Slot

Playing slot games is sometimes about more than just having fun and trying to collect winnings. Sometimes it involves getting a bit of education and if you are interested, then that’s the case with the Shikibu video slot from Konami. When trying to find the backstory to this Asian-influenced slot, we learned about Murasaki Shikibu, a woman who wrote The Tale of Genji in around 1000 – 1012 AD. Although she was Japanese, she became fluent in Chinese and was a lady in waiting at the court of Empress Shoshi. Little is known about her, and Shikibu wouldn’t have been her real name, but The Tale of Genji was an instant success and is remembered to this day. Thus endeth the lesson.

Back to the present day and we have a colorful slot machine that features Oriental-style symbols, including playing card icons, a crane, gold tablets and the coy face of Shikibu herself. These attractive images land across the 40 paylines and five reels of the game, while landing the bonus icons will trigger a choice of free spins rounds. The Action Stacked Symbols feature that’s quite common across the slots from Konami can make it easier to land some winnings, while a wild symbol acts as others to boost your returns even further.

This Japanese style slot machine comes from Konami, who are themselves based in the Land of the Rising Sun. Although they mainly focus on slots for land-based casinos, an increasing number of their games are being made available across online casinos and mobile sites. We are waiting for Shikibu to make the leap online, but in the meantime, you can find it at casino sites across the world. The blend of stunning imagery and engaging gameplay makes this a game well worth tracking down.

Symbols With Style

Although playing card symbols are used in countless slot machines, the 9, 10, J, Q, K and A icons of this game are given a Japanese makeover which adds to the theme rather than distracting from it. Other picture symbols include traditional symbols of good fortune such as a turtle, which like the others, comes in a style that fits in with the Asian theme.

Standard symbols will need to land on adjacent reels from the left side across a payline, but a golden flower is a useful wild symbol that acts as others to complete combinations if needed.

You will notice that the middle reel has split symbols on it. While the others each have just three symbols apiece, the six symbols on the centre reel will make it a little easier to get runs of at least three matching symbols across a line.

Pick Your Bonus Games

Golden writing on a red background will trigger the main bonus feature when it’s seen in any three or more spots in a single spin. You will be awarded with free spins and any wins during them will be multiplied in value. Before they begin though, you get to choose the number of free games and the multipliers that go with them, from five different options.

If you like lots of free spins to play out, but don’t mind smaller win multipliers, then option one sees 20 free games and any wins made with the help of the wild symbol are randomly multiplied by 2x, 3x, or 5x over. The second choice is for 10 extra spins, with wild wins boosted by 5x, 8x, or 10x, or you could pick just five free spins, during which multipliers of 10x, 15x, or 20x will be applied whenever the wild becomes part of a winning combination.

Choose to have just three free games and any wild wins are multiplied by 15x, 20x, or 40x over. The fifth option is to go for the Mystery Choice spins. One of the other four numbers of free spins will be given, with one of the multiplier ranges applied to them. You could get lucky and have the best mix of 20 bonus games with 15x, 20x, or 40x multipliers, or at the other extreme, get just three free spins and 2x, 3x, or 5x the base value paid out if the wild completes a combination in that short time.

Place Your Bets

All 40 paylines are always active and you can wager as little as 0.01 per line. Clearly, if you want to win some more substantial prizes, you can raise the stakes. Shikibu is a great slot for casual players who just like to spin the reels for the excitement of collecting smaller prizes, as well as high rollers after some substantial rewards.

Until this game is available online, you won’t find free Shikibu video slots and of course, if you like to play slots on iPhones, iPads or other devices, you’ll have to wait for a mobile optimised version to come out.

Geisha Girls

With Shikibu shown in the white makeup and elaborate hair of a Geisha Girl, perhaps we should check out a couple of other online slot machines with a similar style. The obvious competitor is simply called Geisha and comes from the Aristocrat developer. The five reels and 25 lines feature traditional items such as paper fans, golden dragons and a nice view of Mount Fiji. The Geisha is a wild symbol who doubles the value of any combo that she completes, and the Japanese-style gate is a scatter symbol that pays up to 800 coins.

It’s a simple game, with an un-fussy style, but the Geisha Story video slot from Playtech, is a far more sophisticated affair. While classic symbols of fans, gates and wooden shoes are all there, this game comes with features such as free spins with multipliers and a special Dollar Ball round can lead to a progressive jackpot award. This is a side game where players pick five balls from 49 and in true lotto style, if they selected the ones pulled out in the next draw, they win a huge jackpot prize.

A Traditional Treat

Shikibu is a prefect choice for spinners who appreciate the style and beauty of ancient Japan. You won’t really need to know anything about the history of the real character, but it’s an interesting story and a little knowledge is always a good thing to have.

Impressive artwork and the potential to land some reliable wins in the base games are given even more appeal when you trigger the free spins feature. Being able to choose between the low-volatility games, with 20 spins in play, or the riskier, but potentially very rewarding three spins, is up to you. The Mystery Choice could be the one to go for though, as it adds another element of excitement as the game reveals what you have been awarded.

A soundtrack that’s just generic to many slots and unconnected to the topic is perhaps the only disappointment here, but it’s certainly not a big issue and Shikibu is a slot machine that we’re would highly recommend.

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