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Dragon's Vault Pokie Machine

As well as breathing fire and incinerating knights in armour, dragons are known for keeping hordes of gold and other treasures in their lairs. Dragon’s Vault, from Aristocrat, will hopefully add riches to the bankrolls of anyone playing this 6-reel, 50-line pokie, which comes complete with treats like expanding wilds, free spins, scatter wins and no less than 3 jackpot prizes up for grabs.

Various dragons are the main characters of this game, although there’s no sign of their vault and instead we get seemingly random items inspired by the Chinese theme, such as firecrackers, paper fans, a temple and lantern, along with the playing card 9, 10, J, Q, K and A symbols.

Despite a somewhat loose connection to the title, it all looks very nice and it looks like Aristocrat have come up with another pokie that’s colourful, with sharp graphics enhanced by smooth animations and reliable gameplay.

Vaulting to the Reels

A blue-tinted vista of steep mountains with temples clinging to the sides make up the background image to this pokie, with the reels framed in traditional Chinese patterns and a series of control buttons underneath.

Players can spin the reels from just 0.50 and will win a prize whenever 3 or more of the same symbol land across a line on adjacent reels running from the left side.

The unusual format sees symbols arranged across 6 reels and 4 rows, rather than the more typical 5x3 style, so it’s a busy-looking game matrix with 24 symbols in view at any time. It may look a little complex but it works well and sees plenty of opportunities for players to land winning combinations.

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Dragon's Vault

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Dragon's Vault
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There’s a paytable that details how much each combination is worth, with wins expressed as multiples of the bet per line. Playing card symbols are standard across most Aristocrat games and in this case the 9 and 10 are both worth 2x when landing on reels 1 and 2, going up to 100x if either stops across all 6 reels on a payline.

The K and A pay between 3x and 300x and in order of value, the picture symbols start with the fan and lantern that are worth from 5x to 500x depending on how many reels they stop on. Moving up, we see firecrackers and a temple that are worth 10x, 40x 150x or 500x when 3, 4, 5 or 6 land.

Other picture symbols include the green dragon and blue dragon, either of which returns 15x, 75x, 300x or 1000x the line bet when coming to rest on 3, 4, 5 or 6 reels, while as an added touch, they will briefly roar out from the reels when they make up a winning line.

Bonus Features

A big red dragon is a wild symbol, acting as all bar the scatter to help complete winning lines when he appears on reel 2 to 6. To help achieve this, the wild will fill a reel, so it’s easier for him to match up with other symbols.

The other bonus comes when players see 3 or more of the coin scatter symbol appear at once, as this launches a free spins game. If 3 scatters landed, 8 free games will commence, 4 scatters trigger 12 spins and if 5 appeared, players are treated to 20 spins and no matter how many are won, 2 random reels will be fully wild throughout them. This should lead to plenty of wins, while 4, 8 or 12 additional spins are awarded if 3, 4 or 5 scatters appear during them.

Anyone making a qualifying wager could scoop any of the 3 progressive jackpots that feature on this and many other Aristocrat pokies. Scooping the jackpot is easy, as they are awarded randomly after any spin, so players never know if their next round will bring them a huge payout.

The Verdict

The Chinese theme is particularly popular, not just in Asia, but across the world and Dragon’s Vault is a high-quality example of the genre. Its unusual layout may scare off some people, but they shouldn’t panic, as everything is very conventional and there’s just more stuff going on than in most games.

Bonuses features may not be amazing, but are perfectly adequate and easy to understand, with the biggest omission perhaps being that the scatter symbol doesn’t have any value on its own and it is simply there to take players to a free spins game.

While we’re at it, perhaps having the wild symbol appear on reel 1 would have been nice, as this gives players a better chance of completing a winning line, but these are not major issues and shouldn’t put anyone off trying out this enjoyable pokie from a trusted developer.

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