The Legend of Shangri-La: Cluster Pays from NetEnt: Slot Review - the legendary city of slots awaits!
In the famous novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton, the fictional place of Shangri-La is described as a mystical, harmonious valley that is hidden deep within the Kunlun Mountains. It is said to be an earthly paradise isolated from the rest of the world. A place where everyone is always happy and anyone that is lucky enough to reside there can live for hundreds of years. Popular software developer NetEnt decided to create a slot all about this mysterious place to help players visit Shangri-La and hopefully help you win some money in the process!
The Legend of Shangri-La: Cluster Pays is a 6 reel slot and comes with Free Spins, Sticky Wilds, Random Substitutions, and Nudge Reels.
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The first feature to highlight is that the game does not feature a traditional payline structure, instead like the name of the game suggests, it features a Cluster Pay system. This system pays out when you land clusters of nine matching symbols or more on the reels. Clusters can form either horizontally or vertically which provides plenty of opportunities to land some big wins on the reels. This system can also be seen in the hugely popular NetEnt slot Aloha! Cluster Pays.
The Wild symbol in this game is called the Substitution symbol and it is represented by a green orb with a ‘?’ inside of it. When this symbol appears on the reels, it will transform into the adjacent symbol that creates the highest possible winning combination in a cluster. This symbol does not substitute for the Free Spin symbol. If you manage to land at least 2 clusters of the same symbol then you will activate the Random Substitution feature. When triggered, 1 Substitution symbol is added to the reels at positions adjacent to the existing clusters and more Substitution symbols are added randomly until a win occurs.
The Guru symbols in the game consist of the Monkey, the Elephant, and the Tiger. These symbols are easily recognisable when you play the game as they cover 2 rows and count for 2 symbols when fully displayed on the reels. Be sure to keep a close eye on the Tiger symbol as this is the highest paying symbol in the game, get 30 of these symbols on the reels and you’ll be treated to a wonderful jackpot prize of 10,000 coins!
If you manage to land 2 matching clusters of between 5 to 8 symbols then you will activate the Sticky Respins feature. Here you will be awarded a free respin and the clusters that triggered the feature will remain sticky for the respin. This continues as long as new matching symbols land on the reels.
To activate Free Spins, you need to land 3 or more Free Spins symbols on the reels in the main game. The Free Spins symbol is depicted by a banner featuring the words ‘Free Spins’ inside of it. This symbol is also 2 symbols high much like the Guru symbols and you will only need a half of a symbol in view to make it trigger. It goes without saying, the more Free Spins symbols you land then the more Free Spins you’ll be awarded. 3 Free Spins symbols will give you 5 Free Spins but if you manage to land 6 Free Spins symbols then you’ll be given 8 Free Spins. After each Free Spin, up to 6 Wilds are added to the reels and if the total payout from Free Spins is less than 10X the total wager then you’ll receive one more Free Spin. With this extra spin, no Substitution symbols are removed from the reels.
The final feature to discuss is Nudge Reels. This triggers when 2 Free Spins symbols land on the reels and another one lands just outside of the visible reel area. The Monk who stands next to the reels will proceed to nudge the reels so that the symbol appears on the reels and then activates the Free Spins feature.
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Theme, Graphics and Sound
The presentation of the game is superb as you might expect from renowned software studio NetEnt. The slot takes place in the beautiful and mystical city of Shangri-La where you’ll find Cherry Blossom trees and small waterfalls in abundance. Symbols are wonderfully designed and consist of an Elephant, a Monkey, a Tiger, Butterflies, Cherry Blossoms, Koi Fish, and Dragonflies. The animations are excellent as symbols burst into life and enlarge whenever they are part of a winning combination. I also liked how the Monk who is situated to the left-hand side of the screen interacts with the reels as you play the game.
The music has a real peaceful vibe with a wonderful soundtrack full of Asian musical instruments. It suits the Asian theme of the game perfectly.
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Win lines, Payouts and Jackpots
The game has 6 reels, a very good RTP of 96.59%, and a decent maximum payout worth 1,000X your wager.
Below is a summary taken from the PayOut Table from the game. The amount won for each combination depends on the value of the bet when you spin the reels.
Bet Range: 0.10, 0.20, 0.30, 0.50, 0.60, 0.80, 1.00, 1.50, 2.00, 3.00, 4.00, 5.00, 6.00, 8.00, 10.00..200.00
- Tiger Guru Symbol: 30 for 9X, 50 for 10X, 100 for 11X, 9,000 for 29X, 10,000 for 30X
- Elephant Guru Symbol: 20 for 9X, 30 for 10X, 60 for 11X, 4,000 for 29X, 5,000 for 30X
- Monkey Guru Symbol: 20 for 9X, 30 for 10X, 60 for 11X, 4,000 for 29X, 5,000 for 30X
- Cherry Blossom Symbol: 5 for 9X, 10 for 10X, 20 for 11X, 1,600 for 29X, 2,000 for 30X
- Green Butterfly Symbol: 5 for 9X, 10 for 10X, 20 for 11X, 1,600 for 29X, 2,000 for 30X
- Purple Dragonfly Symbol: 5 for 9X, 10 for 10X, 20 for 11X, 1,600 for 29X, 2,000 for 30X
- Koi Fish Symbol: 5 for 9X, 10 for 10X, 20 for 11X, 1,600 for 29X, 2,000 for 30X
Our Verdict on The Legend of Shangri-La: Cluster Pays
NetEnt produced this highly innovative slot. The Cluster Pays system has been done before but with the Shangri-La theme, it feels fresh and very exciting to play. It really does make you feel like a big win is coming right around the corner the more you spin the reels. The Legend of Shangri-La: Cluster Pays contains a slew of great bonus features that keep the action ticking along at a nice pace. It is also fantastic that you can win 1,000X your bet on just one spin in the main game. I found this slot to be of Medium variance so it might take a bit of time and investment to unlock all of its treasures but it is definitely checking out.
Within Shangri-La…your treasure awaits!