Double Happiness Slots
Double Happiness is a traditional Chinese ligature that is popular throughout the world. A ligature is a special calligraphic composition consisting parts of or several whole characters written together in compressed form as if they were one character. The Double Happiness ligature is composed from the character for "joy". The ligature is used as a symbol for luck and happiness at weddings and other celebrations and has found widespread use in business as decorations and as part of brand names for many different types of items. The symbol may be stylized for different occasions or products but usually remains very easy to recognize.
There is a traditional story told about the Double Happiness character in which a young man on his way to take an imperial examination meets and falls in love with a girl. She gives him a note with the "joy" character on it. After the young man passes his examination the emperor asks him to complete a couplet and he uses the girl's "joy" character. The emperor is quite impressed and releases the young man to visit his family. He returns to the girl and marries her. At their wedding they both write the "joy" character side-by-side, creating the Double Happiness ligature or couplet.
Aristocrat Leisure Limited released the Double Happiness slot machine to land-based casinos in 2007. The game emulates a Chinese New Year celebration through symbols and a clever moving Wild feature. The Double Happiness ligature is often used in Chinese New Year celebrations, which are well-known for their immense dancing dragon troupes. The dragon dance has a long tradition in Chinese culture and was always used to bring luck and good fortune to communities. Dragon dances are often featured in movies where scenes are set in Chinese communities during festive times.
Aristocrat released an online version of the game in September 2015. The rest of this article reviews the online game.
Rules of Double Happiness Slot Game
Aristocrat's Double Happiness slot game is a 5 reel, 3 row video slot game with 25 fixed pay lines. Wagers cost 30 coins times a Bet Per Line coin value determined by the player. Except for Scatters all prizes are paid from left to right, are multiplied by Bet Per Line, and only the highest possible prize per pay line is paid. Scatter wins are paid regardless of what position the Scatter symbols appear in and their prizes are multiplied by the Total Bet (pay lines times Bet Per Line).
The game's Wild symbol is a figurative dragon head styled on the dragon dance costumes used around the world. The Dragon Head substitutes for all other symbols in the game except for Scatters. Five of a kind pay 2500 times Bet Per Line, four of a kind pay 500 times Bet Per Line, three of a kind pay 100 times Bet Per line, and two of a kind pay 10 times Bet Per Line. The dragon's head becomes animated when it contributes to a winning combination, moving back and forth as if it is dancing. It also wiggles its ears and blinks its eyes.
The Double Happiness character is the game's Scatter symbol. The Free Spins bonus round is triggered when three or more Scatter symbols appear anywhere on the playing reels. See below for details. Five Scatter symbols also pay a prize of 100 times Total Bet. Four Scatters pay 20 times Total Bet. Three Scatters pay 5 times Total Bet.
Other Symbols in Double Happiness Slot Game
There are eleven other symbols in Double Happiness. Five are "high value" symbols and six are "low value" symbols. Although not animated, all these symbols flash when they contribute to a winning combination.
- The Dancing Man
Pays 1000 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 200 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, 50 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind, and 5 times Bet Per Line for two of a kind.
- The Drum
Pays 750 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 150 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 30 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.
- The Firecrackers
Pay 500 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 150 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 30 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.
- The Festival Lantern
Pays 400 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 100 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 25 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.
- The Cymbals
Pay 300 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 100 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 25 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.
- The low value symbols
These are drawn from traditional playing card tropes: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, and 9. Aristocrat uses a standard pattern for these symbols in many of its games, adorning most of them with emblems like the green jewel for the "A", crowns for the "K" and "Q", and a shield for the "J".
- The "A" and "K" symbols
Pay 200 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 50 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 20 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.
- The "Q" and "J" symbols
Pay 150 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 30 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 10 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.
- The "10" and "9" symbols
Pay 100 times Bet Per Line for five of a kind, 20 times Bet Per Line for four of a kind, and 5 times Bet Per Line for three of a kind.
How to Play Double Happiness Slot Game
The playing reels area is lined on both sides of the screen with colored, numbered tabs. These tabs are only used to anchor illustrative highlight lines that show you which prizes you have won after each spin. You cannot click on these tabs to activate or deactivate pay lines.
All the game's controls are positioned below the playing reels area, although a transparent message marquee is placed above the playing reels. The message marquee tells you how much you just won or shares tips about how the game is played.
- The Balance widget shows how much money you have left to play with.
- The Rules button below the Balance widget activates the pay tables help system. Use the "Back" and "Next" buttons to navigate through the screens. Click on "Game" to return to the game.
- The Lines widget just shows you that 25 pay lines are active. There is no way to change this and you should assume the widget was included for backwards compatibility based on their use of older software to design the game.
- The Bet widget uses a Minus and Plus button to adjust the coin value. Values range from 0.01 Euros to 2.00 Euros.
- The Total Bet widget shows how much each paid spin will cost you.
- The Musical Note icon below the Total Bet window toggles the game's sounds on and off.
- The Win widget displays the total amount you won on the last spin or free games bonus.
- The Max Bet button adjusts the coin value to 2.00 Euros. Your Total Bet amount is then adjusted up to 60 Euros.
- The red "Gamble" button only becomes active after you have won a prize from a regular spin. Use this button to activate the "Gamble" feature explained below.
- The green "Spin" button initiates one spin of the reels at the cost of the current Total Bet amount.
- The small green "Auto" button just below the "Spin" button activates a dialog with a slider where you can set the number of spins the game will play for you. If you have used this feature previously in the current game session you can click on "Last Settings". Click on the "Start" button to activate the auto spins or "Cancel" to avoid starting a set of automatic spins.
- The automatic spins continue until you exit the game, interrupt the spin by clicking on the "Stop" button, win a bonus game, or your available balance drops below the current Total Bet amount. You cannot use the "Gamble" feature while automatic spins are active. Nor can you adjust the Bet Per Line. You must interrupt the spins to change how the game is played.
How the Double Happiness Gamble Feature Works
When you click on the red "Gamble" button you are taken to a screen where you are shown the back of a playing card. The purpose of the game is to guess what the card will be when it is turned over. You can guess the color (Red or Black) or the suite (Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, or Clubs). If you guess the correct color you double your wager amount. If you guess the correct suit you quadruple the wager amount. You can play up to 5 times in a row after any win in the basic game.
The "History" bar in the upper right hand corner will show you what the last five cards turned up were, although this really has no effect on the probability of what card you are dealing with.
Click on the "Take Win" button to exit the game and keep whatever money is on the table. The game automatically exits if you lose or play through all five choices.
How the Double Happiness Free Spins Bonus Game Works
When three or more Double Happiness symbols appear anywhere on the screen they trigger a free spins bonus game. You win 25 spins for five Scatters, 15 spins for four Scatters, and 10 spins for three Scatters.
The game has a "Roaming Wild" feature. In addition to the normal Wild symbols on the reels, you'll see two floating dragon heads hovering over the playing reels area. These heads dance around the screen, moving to cover tiles after each spin. They act like normal Wild symbols otherwise.
The Roaming Wild symbols move 1 position in any direction (up, down, left, or right) after each spin. It is possible they will obscure another Wild symbol, a Scatter symbol, or each other.
If a Roaming Wild hovers over a Scatter symbol that symbol may still contribute to a Scatter prize (assuming there is at least one other Scatter on the playing reels).
You can win more free spins during this bonus game. All prizes are paid based on the Total Bet amount of the paid spin that triggered the bonus game.
You cannot use the "Gamble" feature during free spins. Nor can you change the amount of the Bet Per Line.
The theoretical return to player for Double Happiness is 93.057%. While that might seem a bit low even for an Aristocrat game, if you get a free spins bonus you'll probably enjoy good luck thanks to the Roaming Wilds. They can form a lot of different winning combinations, especially if normal Wild symbols roll up on the reels, too.
The game's limited betting values make it relatively safe to play so it probably won't appeal to high rollers despite the increased risk from the lower RTP.
The Gamble feature is popular with players although making frequent use of this completely invalidates the theoretical return to player. You take on much greater risk with the Gamble game, although the rewards can be substantial. There is no skill involved in guessing what the card will be when turned over.
The soundtrack is very basic during the regular game. You just hear clicks as the reels spin. The free spins bonus features Chinese music and a canned "cheering crowd" ambient sound. The free spins game is supposed to be celebratory and bring you good luck, although you are not guaranteed a win.
It's hard NOT to recommend playing this game. It has a surprisingly dated look and feel for a game from 2007 but it still plays well once you get into the free spins game. Unfortunately, that is the game's main attraction: you'l be buying spins to get to the bonus game. It's a good thing you cannot bet hundreds of Euros at a time but some players with small bankrolls should watch their money carefully.