Magic, myth and legend provides the back story to Xing Guardian, a Chinese-themed video slot powered by NextGen Gaming. Played using a 5 reel, 1,024 ways to win game engine, it comes with stacked wilds, matching locked reel spins and a feature that awards free spins with locked reels. Take flight with the magical dragons from between 50p and £125 per spin.

A misty valley, complete with an ancient temple, forms the backdrop to the reels. The colour palette is dominated by pastel shades. Joining the 4 lower value playing card suit symbols are a flower and ring which award up to 25 coins, a tortoise and tiger which pay up to 50 coins and a phoenix and dragon which pay up to 75 coins.

The mysterious woman who is the game’s wild – she can land on all 5 reels in a fully stacked formation and substitute for everything bar the scatter. Land 3, 4 or 5 wilds in combination for an award of 5, 10 or 100 coins. Xing Guardian comes with 3 bonus features which are as follows:

Rise of the Dragons feature – watch as a dragon randomly appears on the screen and turns a reel or multiple reels into stacked wilds. A new payout is made with the new wilds in place.

Xing Guardian Locked Reels feature – the Xing Guardian can appear on any base game spin and turn 2, 3, 4 or 5 adjacent reels into locked reels. These locked reels will all feature identical symbols on adjacent positions when they spin.

Free Games feature – these are triggered by landing 3, 4 or 5 of the yin and yang scatter. Here you’ll be given 10 free spins. The Xing Guardian will float onto the reels on each free spin to turn multiple reels into locked reels. Re-triggers are possible too. Land 3 or more scatters and 5 free spins are added to your total.

As far as variance goes, we’d put Xing Guardian in the medium range. The 1,024 ways to win game engine offers plenty of smaller wins. The bigger winning opportunities come via the features, especially the free spins. We never managed to land a whopper but were rarely waiting too long for the cashier to spring into life.

The Chinese theme is hugely popular at the moment – Xing Guardian is a little different in the way it looks and plays. The features are certainly a little unusual and the game is all the better for it. If you’re a fan of the Asian genre or just after some different features, then Xing Guardian is a video slot to consider. I also recommend you take a look at Novomatic’s Dragon’s Pearl which is excellent.