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There was once a time in the recent past, before the expansion of the European settlers in North America, that the American Bison, more commonly known as the Buffalo, roamed the prairies and grasslands of North America in massive herds. Prior to 1800 there was an estimated population of sixty million in the US, by 1900, that had dwindled, due to hunters, to a mere 300.
Fortunately since then, numbers have increased and there are now reckoned to be over 360,000 Buffalo still ranging in the United States. Few animals are as powerful, or have suffered as much at the hands of humans as Buffalo over the past 200 years so if any is deserving of a fitting slot tribute then it is these mighty beasts. The Buffalo slot machine was first developed as a land-based slot, you can now play this hugely popular slot online.
The Buffalo slots machine was developed by Australian company Aristocrat initially for real world casinos. The slot proved hugely popular in casinos across the world and so an online version of the game was developed. That version retains many of the original features including the 5×4 reel set up and the fact that there are 1,024 ways to win, rather than paylines on each spin.
You can alter the size of your bet by selecting or deselecting the Reel Cost button which highlights more or fewer symbols based on how much you want to pay. Pay the 40x maximum to have all 1024 Ways to Win in operation. Bet per reel starts at $0.01, meaning a minimum bet of $0.40 to play all reels, though you can increase that bet up to $50 per bet by wagering $1.25 per line.
Who will the Buffalo slot appeal to?
Given that the Buffalo slot started life in the real world casinos and was hugely popular, this is a slot that will already have a strong following of players from casino play. However, the fact that this is one of the few 1024 ways to win slots, which can be played from as little as $0.40 per spin, does make this hugely attractive to slot players who are seeking a little extra value and who enjoy slots that allow greater flexibility with wins.
Seeing as the slot is based on a real world game, it does have a more retro feel and style than modern slots and as such, fans who enjoy retro games will also find plenty to amuse themselves here. There’s also a Free Spins round which awards you up to 20 free spins with a potential multiplier of up to 27x your win, which will certainly attract players that like bonus features with some potentially higher value payouts.
If the style of the Buffalo slot is more retro, then the good news for fans of more modern slots is that it packs in some features that you would associate with more modern games too. Rather than paylines, there are 1,024 ways to win available (if you play the maximum number of reels per spin) and in addition, there is also a very enticing free spins bonus round, plus a 5×4 reel set up.
So essentially, what you have here is a slot which combines elements of retro gameplay, with elements of a modern slot. Sometimes on slots, these elements do not really work together, but the good news with the Buffalo slot is that they do come together very nicely.
The reel set consists of a number of playing card symbols, which are the lower value symbols offering payouts from 2 coins up to 100 coins if you can land five across the reels. There are five higher value symbols on the reels all of which are based on the great animals of the American wildlands and plains, including an elk, wolf, cougar, bald eagle and of course the Bison, which is the top-paying high-value symbol offering 300 coins for five landed across the reels. The Bison symbol is also the only symbol that is stacked across the reels.
To help you land a win there is a Wild symbol which is the landscape sunset symbol which substitutes for all the high and low value symbols above to create winning paylines. The Wild only appears on the middle three reels only.
The key to the bonus features in the Buffalo slot however is the Scatter symbol, which is a gold coin. Land three or more of these across the reels and you will win a small coin prize of between 2 and 20 coins, but better still, you will launch the free spins bonus round.
Land three scatters and you win 8 Free Spins, four scatters triggers 15 Free Spins while land five scatters across the reels and you win 20 Free Spins. The bonus game then plays out but every time you land the Sunset Wild on reels 2, 3 or 4, you receive a multiplier of either 2x or 3x your standard win.
Land three of these Wilds on the reels and you can get a maximum 3x3x3 multiplier, which equates to 27x the standard win and that is how you can land some of the biggest possible wins on this popular and well designed slot. Furthermore land two more gold coins on any free spin and you win a further 5 free spins. Land three Gold Coins in free spins and you retrigger the bonus feature in full.
Special Features: Buffalo
1,024 ways to win
The Buffalo slot offers players the chance of 1024 ways to win, rather than paylines for just 40x your stake, which is a great value bet as it offers you a greater chance of a win on every spin. This is important when there are as many symbols on the reels as there are in the Buffalo slot.
The Free Spins bonus can be very lucrative especially when you trigger the Multipliers by landing Wild symbols on the reels. The ability to retrigger free spins is excellent too and can lead to longer free spin sessions and a greater value total win.
The Wild symbol is useful in the base game as a substitute for the high and low value symbols but it is especially valuable in free spins where it also serves as a multiplier of 2x or 3x the standard bet. Land three 3x Wilds on a free spin and you will receive 27 times your win (3x3x3) as the Multipliers will combine up to increase the value of your payout.
If you enjoy the original Buffalo slot in casinos then you are not going to be disappointed by the online version. All the key aspects of that slot have been ported over to the digital version and even the sound effects make it sound like you are playing in your favorite casino.
Good mix of retro/modern features
Many slots have tried to mix retro with modern and some have done so well, others have failed. The Buffalo slot falls in the former camp with the retro styling complemented well by the 1,024 paylines, the potentially rewarding free spins bonus round and the clever way the Wild serves as a multiplier during free spins.
Free Spins bonus
The Buffalo slot is a medium variance game and so hitting that free spins bonus is important to achieve bigger wins. You can achieve big wins in the base game, but more frequent bigger wins come in free spins due to the multipliers and the fact you can retrigger more free spins from within the bonus game.
Very basic sound
If there is one aspect of the slot that does date it a great deal it is the sound. It is a very basic ‘generic’ casino slot sound which is absolutely fine if you like that. However in terms of presentation compared to more modern slots, Buffalo is lagging some way behind.
No base game bonuses
Another key issue is the fact that the base game isn’t the most exciting to play. Wins are a decent size when landed with just a few very small wins, but other than trying to hit free spins and getting lucky with the stacked Buffalo symbols, there’s nothing else to trigger or aim for and that does mean play can get repetitive at times.
Big wins hard to achieve
Big wins are easier to achieve in Free Spins although you could in theory win the largest amount in free spins or the base game. However, the base game requires patience to work through and you do not hit many bigger value wins as you play which does affect the play value of the slot.
Graphics & soundtrack 2/5
A mark of two may seem harsh but Buffalo is dated but that is partly because it is a direct port over from a game popular in casinos. In terms of being faithful to the original the team at Aristocrat did well, but it just doesn’t look or sound as exciting as some of the more modern day slots.
Originality & creativity 3/5
Although this is a retro game, it does boast some of the more modern features of slots including 1024 ways to win and a fantastic and potentially rewarding free spins bonus round, with a Wild Multiplier, a feature that some modern games are just now adapting. However the base game is somewhat repetitive.
Play value 2/5
This is a medium variance slot and you do get a nice balance of wins, but you also get times when the slot doesn’t offer you hardly anything and other times when it pays out readily. Overall though, it is hitting the Free Spins bonus which will see you most likely to make a decent sized win but you need patience and a big bankroll to see it through to that at times.
Jackpot potential 3/5
You will trigger the big Buffalo jackpot when you land the Buffalo symbol stacked across all five reels. That is the biggest win but of course, achieving this in free spins or the base game is especially difficult.
Repeat play 3/5
Buffalo is very playable and enjoyable even though sometimes it doesn’t pay much to players. However there are times when good runs do occur and it is these which will keep players coming back for more, as they have been doing in casinos for many years.
Total score: 13/25
Although it has a few negative points Buffalo is a very enjoyable slot and a faithful port over from real world casinos. If you played the slot there, as millions did, you will enjoy this online version. More modern gamers may balk at the lack of features and retro style but this is still a playable and enjoyable slot in its own right.