Name:  Bee Hive Bonanza

Developer:  NetEnt

Paylines:  Scatter Pays

Reels:  5

Rows:  5

RTP:  96.09%

Variance:  High

Top Payout:  5,000x

Jackpot:  No

Release Date:  September 2022

Features:  Free Spins, Multipliers, Scatter Pays, Money Bees, Collector Beehives

About This Slot

Spring time might seem a more likely date to launch a bee-themed slot but NetEnt have saved this one for the autumn with a September 2022 release date. The association of bees with colorful times of year and their generally benevolent nature (when they aren’t out to sting) have made them a good source of inspiration for a few creative game developers over the years. We can think of Wild Swarm by Push Gaming (very volatile) and Honey Honey Honey (medium volatility) by Pragmatic Play.

Innovation is key to making a video slot that sticks these days. And for Bee Hive Bonanza slot, NetEnt have done just that. They utilize a Scatter Pays model which is a little unusual, but as we will see the execution is excellent, utilizing some interesting additional ‘Collector’ features where multiple symbol-types combine. If you like upbeat slots with original gameplay then we think you are going to enjoy this one. It’s cheerful graphics and colorful countenance mean it will put a smile on your face, even if its high risk maths model will frustrate at times.

The official release date for Bee Hive Bonanza in UK slot sites is 28th September.

RTP, Variance and Top Payout

Bee Hive Bonanza’s 96.09% RTP is pretty much average for the industry. The high variance means the game won’t appeal to all players. This is a high risk game so you can expect to have some frustrating runs of unrewarding spins before hitting a good combination of avalanches and collectors that suddenly sees a sizable payout.

The top win of 5,000x is also not particularly high for a game of high volatility. We have seen much bigger top payouts available on high risk games from No Limit City this year for example.

Spins start at 10p per play.

Symbols and Graphics

One of the stand-out elements of this game is it’s bright and colorful interface. The 5×5 reel set sits against a backdrop of sweeping hillsides with lush green grass and yellow flowers. A river of lake sits to the left and the blue skies are flecked with fluffy clouds. It’s a peaceful scene, until the spins start and things get more real! There are also hints to a bygone era of knights and castles in the graphics. The outside frame of the grid is made up of castle turrets and the Buy Feature buttons is represented as a castle. Make of that what you will.

Most symbols are represented by tokens in yellow, blue and red. The lowest pay 0.2x to 0.3x for six on the grid, and 5x to 6x for 22 to 24 on the grid. The higher value ones pay 0.4x for six of a kind, or 7x to 8x for 22 to 24 on the grid.

Remember, this is a Scatter Pays game so it’s not about landing identical symbols on paylines, but rather just getting as many as possible to land on the grid simultaneously.

There is no wild. But Honey Pot scatters will help you to get free spins, and Bee Symbols and collectors are key to driving multiplier wins in both rounds as we are about to find out.

What We Like

  Colorful, fun graphics
  Innovative use of Collector symbols
  Progressive multipliers with free spins
  Avalanche wins - more payouts per spin
  Up to 20 free spins and extras

What We Don't Like

  Low top payout
  Risk model makes for irregular payouts

Gameplay and Features

Bee Hive Bonanza has a nice combination of features that can deliver some pretty fast and furious big win sequences if the stars align. Here is how they work:

Avalanche Wins – after any winning spin, winning symbols are removed and new ones drop in to replace them. If more winning combinations are created, then the process repeats. Until there are no more wins.

Money Bees – this is what we like! Money Bees are extra symbols that represent a special instant win prize of 1x to 10x. They drop randomly on every spin but they require additional collector symbols to activate their prizes. There are three types of collector:

  • Beehive Collector – Collects the total value of ALL bees in view.
  • Multiplier Beehive – Multiplies all visible bee values by 2x before they are added to the Beehive.
  • Adder Beehive – adds the value of your stake to all bees in view before they are then added to the Beehive.

Free Spins – Get 10, 15 or 20 free spins when you land 3, 4 or 5 scatters, represented by the Honey Pot.

During this bonus round a new Scatter Meter is activated. All scatters are collected in the meter and activates a multiplier as follows: 3, 6, 9 or 12 scatters gets you a 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x multiplier. At each new multiplier level you get 2 more free spins.

Other Slots Like This One

There are few good Bee-themed slots out there. So how does Bee Hive Bonanza measure up against them?

Wild Swarm by Push Gaming – unlike NetEnt’s new game, Wild Swarm has a traditional 20 payline structure and builds the gameplay around Wild symbols which stick, expand and shift to the left. The graphics are very high quality, maybe better than Bee Hive Bonanza, but the variance is lower making for a more balanced pay structure, and the top prizes is a very modest 600x. For that reason, Wild Swarm will not appeal to the kind of risk takers who like the look of Bee Hive Bonanza. Nonetheless, if you are a Push Fan and like games with plenty of Wilds, Wild Swarm is a good alternative to NetEnt’s release.

Honey Honey Honey by Pragmatic Play – Another richly-illustrated slot with cheerful looking bees is this one from Pragmatic Play. It’s stacked with base game modifiers like extra wilds, Sitcky Streaks where 3 of a kinds stick for a respin, Guaranteed Win Spins and Guaranteed Free Spins. Those who enjoy more balanced gameplay and regular payouts at medium volatility will prefer this one over Bee Hive Bonanza too. But once more, it’s very low 400x top payout means it just can’t compete with the win potential of NetEnt’s bee-themed game. It just depends on your attitude to risk.

Other games with a Bee-theme you might like include Pollen Party by Microgaming and The Hive by Betsoft.

Our Verdict

Bee Hive Bonanza is a really nice game but one that will appeal only to a certain type of player. You need to enjoy the jeopardy of a high risk maths model and be up for a game that doesn’t run on a traditional model. Instead, if you enjoy the Scatter Pays model you should get on well with this game. The Collector feature worked well for us – it’s interesting to have prizes triggered by a combination of symbols (Money Bee + Beehive) rather than for just collecting identical ones.

Our only gripe here really is over the top payout potential which is lower than almost all the new high-risk games on the market this year. If you have problems with that then you could try a slot like Big Bamboo by Push Gaming with a 50,000x top prize.