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About This Slot
Big Bamboo is the latest release from UK game provider, Push Gaming. Push have built a reputation for producing high quality grid slots with a high-risk maths model like the excellent Fat Rabbit, Razor Shark and Jammin’ Jars. Their games are known for distinctive high-quality graphics and gameplay with progressive features that build towards huge wins – see any big win video for Fat Rabbit for evidence of that!
Recently Push brought us the excellent Fire Hopper, whose cute graphics belied an intensely high variance maths model. And it seems they are intent on following through with that style in their latest release to UK slot sites in 2022, Big Bamboo! The game’s theme is everyone’s favourite cuddly bear – the Panda – and its top snack, the bamboo shoot! The same turquoise watery backdrop colors we find in Fire Hopper are evident here, though in this case it seems we are beneath the surface.
Big Bamboo is a 5-reel, 6 row slot with 50 fixed paylines in play at all times and a dynamic set of features that will please Push fans as cumulative events in the bonus round can lead to huge wins as we shall see further into this review.
RTP, Variance and Top Payout
The Big Bamboo maths model published on Push Gaming’s own website shows a high variance which means payouts will be infrequent and tough to unlock, but when they drop they can be massive.
The RTP is 96.13%, or 96.52% in the bonus round and the top payout is 50,000x. The odds of hitting that number are 1 in 21,000,000 so don’t expect it any time soon. Nevertheless, the high number does indicate that this slot will drop wins in the 10,000x + range from time to time. Those high payouts are likely to come from the Golden Bamboo which triggers instant cash wins as high as 5,000x and multipliers.
Spins on Big Bamboo start at just 10p. Higher value bets can be made by adjusting the stake at the foot of the reels.
Symbols and Graphics
With 50 fixed paylines in play at all times there are many ways to win when playing Big Bamboo. Wins are triggered when a three or more identical symbols land on the same payline from left to right, or just two identical symbols for the two highest paying ones.
The reel set is embedded in a bamboo lattice work with a sub-aqua / bamboo forest backdrop giving a calming sense to proceedings. The low value icons here are the usual card suits – diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs. The premiums are represented by a variety of jungle animals including birds, monkeys, boards and the panda himself.
Low value icons return small prizes of just 0.4x for five on a payline, whilst the premiums have good value at up to 150x for five.
There is also a Wild that will sub for all others to fill paylines and the Mystery and Golden Bamboos which trigger more payouts.
What We Like
Peaceful graphics and backdrop
Plenty of mystery symbols in base game
Instant wins up to 5,000x
Multipliers up to 10x
Symbol meters and upgrades in free spins
What We Don't Like
High variance will put some players off
Gameplay and Features
The features in Big Bamboo are quite intricate with some complexity. However, broken down we are talking about Mystery Symbols and Golden Bamboo Symbols which themselves deliver three levels of prize, plus a free spins round where low value symbols can upgrade into Mystery ones.
Here are the key events to look out for:
- The MYSTERY SYMBOL is available throughout the game – when it lands ANYWHERE on the reels then all instances transform into the SAME symbol from the paytable. This includes special ones like the Wild and Golden Bamboo.
- Crucial to all the best action in Big Bamboo is the GOLDEN BAMBOO symbol – this appears only when revealed by a Mystery Symbol.
- Golden Bamboos SPIN to reveal one of three prizes – INSTANT PRIZE WIN from 1x to 5,000x; a COLLECTOR which collects all instant prizes and other collectors in view; a MULTIPLIER of 2x to 10x applied to your instant prize win AND any collectors;
Those are the basics but things get super-charged in the free spins round where symbol upgrades boost your opportunities to hit the bigger wins. Here is how that works:
- The GAMBLE SCATTERS that land anywhere anytime reveal a free spins award. You get either 4 to 9 spins, 7 to 9 spins with two low value icons upgrading to Mystery Symbols, or 8 to 10 spins with 4 low value icons all changing to Mystery Symbols.
- With Gamble Scatters you get the chance to gamble to level-up your free spins option. But beware, lose the gamble and you come away with nothing.
- Now, we’re into the free spins round and its possible to convert MORE low value symbols into Mystery Symbols, adding more free spins and multipliers as you do. This is achieved using the symbol meters to the right of the reels – something like Pink Elephants bonus round by Thunderkick.
- The first meter filled gets you 4 extra spins, the second and third get you 3 extra spins and the fourth gets you 2 extra spins. PLUS a multiplier is activated to be used when the Golden Bamboo feature is in play.
Finally, outside the UK you can buy into the bonus round with varying levels of RTP, symbols conversion and free spins. Here is how that works:
99x buy in – 7, 8 or 9 free spins, zero converted symbols and 96.94% RTP.
179x buy in – 7, 8 or 9 free spins, two converted symbols and 96.76% RTP.
608x buy in – 8, 9 or 10 free spins, four converted symbols and 96.71% RTP.
300x buy in – 7 to 10 free spins, 0 to 4 converted symbols and 96.74% RTP.
Big Bamboo is very much a Push Gaming slot. It carries elements of many others in its make-up. The visuals have something of Fire Hopper in them, whilst the instant pays are taken from another recent release, Bison Battle.
The features are a little bit complex however and you’ll need to get to grips with them to get enjoyment out of Big Bamboo. Its best to break it down like this – the basic idea is to reveal as many Golden Bamboos as possible, themselves only accessible through the Mystery Symbols that land anywhere on the reels at any time. Golden Bamboos trigger instant prizes – up to 5,000x that can be enhanced by multipliers of up to 10x – giving you your 50,000x max payout. To increase your odds of getting there you need more Mystery Symbols on the reels, achieved by converting low value icons into Mystery Symbols either through gathering more Gamble Scatters in the base game, or collecting more to fill your meters in the bonus round.
That’s Big Bamboo in a nutshell – scatters are key to enhancing the paytable. And remember, this is a high-risk slot so it will frustrate more than most. Take a few plays on demo mode to get to grips with it and set your stake accordingly to absorb those long streaks with little or no return.
Overall, causal slots players should probably give this one a miss but aficionados and high variance fans can get stuck into something that may bring a lot of satisfaction in the long run.