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About This Slot
Check out the ‘Top 10’ listing of games at any of your favourite slot sites right now and you are likely to find Big Time Gaming’s legendary Bonanza Slot in there somewhere. It is one of the most famous slots of all time and one of the early proponents of the Megaways™ game engine that was little-known back in December 2016 when it first started but now threatens to challenge the standard game formats of the online slots world.
In many ways Bonanza is the quintessential Big Time Gaming slot, bringing together all the very best aspects of their extraordinary gaming experience – you’ve got the expanding reels that drop anything from two to seven symbols on any given spin, up to 117,649 paylines active at one time, a super-charged variance that makes for massive peaks and troughs in the distribution of payouts, Avalanche Reels with multipliers, and a Free Spins round with re-triggers where the multipliers keep progressing even between Cascades.
Anyone who has played this game for any length of time and finally scored a big win will tell you that this is what high-risk slots play at its best is all about. And it’s this intuitive understanding of what makes a great slots experience that led Big Time Gaming to crack the mainstream in such a big way.
In this review we will take you through the maths model, including the RTP, variance and potential payouts, as well as explaining how the features work and what you need to do to trigger the big wins.
RTP, Variance and Top Payout
Let’s start with the maths then, remembering that Bonanza Megaways™ is on the very top end of high variance and definitely not for the feint hearted. You can read more about what variance means in this guide, but in short, this slot is best suited to higher rollers and those who enjoy the thrill of high-risk games with long odds and big jackpots. The win distribution will generally be very uneven, with lots of relatively dry sessions with little return on your wager before a short sharp peak of wins, always delivered through cumulative avalanches with multipliers in the free spins round. We’ll explain how that works in the features part of this review.
For those with a taste for the RTP, this stat sits at 96% for Bonanza which is bang on average for an online slot. Meanwhile the 20p minimum bet is reasonable, whilst also setting the tone for a game that requires deep pockets to get the best out of it. The hit rate is advertised by BTG as 37.47% which means roughly a little over a third of all spins will trigger a win of some kind.
And finally, if you want to chase the 26,000x stake top payout, you’ll need to open up more paylines through the Megaways™ expanding reels feature explained below, trigger the free spins and hit some Progressive Multipliers! Easy, right?!
Symbols and Graphics
Bonanza offers a packed game screen when you first load it up. The base game is played on a mountainside with a waterfall, greenery and a little hut in the foreground, while the Free Spins round transports you to an underground setting for more visual excitement. There are 6 standard reels with varying rows of symbols from two to seven high on each spin. There is also a horizontal reel running along the top of the screen to improve your potential winning combinations.
The symbols in Bonanza include high cards, the gold-plated letters G, O, L and D, and precious gemstones – an amethyst, emerald, ruby and sapphire. The lower payouts come from the high cards, while the gemstones offer the higher rewards. The best-paying symbol is the amethyst which can award 50x your bet for 6 of a kind.
The horizontal reel running along the top of the screen also contains symbols held in wooden carts, which sit above reels 2 to 5. These symbols include the same as the symbols on the main reels, while you’ll also find some Wild Symbols here, waiting to substitute and create more winning combinations.
What We Like
Quirky gold mining theme
Megaways with up to 117,649 paylines
Free spins re-triggers
Crazy win sequences
What We Don't Like
High volatility makes this a risky play
Gameplay and Features
Whilst known for the quality of its gameplay, Bonanza is in fact a pretty simple slot and once you’ve played in a few times, like us you will become very familiar with the patterns of spins, avalanches, the rare bonus round triggers and the adrenaline rush of those progressive multipliers. It’s not as feature packed as some of the more recent high variance game rolled out by rivals like No Limit City, but it doesn’t need to be. It does enough with what it’s got.
Now, here is how those features work.
This slot is played with the Megaways mechanic, which pushes the paylines up to a potential 117,649, giving an enormous number of ways to win. Bonanza was one of the first slots to use this mechanic, making it an innovative leader in the slot world.
Why 117,649? There are 6 reels, each potentially containing up to 7 rows of symbols. As wins are created by landing identical symbols ANYWHERE on adjacent reels, regardless of position so the win ways is simply calculated as 7x7x7x7x7x7.
Tumbling or Avalanche Reels
The Megaways feature combines with the Tumbling Reels to create monster payout opportunities. Whenever you hit a winning combination, all winning symbols disappear to be replaced by new ones – and new chances to win. These Reactions keep on going until no new wins appear, allowing you to enjoy many payouts from one single spin.
If you manage to land all the letters to spell out G O L D using the scatters in the main game, you’ll trigger the Free Spins round. This awards 12 Free Spins initially with 5 extra Free Spins awarded for every additional Scatter that lands on the triggering spin. You will get another 5 Free Spins if you hit 3 more Scatters during the round.
And there is no limit on how many more spins you can add.
The key here is that a Progressive Multiplier is in play during the Free Spins round with every spin starting with a 1x Multiplier. When an Avalanche sequence starts, so the multiplier increases by 1x with each Cascade.
Now the important point is that there is no re-set between avalanches. So, if your multiplier increases up to 5x from a sequence on your first spin, then that 5x is carried over to your next free spin. That means your multiplier can reach huge heights and boost your win total more and more.
This all adds up to being a classic high-risk feature to really get the blood pumping. BTG’s execution here is awesome and as fans of the genre will know, it kick started a revolution in high risk variance slots with variations on this mechanic appearing in games across the board from No Limit’s infamous San Quentin xWays to slots like Money Train from Relax Gaming.
It is testament to the quality of the Bonanza Megaways™ slot that despite its age – 5 years and counting – it continues to be the most popular BTG game in that format. Indeed, there have been many, many copy-cat versions using the exact same engine (we’re looking at you, Blueprint) but none have ever quite matched the original. It’s something about the clever mix of gameplay and theme, and even the notorious hillbilly soundtrack come to think of it, that is the secret sauce that makes this game so special.
For those who haven’t played a BTG slot before, it’s definitely a fine entry point and a surprisingly simple slot to get to grips with. For diehards it will always be the one to go back to when you’ve exhausted yourself on the latest new releases. And for all of us December 2016 will go down as the time that high risk slots games changed forever!
From our own experience we can tell you that this one will give you a few very exciting moments and many more of pain and frustration. It’s a really tough slot to crack and we urge you to stick to the Responsible Gambling advise and never chase your losses with Bonanza, no matter how many times you hit the G, O, and L scatters whilst falling short on the final T (hint … that will happen a lot!).
Enjoy for what is is … a rollicking good slots ride! Its not hard to see why this game has its legion of fans. If you love the Megaways™ mechanic and quirky mining theme, this is the only choice. Now check out Bonanza at any of the online casinos on this page to see for yourself the slot that propelled Big Time Gaming into the big time!!