About This Slot
Big Bass Bonanza, coming to us from Reel Kingdom in partnership with Pragmatic Play, is a game that’s been reworked a few times, with enhanced payouts in Bigger Bass Bonanza or on the expanding reels engine in Big Bass Bonanza Megaways, so it’s no surprise to see it rolled out once more, this time as a Christmas game due for release at slot sites in the UK in the first week of December 2021.
In keeping with the original Christmas Big Bass Bonanza is a colouful slot in a cartoon style. It’s set under the sea in what looks like the Alaskan wilderness and has a strong festive vibe that will put you in the mood for presents and parties if nothing else! It’s fair to say, of all the Christmas slots we’ve reviewed, none have been inspired by a day’s fishing before but despite the unusual festive angling theme Pragmatic Play does well with the design and it works in a tongue-in-cheek way.
Once you load up the game you’ll find a classic layout of 5 reels and 3 rows of symbols along with 10 active paylines. The background is attractive with a bubbly blue sea forming the backdrop, along with starfish, sea horse, snail and even some underwater lichen decorated with bright coloured baubles, acting as a Christmas tree! So, although the theme is undoubtedly bizarre we love the bold quirkiness of it. Where some might find Christmas Big Bass Bonanza comes up short however is in the payouts, which when capped at just over 2,000x suggest Santa is not best pleased with us this year!
RTP, Variance and Top Payout
Big Bass Bonanza in its various forms made its name as a high-risk slot and this Christmas version is no different. Pragmatic have it as a 4/5 which is in the medium-high range suggesting that it will be a tough little nut to crack. The RTP of the game is 96.71%, which is a very favourable return for an online slot. At the same time, the 10p minimum bet keeps it playable and gives you a good entry point to start spinning and get used to the gameplay before cranking up the stakes. In short, although there are plenty of ups and downs in payouts, it’s a decent spinner for all players.
In terms of potential, the maximum payout of 2,100x stake isn’t all that high, but this is apparently the biggest haul available from the ocean over the Christmas period! It can be reached by aiming for some big fish symbols and getting lucky with wilds and a progressive multiplier that can deliver up to 10x on top of your base win as we will see in a moment.
Symbols and Graphics
Amidst the crazy winter scenes, on the 5×3 reel set the symbols in Christmas Big Bass Bonanza include brightly coloured high cards from 10 through to Ace for the lower payouts, along with fish, boxes of Christmas presents, sleighs, baubles and Santa for high payouts. These premium symbols can award from 20x to 200x stake for 5 of a kind.
Look out for Santa who is the Wild symbol, available to substitute for all the other symbols in the game to create more potential wins. And finally, you’ll need the scatter symbols to trigger the Free spins round where prize potential increases significantly.
What We Like
Quirky Christmas fishing theme
Free Spins with up to 10x Multipliers
Random money prizes in bonus round
Collect Santa Wilds to re-trigger spins
What We Don't Like
Too similar to the original
Low top payout
Not manny features
Gameplay and Features
This game is all about landing wilds, free spins and those all-important multipliers which will get you close to that 2,100x jackpot. It’s not a game that is as feature-packed as others on the market right now, but still there are some fun moments.
Free Spins Bonus
Landing at least 3 Scatters will trigger the Free Spins Bonus round, which awards 10, 15 or 20 Free Spins, depending on the number of Scatters that triggered the round. During the bonus round, a different set of Fish symbols can appear, each one with a money value shown beneath it. To claim the prizes you need the Santa wild to drop simultaneously. When this happens he collects all the fish prizes in his sack!
During the free spins, Santa acts as Wild and can substitute for the other symbols in the game to create more potential winning combinations as normal. But now there is more … each wild that drops is collected, and every 4th Wild collected will trigger more Free Spins and an upgraded Multiplier applied to all wins during the round. So, on collecting 4 wilds you get a 2x multiplier and 10 more spins, with 8 wilds you get a 3x multiplier and a further 10 spins, and with 12 wilds you get a massive 10x multiplier and 10 more spins.
Finally, there is an addendum to these two features – when only one Wild symbol appears on the screen on your last Free Spin, then money symbols can appear and be collected for a final random payout.
Where Christmas slots are concerned it is a common gripe amongst players that studios are lazy – they simply re-skin an existing game with no new features in order to squeeze a bit more cash out of it. Cynical commercialism at Christmas eh – who’d have thought it? Well it’s not always the case – regular readers of this site will know that we recently reviewed Relax Gaming’s excellent Cluster Pays festive grid slot, Santa’s Stack, a truly original offering.
Unfortunately, Pragmatic Play appear to have missed that memo and have stuck to the tried and tested, re-hashing an old, if popular title for a few weeks of Xmas fun. That leaves us a little cold about this game. There are some parts to enjoy – Christmas Big Bass Bonazza is undoubtedly a fun slot with cheery cartoon visuals, and the combination of angling and Christmas is a weird one, but the humorous edge works well with the colourful imagery to create an upbeat game with plenty of character. However, if you can see through all that you’ll know that you’re just playing Big Bass Bonanza again! Except with Santa for company! This, plus the low top payout of 2,100x stake make things feel a little underwhelming.
And although Christmas BBB is attractive, vibrant and playful, there aren’t many bonus features here either and it all feels a bit lazy. So, unless you’re a big fan of the original game, this festive version might make a slightly disappointing Christmas present!
Ready for something different instead? For an alternative festive slot, you could try Play n Go’s Moon Princess Christmas Kingdom.