Big Bamboo

(Push Gaming) Slot Review

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Big Bamboo: Slot Overview

Software provider Push Gaming has built a well-deserved reputation for crafting brutal slots, and what could be more brutal than a well-fed, well-rested, big, adorable panda bear? What wait? Don't worry; Push Gaming isn't catering to a gentler corner of the market. Big Bamboo is another ruthless slot with massive risk/reward going on. It just happens to look cute. Beneath the sleepy, meditative outer shell is an unforgiving game full of mystery symbols, instant coin prizes, and free spins with symbol conversions.

You know, bamboo can actually get quite big, as some of the tallest specimens reach 30m in height. Those sorts of bamboo trees don't make a panda's diet, though, as the animals prefer to eat leaves, shoots, or stems. However, a game called Averagely Sized Stems probably wouldn't have the same ring. It's to this world of towering bamboo plants we are thrust in Big Bamboo, which has a simple green, glowy background, almost mystical, while a 5-reel, 6-row game grid sits in the middle. There's a minimalist zen quality to the visuals, which feels slightly Hacksaw Gaming-ish, with smatterings of Razor Shark going on in the features.

Big Bamboo slot

Playable across all devices from 10 p/c to $/€100 per spin, Big Bamboo is a highly volatile game that was initially tough to gain much traction with. Four feature buys and a gamble feature means a multitude of RTP values, with the default figure weighing in at 96.13%. When buying features, the respective return values are clearly displayed, so players know what they are signing up for.

Snaking their way across the game panel are 50 fixed paylines to land winning combinations on. At least three of a kind are needed to trigger a win, except for the top-paying panda, which needs just two. The panda is joined by boars, monkeys, and birds for the high pays, worth 12-150x the bet for five of a kind. Beneath them are diamonds, spades, hearts, and clubs, all paying 0.4 times the stake for a five-symbol hit. Wilds appear on all reels to substitute any paying symbols, and wild combinations are worth the same as the panda.

Big Bamboo: Slot Features

Big Bamboo has quite a lot of extra bits to go over, much of them recognisable from elsewhere but brought together and given their own flavour.

Mystery Bamboo Symbols

Mystery Bamboo symbols can land anywhere on the reels in the base or bonus game. When they hit, they transform to reveal pay symbols, which includes wilds or Golden Bamboo symbols.

Golden Bamboo Feature

This is triggered when mystery symbols reveal Golden Bamboo symbols. Each Golden Bamboo Symbol position spins individually, and the following symbols may land:

  • Instant Prize – a bet multiplier worth 1x to 5,000x the bet.
  • Collector – collects the value of all other instant prize symbols or collector symbols in view. The collector remains in place throughout the Golden Bamboo feature while empty positions spin.
  • Multiplier – multipliers of x2-x10 which increase instant prize symbols or collector symbol values.

Scatter symbols and gamble scatter symbols can land naturally or be revealed by the Golden Bamboo feature. In the base game, when there are scatters on reels 2 and 3, a gamble scatter may land on reel 4. Gamble scatters spin to reveal one of these outcomes:

  • A blank space – nothing happens.
  • 4 to 9 free spins.
  • 7 to 9 free spins with 2 low pay symbols converted to Mystery Bamboo Symbols.
  • 8 to 10 free spins with all 4 low pay symbols converted to Mystery Bamboo Symbols.

Big Bamboo slot

Gamble Feature

If the gamble scatter awarded one of the two lower free spins bonus games, players may gamble to move up a tier. A successful gamble wheel spin advances players, while an unsuccessful spin results in no prize.

Free Spins

During free spins, when scatters land, they are collected beside the low symbols on a meter next to the reels – each symbol has 4 dots. Filling all 4 dots converts symbols into Mystery Bamboo symbols. In addition, converting the first symbol awards +4 extra free spins, the second and third add +3 more free spins each, while the fourth gives +2 extra free spins. Each converted symbol also awards a multiplier which is applied to wins from the Golden Bamboo feature. Free spins can also be won via the Golden Bamboo feature when symbols displaying +1, +2, or +3 hit.

Buy Feature

Hit the star icon to buy one of the four bonuses. There are four choices on offer:

  • 99x the bet for 7-9 free spins with no converted symbols.
  • 179x the bet for 7-9 free spins with 2 converted symbols.
  • 608x the bet to 8-10 free spins with 4 converted symbols.
  • 300x the bet for a random allocation of free spins and converted symbols.

Big Bamboo slot

Big Bamboo: Slot Verdict

Big Bamboo was a surprisingly non-zen like experience once we began dissecting it. What started out as calm and relaxing quickly devolved into a bout of mental water torture trying to convey the rules on paper. Rest Assured, Big Bamboo makes more sense in action and isn't as fiddly as it might sound. However, it somehow managed to be simultaneously calming and infuriating. The masses of dead spins didn't help.

In a nutshell, you want a couple of things to happen. Hitting instant prizes from the Golden Bamboo feature is one, preferably with a multiple in tow. Here's where Razor Shark sort of creeps in, with a tinge of Fat Drac for good measure. Instant prize wins can be huge, as we have seen in Fat Drac max win clips when the bat munches the top prize. Combine the most lucrative instant prize with the top multiplier in Big Bamboo, and you are looking at massive results.

The other goal is triggering free spins and converting as many low pays as possible. This then ties into the previous Golden Bamboo feature, theoretically helping your chances of hitting something special since there are converted Mystery Bamboo symbols going around. There are numerous ways to win in Big Bamboo, each one quite intricate, but it won't be easy, and Big Bamboo often has the last laugh. Landing three scatters but not triggering free spins because the Gamble scatter turns up a blank space can hurt. Of course, there is a positive flipside to the meanness, and Big Bamboo comes with a tremendous win cap of 50,000x the bet.

A big number, and there is smart design here for sure, yet it doesn't feel like Big Bamboo is destined for greatness. It has less outrageous replayability than others like Fire Hopper have had, and the compulsion to have one more spin, just to see what will happen, isn't quite as strong. There are no pressing issues, and major wins here would be quite a sight, but it is hard to see Big Bamboo going on to become a Push Gaming classic.

Superb

Big Bamboo blends several recognisable Push Gaming elements into a slot that somehow manages to be meditative and exasperating at the same time.

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