Big Fin Bay: Slot Overview
If you can't beat em, join em, as the saying goes, or if you can't stomach teaming up with the competition, do something that resembles them. Developer Thunderkick displays shades of this maxim in their fishing-themed slot titled Big Fin Bay. As will be obvious to most, the game comes across as a kind of Megaways game, yet one which ultimately forks off to do its own thing. Thunderkick has done it in a way which should pique the interest of players keen on dynamic reels or those after some big game fishing based big win possibilities.
When you think of fishing slots, Fishin' Frenzy is often the first one to bubble up from the subconscious. Reel Time's classic was possibly on the Thunderkick design team's minds as well since Big Fin Bay has a touch of the older fishing slot about it, visually at least. Played using 6 reels, there is something sort of retro about the symbols populating its grid along with the abundance of blue in the background. Of course, it's hard to avoid using a lot of blues if you're building a game around fishing on the opening water. Unless you recreate cloudy, grey weather conditions, but how many fantasies take place on an overcast day? Instead, housing-lined hills lead down to the sea on the edge of the screen, invoking a touch of dreamy summer destinations like Amalfi or sailing along the Croatian coast.
Despite the calm waters, Big Fin Bay runs on a highly volatile math model, while producing a solid RTP of 96.14%. Playable from between 10 p/c to £/€100 per spin, it might look like a Megaways slot in a screenshot, but operates under a different set of rules from BTG's game engine. For a start, pay ways are fixed at 5,040 in the base game, where symbols land on reels in combinations of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Symbols alternate though, so you might land them in a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 formation on one spin; then 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 on the next. Thunderkick has forgone a cascade feature, but things can get mental during free spins regardless.
A piscine motif runs through the paytable where 4 of the 5 premium symbols are stuffed fish wall hangings, topped by a grizzly, pipe-smoking Popeye looking fisherman. 6 of a kind combinations are possible, fetching prizes worth 2 to 7 times your stake. The remaining 5 low pay symbols are nondescript 10-A icons which could be used anywhere really; here they round this section off.
Big Fin Bay: Slot Features
The wild marlin symbol is central to most of Big Fin Bay's finest moments in the base game, as well as the bonus round. The first thing to know is that wilds land on any reel to help complete winning combinations by substituting for any pay symbol. When wilds are included in a pay win, they expand to cover the whole reel.
In addition, a randomly activated mystery wilds feature may drop at any time in the base game. When it is, up to 3 reels are turned wild for the current spin. Scatters do not land when this feature is active.
Landing 3 or more scatter symbols triggers a free spins bonus game - each reel displaying a scatter awards up to 6 free spins, for a maximum total of 36. Wilds are instrumental here as well. Whenever one lands, it not only expands to cover the reel, it triggers a respin. One additional wild symbol is added to the wild reel during the respin, creating extra pay ways. What is more, the reels remain at the expanded height for the remainder of free spins, maxing out at 7 symbols high. When fully expanded, +3 additional free spins are awarded. If all reels reach the full 7 symbols height, 117,649 ways will be active.
Big Fin Bay: Slot Verdict
While it comes across as a little Megaways-ish initially, Big Fin Bay performs quite differently. What connects the two is similar sounding numbers from the game arrangement – reel numbers, symbols, and pay ways especially. Oh, okay, the grid kind of looks similar as well if you want to split hairs. In action, though, Big Fin Bay goes about the business of hitting wins and triggering features in its own unique way. Safe to say, Big Fin Bay avoids being labelled a copycat while being close enough to evoke muscle memories of BTG's game engine.
Big Fin Bay certainly gets good mileage out of its wild symbols, essentially acting as a multiplier when they expand as part of a win. Dynamic reels as a slot feature are sizzling hot right now, and Thunderkick's contribution to the movement can be hugely entertaining at times. It helps that there are a whole lot of free spins for grabs when they trigger. Plus, when you factor in respins, lengthy bonus rounds are a distinct possibility giving you plenty of time to increase reels and ways. In this manner, Big Fin Bay can haul in wins of up 15,040 times your stake should it all go to plan.
Thunderkick has proven adept at the 6x4, pay-all-ways style of gaming in the past, and their experimentation with dynamic reels and going beyond their previous 4,096 ways limit has paid off. Big Fin Bay is a game that can go from nothing to hair blowing excitement in a moment, much like the pastime it is based on. In all, Big Fin Bay steps up to fill the void left for players who have found the thrill of Fishin' Frenzy has long worn off.
Big Fin Bay’s dynamic reels concept gives budding anglers a viable Megaways alternative to haul in a catch or two.