Bounty Showdown: Slot Overview
Sooner or later, most if not all software developers are drawn to the raw romance and mystery of America's Wild West. There is something about it that continues to have a powerful hold over studios and players alike. Now it's the turn of Stockholm based designer Fantasma Games to toss their Stetson into the Western arena with the game Bounty Showdown. A relatively simple slot by Fantasma standards, Bounty Showdown keeps the gameplay basic while narrowing its focus on special bonus wild symbols, almost to the exclusion of everything else. Hit enough of them, and you'll be sauntering away from the showdown a champ. If not, you'll be high-tailing it out of town peppered with buckshot.
As Fantasma puts it, they like to bring a gaming experience to the world of gambling. They do this in Bounty Showdown by crafting a moody, middle of nowhere town and filling it with one of the nicest western soundtracks this side of Deadwood. It meanders along like a Bon Jovi song when inspecting the paytable or spinning in the base game before switching up a gear to circa Load/Reload era Metallica. The least attractive part of Bounty Showdown is its plain wooden 5-reel, 10-payline game grid, but then again, the same could be said about El Paso Gunfight, and look how that one turned out.
The showdown takes place on any device where stakes of 10 p/c to £/€100 per spin are possible. If you've got access to the feature buy, then RTP comes in two forms – a default value of 96.16% or the bonus buy version of 97.12%. Volatility is medium-high, so not as wild as the west can get on the reels, nor is potential the largest you'll find in this genre.
Standard rules apply, so you'll need at least three matching symbols to land adjacently across a payline from the first reel onwards. The first batch are J-A royals, followed by a lady with a blade, a desperado holding a stick of dynamite, a badass female, and a flaming eyed skeleton looking a bit like Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze. Values aren't bad considering the low number of paylines where a full line of premiums is worth 30 to 100 times the stake. Skulls reappear on the wild symbol, which lands on all reels to substitute for any pay symbol to complete combos. It also doubles as the scatter; let's take a look.
Bounty Showdown: Slot Features
As well as being the wild, landing 2 bonus wild symbols activates the Double Bonus Respin feature. The reels holding the scatter are held while the other three respin in the hopes of landing at least one more scatter.
Should 3, 4, or 5 wild bonus symbols hit, players collect a win of 10x, 25x, or 100x the bet and trigger 10, 15, or 20 Showdown Free Spins, respectively. Before free spins begin, a Gatling Wheel overlays the screen with 16 chambers holding bullets. Each bullet bears a value from 1 to 100. You get 3 spins of the Gatling Wheel. Each value it lands on is added together and used as your win multiplier for the round.
When free spins are in play, whenever a bonus wild symbol lands, players are awarded the total of the three numbers multiplied by the stake, on top of any regular line wins. If 3, 4, or 5 bonus wilds land during the feature, 3, 4, or 5 extra free spins are awarded, as is one more spin of the Gatling Wheel to top up the multiplier.
We mentioned the bonus buy before, and where available, a payment of 80x the bet triggers Showdown Free Spins on the next paid spin.
Bounty Showdown: Slot Verdict
Fantasma Game's first foray to the Wild West largely bears fruit as Bounty Showdown provides solid gaming, all things considered. First looks are enticing thanks to the excellently bleak one-horse town the game is located in, and a particularly good soundtrack. Fantasma certainly has classy world-building skills, which have been used to good effect in Bounty Showdown. We say good, but it's not outstandingly atmospheric in the way Deadwood or Dead or Alive 2 was. Still, there are no complaints either.
The same goes for gameplay and features. The base game is what it is, often getting lost amidst swathes of tedious spins – through decent symbol values, step in to rescue it at times. Everything changes once the bonus game triggers. Not only does the music step up, everything else does as well. Bonus wild skull symbols are everything in Bounty Showdown. They have the power to make or break a session to such a degree that they overshadow literally everything else.
The free spins round is highly entertaining, and it's not hard to envisage players hammering the daylights out of the bonus buy. The round is short, sharp and to the point, so much so that there is only one point to Bounty Showdown- hit bonus wilds to collect. These symbols appear often, too, sometimes every other spin, sometimes back to back.
Where Bounty Showdown comes up short is in the area of potential. Its max win figure of 4,761x the bet is more appealing than a cowboy boot to the face, but compared to the competition, it's pretty dismal. Compared to roughriders from NetEnt or Nolimit City, Bounty Showdown has bought a fork to a knife fight. It doesn't seem like Fantasma decided to challenge the likes of Dead or Alive 2 with Bounty Showdown. Instead, they've gone more for the middle ground in a game that's not so all or nothing.
Since bonus wild payouts provide around 99% of the thrills, it is very tempting to skip the wait by buying free spins. It all depends on what multipliers you manage to drum up from the Gatling Wheel, of course. Score big, and you can sit back to count coins as they roll in. Score low, and free spins can be a struggle, a mighty fun one, though.
Bounty Showdown might be something of a one-trick pony but does it well enough to provide some smoking hot moments.