From a gameplay standpoint, the most interesting thing about the Buffalo slot is that it makes use of Aristocrat’s Xtra Reel Power design. This feature is Aristocrat’s take on ways to win slots; instead of needing to spin symbols on certain paylines, wins register no matter where on a reel a symbol lands, so long as they are successive.
What makes Xtra Reel Power stand out among other ways to win slots is that players can decide how many reels they’d like to have in play, depending on how much they want to bet. The lowest available reel cost for Buffalo gives players access to one horizontal and one vertical reel, while the highest lets them play across all of the reels like a more typical ways to win pokie.
While this is an interesting way to let players control how much they’d like to wager, the drawback is that having fewer reels makes it significantly more difficult to earn winning combinations. More than other pokies, the Buffalo slot becomes something of a balancing act between betting enough to get ahead, but not so much that you’ll fall behind.
While Aristocrat has implemented this unique gameplay mechanic, in many ways Buffalo is a fairly normal slot machine. It has a series of lower-value symbols, which are represented by playing card icons. These exact symbols appear on most Aristocrat games, so there is a bit of a missed opportunity to better theme them to the slot.
The higher-value symbols are animals that you might find on in the plains, including elk, wolves, and of course, buffalo. The buffalo symbols are particularly interesting because – while they aren’t special symbols – they have a unique animation, and even a voice line plays when you match them, which is a rarity in slot machine games. Also, they only require two symbols for a winning combination, while all other symbols except for the 9 playing card icon require three.
Lastly, the Buffalo slot has two symbols with special properties:
The sunset is the Wild symbol, and can substitute for any other symbol in a winning combination, with the exception of the Scatter symbol. Wild symbols only appear on the three middle reels, and they also have a unique function during the free slots bonus game.
The coin is the Scatter symbol, and spinning at least three of them anywhere on the reels activates Buffalo’s free slots feature. Depending on the amount of Scatter symbols you get on the reels, you’ll be able to earn more free spins, up to a maximum of 20 games for five Scatters.
These same symbols all appear on Buffalo Gold, though most of the animal icons are updated from the original version.
While there are a few spots where Aristocrat could have taken the design further, Buffalo is still a gorgeous slot machine. The sunset background, with purples and oranges, is attractive without pulling too much attention away from the reels. It is a little disappointing that the buffalo is the only animated symbol, but all of the animal symbols are eye-catching and realistic.
It is a bit of a strange decision that the slot has no background music like most other nature or animal slots, instead using the ambient noises of a crowd playing at a casino. Given its roots as a real-world slot machine, it does make sense to recreate that atmosphere for Buffalo’s online version, and so it does stand out from other slots in that respect.
One of the best reasons to play Buffalo at an online casino is its bonus game. Up to 20 free spins is a good enough reason to try to get the bonus, but Buffalo goes even further, and in doing so becomes one of the best real money games available.
During the free spins, any Wild symbol that appears will multiply the total win for that spin by either 2 or 3, up to a maximum of 27 times per spin. While it’s not particularly likely that punters will be able to hit the maximum multiplier, this is still an incredible bonus feature. Imagine playing for real money and having even a small win multiplied by 10 or 15 times.
On top of that, free spins can stack if you spin more Scatter symbols. In fact, spinning only two Scatter symbols across the reels during the bonus game will earn you another five free spins.
You can point to lots of pokies at an online casino that use free spins for a bonus round, but the Buffalo slot is incredibly generous in how it creates opportunities for the player to win even more. While it can be quite expensive to play, Buffalo can pay significant dividends.
Buffalo Gold has another bonus where players can collect gold heads while playing, and based on how many they have, other symbols will change to buffalo. Activating this feature costs a bit more than regular play, but can be very lucrative when playing for real money.
Depending on your online casino of choice, you may be able to claim free spins for Buffalo or Buffalo Gold through a welcome bonus or other casino bonus. Just keep in mind that this means you’ll be able to play the base pokie for free, but will have to activate the free spins bonus feature if you want access to multiplied wins or to collect golden heads. Even if you don’t manage to activate the bonus, any win on a free spin from a casino bonus will add real money to your casino account.
The Buffalo series of slot machines, including Buffalo Deluxe, Buffalo Max, and Buffalo Gold, were all developed by Aristocrat. Aristocrat is one of the biggest and most innovative casino games companies in the world today, founded right here in Australia in 1953.
Over its long history, Aristocrat developed a reputation for innovation, whether that means features like Xtra Reel Power or their creation of the world’s first five-reel slot machine. With some of the most creative and unique mechanics and bonus games in pokies today, Aristocrat continues to show why they’re one of the world’s best developers.