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Depending on your age, the word Bonanza will mean different things. To a lot of people, it’s just an ordinary word. To the baby boomers it represents one of the most iconic TV shows in modern history. And for a big group of people, the word is associated with Big Time Gaming’s immensely popular online slot Bonanza.
In this article, we will sadly not give you any insight or analysis into Ben Cartwright and his Nevada ranch family. Instead, we’ll focus on Big Time Gaming’s flagship game and the most prominent Megaways™ slot online. If you are a fan of simple, traditional slots with few reels and no distinct features, this game is probably not for you. If you on the other hand love unusual gameplay, unique design and innovative features, Bonanza is probably the game for you.
The Bonanza slot takes place in some sort of open-air environment, flanked by a cute little cottage on one side and a water wheel on the other side of the playing area. Above the playing area, you’ll see a line of carts rolling along in front of what appears to be a mine. So while there’s no Cartwrights in this slot, you can still get the (w)right carts. I’ll show myself out.
The symbols are mainly made up of colourful gems, rocks, playing card symbols and gold-coated letters. It’s a holy mix of different colours, and the vibrant 3D design makes for a unique look. But it’s not the colours, nor is it the symbols, that sets Bonanza apart. It’s the reel design. The fact that the grid has an unusual number of 6 reels isn’t even what’s unique here; what really sets the game apart is that you cannot pinpoint the exact number of rows. That is due to Megaways™, the innovative feature from Big Time Gaming that we will explain further below.
Out of all the online slot innovations from the last few years, Megaways™ is probably the most significant one. Most slot innovations usually mean a new bonus round or perhaps some different gameplay. The Megaways™ mechanics blow all of these out of the park and ensures that you never really know how many ways you can win.
Forget the fairly standard ‘243 ways to win’; in Bonanza, there is a max potential of 117 649 ways to win. Wait, there’s how many ways now? Yes, you read that right. There is a maximum potential of 117 649 ways to win in Bonanza. But that does not mean that every spin has this many ways to win.
Still not entirely sure what this means? Each reel has a changing number of symbols for each spin. Every single reel can have between two (mega) symbols to seven (fairly small) symbols. That is a whole lot of different symbols, and if you add this up over 6 reels you get a massive win potential.
Simply put it means that all the reels are constantly changing and that the symbols will have various heights for every spin. Sometimes you will get a ton of small symbols on the reels, other times you might get a mix of many small and a few very tall symbols. The bar on the top of the playing area will always show you the current number of Megaways™ for every spin. At the end of the day, it is just “x ways to win” on steroids. But the absurd amount of ways to win combined with the great visuals of ever-changing reels makes this one of our favourite slot innovations in recent times.
The Megaways™ mechanics might seem complicated, but the gameplay in Bonanza is luckily not too difficult to comprehend. All you need to land a win is getting 3 or more matching symbols in adjacent reels. These symbols do not need to land in any specific alignment, as long as they are on connected reels, and start with the leftmost reel. Above reels 2 - 5, you will also notice a set of carts, each carrying a symbol. These symbols will be added to their corresponding reels as you play.
When a winning combination is made on the reels, the winning symbols are cleared from the board. This is called a reaction, and the winning combination is replaced by additional symbols falling from above and from the right-hand side in the carts. A respin will then be initiated. Respins do not get charged as a normal spin and respins will continue for as long as additional combinations are being made.
The game’s Wild symbol is the stack of dynamite. It will substitute every symbol except for the Scatter, and the Wild is only present in the carts above the reels. The Scatter symbol takes the shape of a gold bar, and in total there are 4 different bars with the letters G, O, L, and D. When 4 Scatter symbols land on the reels and spell the GOLD, 12 free spins will be activated. Any extra Scatter and an extra five free spins.
The free spins round is played with the value of the bet that triggered the bonus. If you land 3 Scatters on the same spin you receive 5 extra free spins, while 4 Scatters will award 10 extra free spins.
The free spins round is otherwise fairly straightforward; you are taken to an underground mine to play the free rounds. Down there it is played as any normal game round, but with an added win multiplier. This multiplier starts at 1 and will increase by 1 for each win on the reels. But there’s no upper limit for the win multiplier. This means that with some luck, and maybe a few extra free spins, you have a very big win potential on your hands.
Bonanza is a volatile online slot. Surprisingly so some might say, as you would expect a slot with that many ways to win to produce more frequent, but lower wins. That is not the case with this game, and you might have to trade off the frequency of the wins for larger sums when you do win.
Bonanza is an excellent mobile game that will work across (almost) all devices and operating systems. It is no surprise that Big Time Gaming has developed such a good mobile slot. If there ever was a game fitting to play on mobile, it was Bonanza.
The colourful graphics look great on handheld devices, and the lively animation and big win sequences in combination with the ever-changing reels ensure the visuals could be mistaken for an average mobile game in 2019.
Bonanza was a breath of fresh air when it was released in 2016, and its unique features still set it apart to this day. It was the slot that introduced Megaways™ to the world, and the game still holds its own in that genre. It represents a relatively new breed of casino games, where the game and its features make you wonder if you’re still playing an online slot. Other examples of similar games are titles Reactoonz and Planet of the Apes.
While the game might seem complicated at first, it is very straightforward. Seeing the reels constantly changing might seem strange, but once you realise this actually gives you a lot more ways to win you’ll be happy to see the changes.
The free spins round is on the simpler side of things, but the potentially unlimited win multiplier is a nice touch. It is also bordering on demanding too much complaining about the simplicity in a game that introduced one of the biggest innovations in modern slots.
The graphics in the game are colourful and vibrant, but we struggle to see a clear concept here. Maybe all the time went into developing the unique game mechanics? This is nitpicking in a highly entertaining online slot with high volatility and a ridiculously high number of ways to win. Bonanza is far away from the more classic online slots like Mystery Joker, and it might rub some traditionalists the wrong. Luckily the casino sphere is big enough for all kinds of titles; and where would the world be without innovation? We give Bonanza 117 649 thumbs up.
You will find Bonanza, in addition to hundreds of other online slots, in the game library Wildz Casino. Try out the slot for free before wagering your own money if you want, and play the game across all your devices. Log in (New player? Register here) to your Wildz account today to experience why this game is so popular among slot players.
Min/Max Bet: 0.20 – 40.00
Volatility: High (8/10)
Platform: Desktop & Mobile
Developer: Big Time Gaming
Game Type: Pokies