Thundering Buffalo Slot Machine
High 5 Games released the Thundering Buffalo video slot game in 2011. The game draws its inspiration from well-known Native American motifs and uses Stacked Wilds to enhance player experience. This is a "720 Ways" game, meaning it has 720 pay lines.
Thundering Buffalo is a 3-4-5-4-3 reel video slot game. All prizes are paid from left to right and right to left. The prizes are called "Multiway Wins". The game has one bonus round, a Free Games bonus. The regular game is played against a background image of a grassy river valley somewhere near the foothills of tall mountains.
Continue reading to find out more information on this slot game and also find a free to play version below that we have provided for you to play:
About the Theme
Native American tribes struggled for a long time to achieve economic success after establishing peaceful relations with the United States government. When the US Supreme Court cleared all obstacles to building casinos on tribal reservations the economic outlook for may tribal groups improved.
Modern Native American casinos often proudly display artifacts and local artists' crafts to showcase their traditions and skills to casino patrons. The casinos may also sell local-made goods to their customers, thus expanding economic opportunity for tribe members.
Thundering Buffalo seeks to honor the Native American history and acknowledge the strong bond between gaming and tribes' newfound business interests. The game's imagery is drawn from the Plains tribes' historical and folklore traditions.
The White Buffalo holds great significance to the Lakota people, for example. Among their traditional stories is the tale of the White Buffalo Calf Woman, who taught their ancestors about all the ways of the Earth and to follow a proper path in life. When she left the Lakota a great herd of buffalo surrounded their camps and they always had everything they needed.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
The 720 pay lines in Thundering Buffalo represent every possible combination of one tile from each of the five reels. You can verify this by multiplying 3 times 4 times 5 times 4 times 3. Only one prize per pay line is paid so if you have 2 tiles with 1 symbol on reels 1 and 2, a Wild symbol on reel 3, and 2 tiles with a different symbol on reels 4 and 5, only the higher of the two possible prizes is awarded to you.
The Wild symbol has no prize value on its own but it can appear in a stack of up to 5 Wild symbols. The Wild symbol matches all other symbols in the game except for the Free Spins symbol. The Wild symbol only appears on reels 2, 3, and 4. Any Wild symbol that contributes to a winning combination spins and flashes.
The Free Spins symbol triggers the bonus round. At least one symbol must appear on every reel for the Bonus game to begin.
The Scatter symbol is a burning camp fire. A prize is awarded when 3 or more of these symbols appear anywhere on the screen.
The White Buffalo is the highest value symbol in the game. When 5 White Buffalo appear on any pay line they award a prize of 1000 credits times the active multiplier. If the symbol's animation is activated the tile shows the buffalo lunging briefly toward the player.
The Ceremonial Staff is the next highest value icon in the game. The prize for 5-of-a-kind of this symbol is 400 credits times the active multiplier. When a Ceremonial Staff tile contributes to a winning combination it awakens with mystical power and shows you a vision of buffalo rushing across the plains.
The Teepee is the next highest value icon. The highest prize the Teepee pays is 300 credits times the active multiplier for 5-of-a-kind. When a Teepee symbol contributes to a winning combination it begins to glow and the player is taken inside to see a roaring fire.
The low value symbols in the game are the "A", "K", "Q", "J", and "10".
On any Big Win the White Buffalo appears as if in a vision and charges toward the player in a much fuller rendition of the video that plays within the White Buffalo symbol when it pays a prize. Gold coins then shoot up in a shower.
While the reels are spinning or a prize is being awarded a highly stylized song is playing in the background. It uses a high tempo drum beat and features flutes and various ambient sounds, including the stylized growl of a buffalo.
As is standard with all High 5 Games' "720 ways" games, the controls for Thundering Buffalo are very simple. Wagers are based on a minimum 50 cents (50 credits). This is just what it costs you to spin the reels. In the betting controls window at the bottom of the screen you can adjust the Multiplier, which affects both how much you are wagering per spin and how much the various prizes pay.
So if you choose a Multiplier of 10 your bet-per-spin is 5.00 rather than 0.50 but the maximum prize for, say, 5 White Buffalo tiles is 50,000 credits (or $500). The amount of your current bet per spin is displayed next to the Multiplier.
You cannot change the number of active pay lines. It is always set to 720.
To the right of the betting controls is the Win / Credits window. Here you see the sum total of the prizes you won on your last spin (this could be 0) and the available credits you have left to play with.
The remaining five controls all handle technical game behavior. For example, the Replay button shows you the last played spin in its entirety. If that included a Free Games bonus you can see the entire bonus round again.
The Question mark icon brings up the game's help screen system where you can see all the pay tables and rules. There are seventeen screens in all and you can scroll through them horizontally by using the left and right arrows positioned at the bottom of each screen.
The Speaker icon merely toggles the game's sounds on and off. In a land-based casino those are your only options but if you are playing the game on a smart phone or a computer you can use the device's own sound controls to adjust the volume up or down to your liking.
The Auto Play button saves you some time. You can use it to preselect 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 spins so you don't have to keep clicking the Spin button. The amount of your bet remains fixed at whatever the level was when you began the Auto Spin process. You can stop the Auto Spins at any time by clicking on the button again. The game will also stop if your available credits balance drops below the amount of the bet.
The number of remaining spins is displayed in the Spin button.
When you want to control the spins yourself you just use the Spin button to initiate one game. It also acts as a Stop button for the animations. In other words, once a spin begins the outcome of the game is already decided. Interrupting the game won't change that; it merely stops the various animations (spinning reels, icon animations, Big Win animation, etc.) from playing.
Triggering the Bonus Round
You need at least one Free Spins icon on each of the five reels to initiate the Bonus Game. You are awarded 8 spins for each set of five Free Spin tiles. You can win up to 240 free games. All of the free spins are added up before the Bonus game begins.
When the Free Spins game begins the background image is replaced by a view looking out from trees over a vast plain covered by a blue sky.
The game uses a different set of reels than the regular game. The background music also changes.
Thundering Buffalo is one of High 5 Games' more interesting historical offerings because it mixes Native American folklore or mysticism in with the historical allusions. That would be like having visions of the Virgin Mary appear in the Davinci Diamonds game.
The game's large number of pay lines and stacked Wild symbols make it relatively easy to win prizes on most spins.
High 5 Games estimates the theoretical return to player to be 94.9%, which is a very good RTP for the slots market, although not the best.
The ambient music is comfortable and exciting although it may become a little overwhelming if you play the game for a long time. And that is a real possibility. These 720/Multiway Win games don't seem to take your money as quickly as some other styles of games. You can guess how much volatility there is in a game by looking at the payouts. If there are a lot of really big prizes then your chances of getting those higher value wins are lessened. At least with lower Big Win prizes you can reasonably hope to see them more often.
No one is going to quiz you on Native American history or traditions if you play this game. It's just a fun glimpse into some of the traditions that helped to shape the Great American West back in the day. The first time that White Buffalo comes charging out toward you will show you why this game is a little bit different from what you might have expected.