There are very few slot machines that can claim to be a ‘global phenomenon‘, available by mass demand at online and land-based casinos all over the world. I can think of only two series worthy of such a title. The Buffalo Slots Series by Aristocrat, and the Wheel of Fortune Slots Series by IGT.
Today, Buffalo slot machines are on the menu of delineation. We’ll take a quick look at all the games in the Buffalo slots series, and try to figure out what has made them so wildly popular in land-based casinos, as well as the online gambling realm.
Buffalo Slots Series
Aristocrat Leisure sure knew what they were doing when they put out the very first Buffalo slot machines in 2008. They have become a cult classic in the gaming world, available in casinos from Melbourne, Australia to Las Vegas, USA, and everywhere between.
The original Buffalo Slot introduced what the manufacturer terms Xtra Reel Power, which is really a fancy way of saying it has up to 1024 Ways to Win. Imbued with a 5×4 reel set, players can pay to activate up to 1024 ways, but in the way they would traditional paylines.
Activating the full reel set (highly recommended for max RTP) requires a bet of 40x the denomination (minimum $0.40), which isn’t too expensive for most casual players, and allows higher bets for big spenders.
With all those reels active, the game offers a complete 1024 ways to win pay table. This means any combination of complementary symbols that are adjacent to one another, in any direction, starting on the left-most reel, creates a win (see info screenshot below).
Slots fans were immediately hooked on the concept. Since then, Aristocrat has taken full advantage, releasing more titles in the Buffalo slots series. The current range of Buffalo slot machines includes:
The original, 1024 ways Buffalo slot machine.
This version has a unique free games feature in which players choose 9, 12 or 15 free spins. Less free spins come with a higher wild multiplier, while more free spins come with a lower wild multiplier.
This game (pictured right) has a 4|5|5|5|4 reel set, plus a wheel bonus that can deliver one of the game’s 5-tier progressive jackpots.
The latest addition to the Buffalo slots series, Buffalo Stampede incorporates new features, including expanding wilds, more free spins options and a randomly released progressive jackpot.
This is a 2-in-1 game that allows players to spin the reels of the original Buffalo Slot, or Buffalo Deluxe.
Perfect Variance the Key to Success
In the slot gaming world, most games can be narrowed into one of two categories. One comes with a low variance, and the other a high variance. The variance relates to how often, and how much, a player can expect to win as the play. This is not the same as RTP.
All slot machines come with a pre-destined payout percentage, or return to player (RTP). At the installing casino’s request (based on local regulatory restrictions), the manufacturer will set the RTP to a specific amount, such as 90%. This means that, over time, the game will pay out $90 for every $100 it takes in.
This factor is present in all slot machines, including the Buffalo slots series, but the variance in these games is unlike most.
A low variance will result in very frequent wins. However, many players don’t like these machines. While winning frequently increases entertainment value, attentive players know that those frequent wins are rarely worth the amount of they paid to spin the reels.
A high variance game is exactly the opposite. They line up winning combinations very infrequently, but provide a higher average payout when they do. These machines can pay higher dividends, but are often considered very boring.
Aristocrat managed to endow its Buffalo slot machine with a perfectly entertaining and rewarding balance of payouts. Even though the RTP is similar to other games, players are drawn to the high level of entertainment and relatively frequent wins.
Other Features of Buffalo Slot Machines
Another affable feature of the Buffalo slots series is their unique multiplier symbols. They can appear at different times, and in different ways, depending on the game of choice, but they always work the same way.
If a player lines up a winning combination with a symbol depicting 2x, the win is multiplied 2x. Multipliers on Buffalo slots machines can range from 2x to 5x. If more than one lands in a winning combo, they multiply each other. A 2x and 5x symbol on a line multiplies the win 10x, whereas a trio of 3x multipliers on a line will increase the winnings 27x.
It doesn’t hurt that Buffalo slot machines—especially the more recent additions—are so graphically rich. The crystalline, HD animations in Buffalo Stampede are simply amazing, and the multiple progressives on the wheel bonus game in Buffalo Grand have made this the most sought after slot in the world.
Walk into any casino where the Buffalo slots series is present—that covers the vast majority of them—and you’ll rarely find the seats at these games open; never during peak hours. They really are that popular.
This is one reason why so many players have transitioned to playing Buffalo slot machines online. Any internet casino that employs Aristocrat software will carry them. And thanks to the efficacy of the digital realm, there’s always an open seat available.