Pandas Are Chinese. They like Bamboo. They are very cuddly looking. Many attempts at breeding Pandas in captivity have proven fruitless. However, when in the wild, they do it Panda style, or so the song goes! I have no idea what the Panda’s fascination with bamboo might be, but I think I may just be acquiring my own fascination with Push Gaming’s new Big Bamboo online slot machine! I’m not sure how big a part the 50 fixed paylines might play in this, but I can definitely say that the possibility of winning 50,000x my stake plays a role! Your odds of winning that jackpot are 96.13% in regular play, increasing slightly to 96.52% when the gamble feature is used.
The developer has packed Big Bamboo with as many features as they could, starting with the mystery bamboo symbols appearing in both the base game and bonus game modes. An alternate golden mystery bamboo symbol shows up less regularly, potentially awarding instant cash prizes, multipliers, scatter symbols, gamble scatter symbols, and collector symbols. The aforementioned instant cash prizes can range between 1x and 5,000x the total stake, whilst the multipliers vary between a minimum of 2x and a maximum of 10x. The collector symbols are the real stars of the show, however, as these can collect the value of all other instant cash prizes and bundle them into a new symbol, ready to be collected for a second time!
I must warn you – those Pandas might look cuddly, but they’ll eat you for breakfast, given half a chance! So you’d be much safer just trying our free demo slot of Big Bamboo, you know? It’s available to play below!
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that most panda and bamboo-based online slots have a primarily Far Eastern theme! The most recent example of the genre that we reviewed was Pragmatic Play’s title Mahjong Panda machine, and I’m sure there has been plenty of others which I can’t quite think of just now. This theme has not yet been overused, but I suspect that could change in the near future if games such as this garner the attention they deserve from the slot-playing public. That being said, the art style used in this machine looks remarkably ‘ slapdash’ for a slot produced by a top-tier developer. Seriously, what are those high-paying symbols all about? Open this game for yourself using our demo slot, available above, and I’m sure you will soon see what I mean! Push Gaming, are you trolling us?!
The Panda is slightly better drawn than the rest of the symbols on the paytable and shares the same 150x return as the wild symbol whenever a full payline of five of a kind forms on the reels. There’s a massive drop after this before we reach the badly drawn buffalo with its payout of 20x the bet for all five symbols. The monkey fares even worse, returning 16x the total stake for a complete payline, whilst the blue animal of unknown original completes the high-paying line-up with its payout of 12x the bet for a five of a kind combination. The four low-paying symbols are represented by playing card suits, all sharing the same return of 0.4x the current bet for a full pay line.
Big Bamboo is yet another modern slot that suffers from the problem of limited wager options, unfortunately. The minimum/maximum bets of €0.10 and €20.00 should be satisfactory for all but the richest of players. Still, with only half a dozen intermediate options between those two extremes, there is a reasonable chance that regular players will struggle to find a wager that suits their style of play.
base game & modifiers
Big Bamboo slot base game
The base game of Big Bamboo takes place on an unusually shaped playfield of five columns of six rows each, for a total of 30 unique symbol positions. The paylines are arranged slightly differently from normal, so it may be necessary to check the paytable to know where winning combinations can occur on the reel set.
mystery bamboo symbols
You shouldn’t have any problem spotting these symbols, as they feature three green bamboo shoots! The mystery symbols identically to those that appear in many other online slots and will all transform into one symbol that is selected randomly from the paytable at the start of each game round.
golden bamboo symbols
This alternate variant of the bamboo symbol looks identical, apart from the fact that the shoots are coloured gold instead of green! At the end of each game round, all visible positions that contain a golden bamboo symbol will spin to select one of the following special prizes:
Instant Prize Symbols
Every instant prize will award a multiple of the current bet from the following values: 1x, 2x, 5, 25x, 50x, 100x, 250x, 500x, 1000x, 2500x, and 5000x.
These special symbols will apply a multiplier to all the instant prize and collector symbols appearing during the current golden bamboo bonus. The possible multiplier values are 2x, 3x, 5x, and 10x.
The collector symbol will gather the value of all visible instant prize symbols and present it as its own instant prize award. This works similarly to the collector symbols in the Money Train games.
gamble scatter Symbols
These alternative scatter symbols allow you to spin the gamble wheel before playing a bonus round.
big bamboo slot bonus features
The main free spin bonus round is triggered by landing three or more of the gamble or regular scatter symbols in the base game or golden bamboo feature.
Before the bonus round begins, a gamble feature will present you with the opportunity to win between four and nine additional free spins. Beware, however, as some segments on the wheel contain the dreaded ‘no prize’ result, which will cause your entire bonus round to be lost.
In this mode, scatter symbols can land on reels two, three, and four or on all five reels if the golden bamboo feature happens to trigger during a free spin. Any gamble scatters that land on the reels will be collected on the low symbol meter.
Two additional symbols are also added to the reels in this mode: the conversion symbol and the additional free spins symbol. One conversion symbol will award four extra free spins, two or three will award three free spins each, and the fourth will add two extra spins. Each converted symbol will also award a multiplier value which is applied to the total win from the bonus round.
bonus buy Feature
The Big Bamboo bonus buy facility includes four options:
99x Bet: Awards 7-9 free spins with no low symbols converted. The RTP for this selection is 96.94% when using the gamble feature or 96.13% without.
179x Bet: Awards 7-9 free spins with two low symbols converted. The RTP for this selection is 96.76% when using the gamble feature or 96.13% without.
608x Bet: Awards 8-10 free spins with four low symbols converted. The RTP for this selection is 96.71%, regardless of whether the gamble feature is used or not.
300x Bet: This is a mystery award that will pick random variables from the prior three options. This equates to a 96.74% RTP when the gamble facility is used or 96.53% in all other circumstances.
The huge jackpot of 50,000x bet.
Interesting free spins feature.
It can be frustrating when you're awarded a lower-value feature, and the gamble instantly loses.
The bonus buy values are high and not for the faint-hearted.
This game has many positive and negative aspects; the feature set can be a little confusing until you have spent a significant amount of time playing the game, and the quality of the symbol artwork leaves much to be desired.
Once I got used to how this machine worked, I began to enjoy it a little more, and there is certainly plenty of potential for big wins. Nevertheless, I still can’t help but feel that this is a bit of a departure in the quality and presentation stakes compared to previous Push Gaming releases.