Thundering Buffalo is a slot from High 5 Games that blends animal and tribal themes. Released in 2011, this game pays homage to the rare white buffalo, which is considered sacred among Native American tribes.
Thundering Buffalo is far from a generic game about bison. It takes on cultural significance, which is reflected in the music and symbols. High 5 does a good job of balancing out the deep theme with enough features for casual slots fans who are looking for quick entertainment.
|Game manufacturer:||High 5 Games|
|Number of paylines:||720 ways|
|Game theme:||Animal, tribal|
|Maximum standard win:||$10,000|
Theme and visuals overview
Thundering Buffalo has a strange feel due to its contrasting symbols and background. The symbols are colorful and realistic depictions of bison and Native American cultural objects. The background, however, is a real wilderness setting that looks like it comes from a 1960s wilderness guide. This muted picture doesn’t mesh well with the colorful symbols.
You won’t see many animations after wins. However, this game features one exciting animation, where the buffalo charges at the screen when you earn a large payout. The creature dissipates as it runs towards you and gives way to gold coins spraying across the screen.
Thundering Buffalo doesn’t feature a consistent soundtrack, but tribal drums, whistling winds, and galloping bison sounds play whenever you spin the reels. This combination, which lasts for several seconds after each spin, goes nicely with the theme.
Symbols include a white buffalo, shrine, wigwam, fire, wild icon, free-spins icon, A, K, Q, J, and 10. The white buffalo, fire, shrine, and wigwam all feature plenty of detail and color.
Betting options and paying combinations
Thundering Buffalo is a 720-ways slot. The minimum wager is $0.50, which activates all 720 ways to win. However, for betting purposes, this game is like a 50-line slot.
Here’s an example to illustrate this:
- You bet $0.50, which is like wagering one cent per line.
- You hit three shrines in adjacent reels.
- This win is worth 25 credits.
- 25 x 0.01 = $0.25 payout
Your total bet size can be adjusted using the “multiplier” option. The multiplier value differs based on whether you’re playing for free or real money. It ranges from 1x ($0.50) to 400x ($200) in free mode, and from 1x to 1,000x ($500) in real-money play.
The multiplier enhances all line wins by the respective value it’s set on. Here’s an example:
- You use a 100x multiplier ($50).
- You score a win with three wigwams, which is worth 20 credits ($0.20).
- 20 x 100 = 2,000 credits ($20).
We appreciate the large multiplier range. However, we’re disappointed by the lack of options in other areas. Thundering Buffalo doesn’t include autoplay, which is used to keep the reels spinning automatically. All the game offers is the ability to turn the sound on and off.
The return-to-player (RTP) is 94.9%, which is below average industry standards. The white buffalo offers the game’s top payout at 1,000 credits for five symbols. This prize awards you 1 million coins ($10,000) on a 1,000x-multiplier bet.
What jackpots does Thundering Buffalo offer?
Thundering Buffalo doesn’t feature a standard jackpot. You can earn up to 1 million credits ($10k) by hitting five white-buffalo icons in adjacent reels. However, you must also use the maximum 1,000x multiplier to attain this win. Considering that it costs $500 to play, you’ll be spending a lot to go for the highest payouts.
Additional features and bonus rounds
This game doesn’t feature the biggest payouts. However, it gives you the potential to earn up to 240 free spins and large scatter prizes.
1. Wild symbol
The wild icon only appears on reels two, three, and four. It substitutes for every symbol except the fire and free-spins icons. It can also appear as a stacked wild, thus increasing the odds of collecting bigger wins. This symbol doesn’t offer any payouts on its own.
2. Scatter symbol
The fire icon offers scatter payouts that are multiplied by your total bet. Here’s how these scatter prizes break down:
- 3-4 symbols anywhere on the reels = 2x
- 5 symbols anywhere on the reels = 10x
- 5 symbols on five consecutive reels = 50x
3. Free spins
Landing five free-spins icons in consecutive reels triggers the bonus. We find it restrictive that you need five symbols in consecutive reels. After all, many slots only require three scatters anywhere on the reels for free spins.
You receive eight free spins to start with and can earn up to 240 by retriggering this feature repeatedly. Note that you receive a 50x scatter payout before the bonus round begins.
Who is this game ideal for?
Thundering Buffalo is an excellent choice for anybody who’s looking for an interesting theme and unique reel format. Those who haven’t played on a 3-4-5-4-3 grid with 720 ways should be intrigued. This slot will also be appreciated by players who enjoy great symbol artwork and entertaining sound effects.
Anybody who wants to play cheap online slots with large prizes should stay away from this one. Thundering Buffalo requires a $0.50 minimum wager and only offers a top payout of 1,000 credits. Additionally, players must use the 1,000x multiplier ($500) for a chance at any notable prizes.
Other similar games from High 5
A couple of similar-styled slots from High 5 are Bear Mountain and Thundering Buffalo: Golden Stampede. Bear Mountain has a lot of aspects in common with Thundering Buffalo, including a realistic background, tribal angle, and the wild animal theme.
Thundering Buffalo: Golden Stampede is a sequel that was released in 2017. While the graphics and overall theme remain similar, Golden Stampede differentiates itself from its predecessor in a couple of ways. It offers split symbols and 243 ways, with the latter being a departure from the original’s 720 ways.
Nice symbols: The buffalo, shrine, fire, and wigwam all feature plenty of detail and vibrant colors. These symbols are part of the reason why Thundering Buffalo remains relevant today.
Solid features: Wild symbols, stacked wilds, scatters, and free spins offer enough extras to keep players entertained.
720 ways: It’s always exciting to have 720 different possibilities of winning. The 3-4-5-4-3 setup is an added bonus that presents something different from the standard 5×3 grid.
No jackpot: This game doesn’t offer a jackpot or any other significant prizes. Hitting a 50x scatter or getting five white buffalos (1,000 credits) on a 1,000x multiplier wager are the only ways to win big.
Few options: The multiplier and ability to toggle the sound on and off are the lone options in this game.
Boring background: The old-looking background meshes poorly with the colorful symbols. No game released in the 2010s should feature such a setting.
- Graphics and design – 2/5: Some of the symbols look good, while others are merely average – like the wild icon, free-spins icon, and letters. The background drags the rating down due to its aged appearance and poor contrast with the symbols.
- Sound effects – 3.5/5: Thundering Buffalo doesn’t feature consistent music or great sound-effect variety. However, the tune that plays when the reels spin is pleasing, offering a perfect mixture of tribal music and animal sounds.
- Jackpot value – 1/5: There is no jackpot to speak of. The only way to win big is by using one of the larger bet multipliers. Of course, risking between $100 (200x) and $500 (1,000x) can put your bankroll in serious jeopardy.
- Replay value – 3/5: This slot is worth trying 1-2 times for the theme alone. It presents a unique take on Native Americans’ worship of the white buffalo. The 720 ways also add excitement by giving you numerous possibilities. On the downside, you may need to break the bank just to play for serious payouts.