Buffalo Slots Get the Hold and Spin Bonus Treatment!
I need to confess that I’m a massive fan of the Buffalo slots before starting with this review… I love them all, from the original to Buffalo Gold, Grand and Diamond. Even Buffalo Stampede, which divides opinion, gets a few spins from me.
Each new game gets a slight design refresh. The animals are the same, the sound effects are familiar, and the core of the game play is the same for Buffalo Link. At the same time, the animals are that little bit more detailed, and the general color scheme is darker.
What is brand new is the hold and spin bonus. This was first introduced with the Lightning Link and Dragon Link slots… and has since been adapted by every slot producer in many different ways. Alongside the hold and spin are progressive jackpots. Fill in all 20 spots on the reels, and you win the linked ‘Grand’ progressive.
There is also a new ‘must trigger’ element to the free spins bonus.
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Buffalo Link Slots: How the New Hold and Spin Bonus Works
This game has two different buffalo symbols. The regular ones have the face-on beasts, this time with a yellow behind. The new ones are full sized, slightly side-on. You can’t miss them as they have numbers on them (credits) or words (naming the smaller three jackpots).
Triggering this bonus requires six or more to hit the reels. The reels are bigger, a 5x4 setup, compared to the Lightning Link games. This leaves that bit more room to hit them and gives you more slots to fill when the feature starts.
If you know the Lightning / Dragon link slots, you will know the drill from here. You get three spins with only special symbols or blanks landing. Each time you hit a new buffalo; your spins reset to three. Miss three times in a row, and your total is counted (with excellent flaming effects) and the bonus ends.
You can hit mini, minor and major jackpots with individual buffalo symbols. If you manage to fill the reels with symbols, the Grand jackpot is added on top.
Free Spins Bonus with Multiplier Wilds and Must Trigger Option
This part of Buffalo Link slots works just like on the rest of the range. You need a minimum of three gold coins to trigger it. That gets you 8 free spins, with 12 or 25 spins for four or five triggering symbols. Any time you get two coins during the bonus, you get 5 extra spins (or 8+ for 3+).
There is a second way to trigger the bonus. Above the reels is a counter, which totals the number of buffalo symbols appearing anywhere on the reels. When you hit 1800, the free spins bonus is triggered. This adds a strategy element – if you see a game with only a few more symbols needed for free spins, that is the one to pick.
There are two differences during the free spins bonus. First, there are more buffalo symbols on the reels which will boost your chances of bigger wins. Second, the wilds that appear on the middle reels now have multiplier of 2x or 3x. They work together, potentially giving you 27x on your wins.
Buffalo Link Slots: How Big are the Jackpots?
The size of the smaller fixed level jackpots depends on your coin size (denomination). At 1c they are $10 for the mini and $20 for the minor, going up to $100 / $500 if you are spinning for 10c denom.
Major jackpots are between $500 and $1000, these jackpots are progressive and do not change with your denomination. The biggest (Grand) jackpot will be linked between all the Buffalo Link slots in a casino. This prize starts at $10,000 and goes up until it is won.
Along with the must-trigger free spins after 1800 buffalo symbols, the size of the major can be used to choose a machine there are multiple games open.
Winning Combinations and All-Ways Setup
With a 5-reel, 4 row setup, Buffalo Link has 1024 possible winning combinations from left to right. This is an all-ways game, with the same symbol needing to appear on three+ reels from the left without any full-reel gaps. Buffalo symbols only need to be on the first two reels to create wins.
Wilds do not make wins on their own. They are super-useful in the all-ways setup, often combining several different 3, 4 or even 5 of a kind wins. Multipliers appear on them in the free spins only. Stacked symbols can mean multiple hits from the same spin.
The same animals as the older Buffalo slots are used as the high paying symbols. You get an eagle, wolf, cougar and an elk. Bright playing card letter symbols are used for smaller hits.
Buffalo Link Slots: Darker, Richer Designs
While you will instantly see that Buffalo Link is part of the classic Aristocrat range, the design is distinctive. The colors are deeper and richer than on most other games. There are flame effects too. These come into their own when you hit the hold and spin bonus. Arrows shoot from the symbols to count your wins.
Animals have the same look and similar animations to the likes of Buffalo Grand. The designs are new, with more realistic movement and sound effects. Of course, Aristocrat kept the iconic shout of ‘Buffalooooo’ when you win with those high paying symbols.
How Does Buffalo Link Compare to the Other Buffalo Slots?
I love this game. The hold and spin and progressive jackpots, add an element to the Buffalo range which works brilliantly. It adds some excitement, and big win potential, while keeping the solid main game and familiar free spins bonus in play.
For me, this has every shot at replacing Buffalo Gold and Buffalo Grand as the go-to game. Sure, there have been other entertaining titles, though Chief, Lightning, Stampede and Xtreme are good – they don’t have the huge appeal of Gold and Grand. I think Buffalo Link will go on to match those games… though of course, only time will tell!
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