One of the most emotive scenes in the Disney Classic the Lion King is when a young Simba, trying to perfect his roar in a gorge, is caught in an Ambush created by his evil uncle Scar. Mufasa rushes to his rescue and saves Simba, but Scar sends Mufasa to his death beneath the feet of thousands of Wildebeest.
Without doubt, watching a herd of animals stampede in this manner can be beautiful but it can also be terrifying if you happen to be caught up in it. Now imagine how much more terrifying that would be if it was not a huge herd of Wildebeest running at you, but instead a group of huge elephants.
Fortunately, in Betsoft's new slot Stampede, this roaring group of pachyderms you can enjoy from a safe distance and indeed, you will want the Stampede to occur, given that it precipitates some of the biggest wins available on the slot.
Betsoft have devised this slot as a 5x4 reel game with 1024 ways to win on each spin, although you can play from just $0.80 per spin. Does this new slot from Betsoft Stampede its way to the top of the charts? Let's take a closer look and find out.
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Betsoft have an enviable reputation at developing some fantastic looking and sounding slots and they have excelled themselves once again with the Stampede slot. Set against the backdrop of an African plain, the graphics are quite beautiful, with a purple-hued sky above hazy mountains and in the foreground you can see patchy, parched earth with sparse grasses budding to life. In the distance you can even make out a couple of giraffes and an elephant.
A rather atmospheric soundtrack, complete with African instrument sounds, adds a huge amount to the slot and really transports you to this stunning plain. The main controls for the slot are at the foot of the reels including the chance to alter your coin size and the Bet Level as well as the chance to use Auto Play, Max Bet or Spin buttons to get the reels in action.
What's on the reels?
On the reels of the slot are the usual playing card low symbols, which go from the 10 through to the Ace. You can win between 2 coins up to 100 coins depending on the symbol landed and how many you land consecutively across the reels.
The mid-value symbols on the reels are some of the inhabitants of the plain. The antelope, the giraffe and the zebra all offer wins ranging from 10 coins up to 120 coins.
Higher value symbols are more creatures from the African plains including a rather evil looking vulture, a cheetah and the elephant. These offer win from 50 coins up to 300 coins for landing five of the elephant symbols across the reels.
The elephant symbol can also appear stacked on the reels, covering the entire reel and when this happens, especially if you can land several of these symbols across the reels with other elephant symbols in between (or even all five reels stacked with elephant symbols) this is when you can hit some very big base game wins.
The Wild symbol is easily identifiable as it has the word Wild written across it and it appears across all the reels. It can substitute for any of the low, medium or higher value standard symbols during the base game, but not the Scatter. The Wild is key in the base game to unlocking some of the better value wins. It only appears on the middle three reels however.
During the base game, the Wild does not have a multiplier attached to it for any win, paying out the standard amount, but this does change in the Free Spins bonus round as we will explore below.
Free Spins features
The Scatter symbol in the game is the large Tree symbol set against a sunset and this appears on each of the five reels. To trigger the Free Spins bonus, you need to land at least three Scatters on the reels on a single spin. For each trigger of the Free Spins round you also win a cash prize depending on the number of Scatters landed.
Three Scatters pays 80 coins, plus you get 8 Free Spins. Four Scatters sees 400 coins paid, plus 12 Free Spins, while five Scatters will see 800 coins paid and 20 Free Spins earned.
During your Free Spins, the Wild symbol will have a 2x or 3x multiplier attached to it and this is applied to any winnings you receive from a Free Spin. However, if you land multiple Wilds on the reels, then the multipliers are combined, so if you land three wilds of 3x, 3x and 3x, then this would combine for a 27x multiplier on that win. For the Free Spins bonus round, Wilds will only appear on the middle three reels.
You can trigger additional Free Spins by landing three or more of the Scatter symbols during the bonus spins.
Other bonus features
The other bonus feature of the slot is the Double Up button which you can use on any standard win during the base game. Once you have landed a win you have a choice to press the Double Up button and you can elect to gamble all, 50% of your winnings to try and double the amount you bet. If you win, you collect your extra cash and can choose to gamble again if you so wish. You can gamble as many times as you like on this feature to try and increase a win.
Your bet is simply on whether a coin will land heads or tails on a spin. Obviously if you guess incorrectly, any of the money you wagered is lost. You can click on the Collect button at any point to collect any winnings you have and to return to the base game.
Best feature of the Stampede slot
While the presentation of the slot is stunning, I think the best feature of the game is the Free Spins bonus feature. With the Wilds in this round having a multiplier attached, you can land some sizeable wins if you land more than one of these symbols on a spin and trigger a win, especially with the higher value symbols.
However, the fact that this is a 1024 Ways to Win game rather than one operating on pay lines means that this is a slot that, although it is a medium variance game, it still offers a fair mix of small, medium and high value wins and I think that always makes a slot appealing to a player.
What does the Stampede slot lack?
If there's one element of the slot game that I think is lacking it is the fact that there isn't really a big Stampede feature. I would have loved to have seen the elephants charging down the reels, especially when they land stacked on a single reel, but it doesn't happen and that is a little disappointing in what is otherwise a very enjoyable and playable slot.
Stampede is a beautifully presented slot from Betsoft who are fostering a very good reputation for producing good looking slots and this one is certainly no different. The game-play is enjoyable enough with the Wild and Scatter symbols offering decent bonuses to trigger although I would have liked to have seen more from the Stacked elephant symbols in the form of some kind of Stampede bonus or animation on the reels. That small issue aside, this is a slot which pays out a nice mix of low, medium and higher value wins and will certainly be one you will play time and time again.
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