Wild Gambler

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The popularity of African wildlife has spawned many online games, but perhaps none is wilder than “Wild Gambler, The Slot for Big Game Punters.” Developed by Ash Gaming, a Playtech company, it is a 5-reel, 20-payline slot available at Bet365, William Hill and other Playtech affiliated casinos. It is one of the first slot games to allow the player to preselect positions for wild symbols and lock them in place. In fact, it is possible (though not advisable) to lock every one of the 15 reel positions as a recurring wild.

The game opens with a short introduction that highlights the special “Lock & Spin” feature. When the slot window opens, birds, insects and other animals can be heard in the background. The reels appear to be mounted on a leather hide stretched out on a frame of wood lashed together with rope. Behind it is a savanna and at the bottom of the screen are game controls.

To begin, the player must choose the amount to wager per line by using the up/down toggles located under the “Line Stake” indicator just below the second and third reels. It is not necessary to select which lines to play on Wild Gambler. All 20 lines are always active. The total amount of the wager will show in the “Stake” counter, which can be found beneath the fourth reel.

To set the reels in motion, click on the rock marked “Spin.” When the five reels come to rest, any winning combinations will be highlighted with a colored frame, while the symbols that are not part of the win will fade to a sepia tone. The values of the line wins and the corresponding line numbers are displayed in the “Win” counter below the first reel, while the “Total Win” indicator show the full amount paid out. Funds available can be seen in the “Balance” counter at the very top of the screen above the Wild Gambler logo.

The basic symbols on the reels are the standard cards, Tens through Aces. Catching three or more of them matching on a payline is worth from 5X to 100X. Higher payouts come from matching three or more Flamingo, Zebra, Leopard or Rhino symbols, valued at 80X to 800X. The Lion symbol is wild. It substitutes for any of the other symbols and pays 1000X if five Lions in a row occur.

There are two ways to lock a Lion wild symbol in place on the reels. During the course of spins, if any Lions appear, clicking on the “Lock & Spin” rock at the lower right corner of the screen below the fifth reel will “cage” them so that they remain in place for the next spin. Alternatively, clicking on any reel position will change the existing symbol into a Lion, which can be caged by using the same method. There is no limit on how many of the reel positions can be frozen in place with wild symbols.

There is, of course, a catch. An additional cost is added to the total stake for each Lion that is locked up. How much the caging costs depends on its position on the reels. Lions caged on the first two reels cost more than those on the forth or fifth. Also, Lions caged in the middle position of a reel cost more than those located at the top. Although it is possible to cage up to 15 Lions at once, the cost is prohibitive and no winning combinations would cover it.

Another special feature of Wild Gambler is its random Free Spins Bonus. This is triggered whenever five Meercats pop up at the bottom of the reels holding letters that spell out “BONUS.” The prize id eight free spins with all Lions locked in place free of charge, regardless of whether they already appeared on the reels before the bonus was awarded or if they show up during the course of the free spins.

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