Buffalo Slot Machine
The original Buffalo slot machine was released by Australian casino gaming manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure in 2008.
Harkening back to the era of America's frontier wilderness, Buffalo by Aristocrat is one of the most recognizable slot machines ever produced. Even if you've never played the game yourself, anybody who has walked through a casino since Buffalo's debut has probably heard the game's unforgettable calling card. The unmistakable cry of a red tailed hawk piercing the air is followed by the rumble of a herd on the move, sounds that echo above the din of normal slot bells and whistles.
Continue reading to learn more, and also find a free version of the game that you can play.
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Buffalo Slot Overview
The background screen for the Buffalo slot is styled in deep purple and violet hues, while a golden sunrise appears in the center. Along with the game's naturalistic soundtrack, this background lends Buffalo a definitive outdoor theme.
Like most Aristocrat slots, Buffalo includes traditional playing card ranks among its reel symbols, so from the first spin on you'll be revolving through the 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A. In addition to those basic symbols, Buffalo includes several realistic animal depictions to complete its woodsy theme. The namesake buffalo symbol shows a huge horned animal staring directly at you. Other animal symbols to look for are the cougar, the elk, the bald eagle, and the wolf.
The other two symbols in play for the Buffalo slot are the sunset silhouette and the gold coin.
Buffalo is also the flagship product of Aristocrat's innovative Xtra Reel Power slot machine line. By abandoning the concept of pay lines altogether, games like Buffalo offer a predetermined number of winning combinations across all four of the five symbol reels in play. This addition by Aristocrat ensures that most spins will result in a winning combination of some sort, but as a result the payouts are typically lower across the board when compared to other titles.
In eight years since its debut the overwhelming popularity of the original Buffalo slot has compelled Aristocrat to release a pair of updated versions. Buffalo Stampede was released in 2013 and Buffalo Grand launched in 2015. Aristocrat also chose to include Buffalo in the company's recent move towards online casino gaming, and an online version of Buffalo slots can be found on most major online casino platforms.
Gameplay Features and Mechanics
One of the first things you'll notice after sitting down to play the Buffalo slot machine is the absence of pay lines, which are usually used to determine winning combinations along the reels.
As an Xtra Reel Power game, Buffalo instead offers a predetermined number of winning combinations which are available to players on each and every spin. In the case of Buffalo, the total number of winning combinations in play is 1,024.
The concept behind Xtra Reel Power games like Buffalo is that anytime matching symbols appear on adjacent reels, a winning pay line is created. Despite the large number of winning combinations in play, the relatively low payout table means Buffalo offers players medium range variance.
Although the Buffalo game by Aristocrat is classified as a penny slot, for all intents and purposes the minimum cost to cover a spin stands at $0.40. You can play for a single penny, but doing so only purchases the first reel and one symbol on the next four reels. The credit cost to cover each reel for a spin on Buffalo breaks down as follows:
- 1 Reel for 1 Credit
- 2 Reels for 5 Credits
- 3 Reels for 10 Credits
- 4 Reels for 20 Credits
- 5 Reels for 40 Credits
By playing for $0.40 per spin, you'll have all 20 symbols on all five reels available to land winning combinations.
The coin range for Buffalo runs from $0.01 to $1.00, so on the other end of the spectrum, high rollers can wager $40.00 per spin when covering all five reels.
Regular players report that Buffalo can also be played with relatively reasonable success with just three reels activated. This is because in Buffalo, scatter symbols remain in play even when they appear on reels you haven't paid for. In other words, players on a limited budget can play for $0.10 per spin to play three reels, rather than $0.40 for five reels, while still keeping all scatter symbols on the screen in play.
Even better, with all scatter symbols in play, low rolling players with only a few reels in play can still activate the bonus round.
Buffalo sports the standard Aristocrat slot machine setup, which means players will see the usual arrangement of wild symbols, free spins, bonus games, and multipliers. The original Buffalo game doesn't offer access to a progressive jackpot, but Buffalo Stampede includes this popular feature. A list of basic specifications for the original Buffalo slot has been included below:
- Wilds: Yes
- Free Spins: Yes
- Multiplier: Yes, for 2x and 3x
- Bonus Game: Yes
- Progressive: No
- Return to Player: 94.85%
The base game for Buffalo offers a payout table that may appear to be quite low at first, but as an Xtra Reel Power game, this is offset by the increased frequency of winning combinations.
The jackpot spin for the Buffalo base game with any amount of reels activated is five buffaloes, which pays out 300 credits. Four buffaloes with all five reels in play are good for a 250 credit reward, three buffaloes pay out 200 credits, and a pair of the title symbols returns 50 credits.
The other symbols in play during Buffalo's base game offer a similar payout scheme when playing all five reels. An arrangement of five bald eagles or five cougars returns a 250 credit payout, while five grey wolves or five elk pays out 150 credits.
When it comes to the card rank symbols, five As or five Ks pays out 140 credits, five Qs or five Js pays out 120 credits, and five 10s or five 9s pays out 100 credits.
Conversely, you can maintain your credit bankroll with low wins by landing three of any 9, 10, J, or Q card rank symbol on the screen to earn 5 credits. Three Ks or As will supplement you with 10 credits. Three elk or three grey wolves returns a 40 credit payout, three cougars or three bald eagles pays out 80 credits, and three buffalo provides an 80 credit boost.
Fitting in with Aristocrat tradition, the wild symbol for Buffalo is the most lucrative symbol in the game. You'll hear a man's voice holler "Buffalo!" every time this symbol appears on the screen, and as a stacked symbol, the buffalo can cover an entire reel on a single spin. In fact, sightings of an entire screen covered in buffalo symbols can even occur, generating enormous jackpot payouts.
The wild symbol for the Buffalo slot during the base game is the sunset symbol. When you see the sunset symbol appear anywhere on the screen, it will automatically substitute for any other symbol except the scatter symbol to create winning combinations.
You'll only see the sunset symbol appear on the second, third, and fourth reels, but because it can substitute as the pivotal and profitable buffalo symbol, this wild can generate some of the game's most sizable payouts. During the free spins round, the wild sunset symbol also adds a multiplier of either 2x or 3x to any winning combination.
The scatter symbol for the Buffalo slot machine is represented by a gold coin. When you see three gold coins anywhere on the screen, even when they're not on adjacent reels, the payout is a modest two credits. However, three or more gold coin scatter symbols in play automatically triggers the free spins bonus round.
Triggering the Bonus Round
Once the free spins bonus round has been triggered, by landing three or more gold scatter symbols, the number of free spins you receive will depend on the number of scatter symbols on the screen. Three scatter symbols rewards you with eight free spins, four scatter symbols provide 15 free spins, and you'll get 20 free spins for landing five scatter symbols.
Players can prolong their free spins bonus round by landing two or more gold coin scatter symbols anywhere on the reels during a free spin. Two gold coin scatter symbols during a free spin means you'll get five more free spins, while five gold coin scatters results in a new allotment of 20 free spins.
During the free spins bonus round sunset wild symbols offer multipliers of either 2x or 3x when appearing on adjacent reels. This means you can enjoy a huge 27x multiplier should you happen to line up three sunset wild symbols at the 3x multiplier on a winning combination.
Buffalo Grand and Buffalo Stampede
The sequels to the original Buffalo slot machine are known as Buffalo Grand and Buffalo Stampede. Each of these games plays very similarly to their predecessor in terms of symbols, set-up, soundtrack, and other fundamental features. A few key differences between the games do exist, however, and these divergences are highlighted below.
Buffalo Grand increases the minimum bet to 75 credits and the maximum bet to 375 credits. The smallest coin credit for Buffalo Grand is a single penny, while the highest is $20.00. The free spin bonus round also gets larger, with up to 50 free spins made available by the appearance of gold coin scatter symbols. Buffalo Grand also includes four linked progressive jackpot levels, and players are provided with a chance to win portions of a larger progressive as well.
Buffalo Stampede is essentially a replica of Buffalo Grand, but Aristocrat spruced things up by including high definition graphics and additional features. The main draw for Buffalo Stampede is the inclusion of expanding reels. This feature adds additional reels to the game when activated, so players can enjoy the additional wins provided by five reels that each contain six symbols.
Aristocrat has been in operation since 1953, and over that time the Australian based company has been a pioneer within the world of casino gaming technology. Beginning with the release of The Clubmaster in 1956, the first slot machine to offer gameplay features like multiline and scattered payouts, Aristocrat has been an industry leader in terms of innovation.
The world's first electronic slots, video slots, five reel slots, and virtual reel slots were all produced by Aristocrat. Among the game computing systems to be designed by Aristocrat over the years were Microstar, the MK Gaming System, the Hyperlink Gaming System, and Jubilee.
Aristocrat has been a publically traded company on Australian Stock Exchange since 1997, and in 2000 the company secured licensure to operate within the world's largest gambling market: Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, the company is licensed by 240 gaming jurisdictions and operates in 90 nations, and although Aristocrat has released hundreds of slot machine titles over the years, Buffalo and its sequels have been installed in thousands of casinos worldwide.
Buffalo is the boilerplate Aristocrat slot machine game, so fans of the company's style and setup will almost surely be satisfied. While the game is actually quite simple in terms of features offered and free spin bonuses available, the majority of low limit players enjoy Buffalo's ability to dial back the amount of reels in play while still retaining their shot at hitting a bonus. Along with its sequels and updates, the original Buffalo slot has become a standard sight in casinos around the world.