Buffalo is without a doubt one of the most loved and played slot machines ever, especially the classic version that’s found in almost all casinos and gambling rooms across the US.
It wasn’t until 2012, however, that Aristocrat produced the online version of Buffalo slot machines. And it also became an instant hit with newbie and seasoned slot players alike.
Buffalo slot machines boast some of the best graphics, rich gameplay, and plenty of ways to bet and win. In fact, it was one of the first slot machines to ditch the old 243-way reel betting system for the robust Xtra Reel Power system.
Today, there are a ton of fabulous versions of Buffalo slot machines to play at an online or land-based casino, including Buffalo Grand, Buffalo Stampede, Buffalo Gold, and the spanking new Diamond edition.
With a fresh look & feel, the slot is more popular than ever and has certainly made a name for the Australian gaming software developer.
What makes Buffalo slot machines stand out and so popular? More importantly, is playing the slot game worth your time and money?
For all the answers and more, please read this top-down review of Buffalo slot machines.
Buffalo Slot Machines: an Iconic Slot That Continues to Push the Envelope
You don’t need to look far and hard to realize that Buffalo is hands down the most popular slot machine in the United States. Walk into any Vegas casino, and you’d be surprised to find a row of Buffalo slot machines fully occupied by satisfied players.
Even in the online casino realm, a lot is going for the slot. It has cut a niche for itself in the past six or so years, eclipsing other wildly successful slots like Mega Moolah, Hall of Gods, Starburst, and Wheel of Fortune when it comes to player numbers and online casinos that carry it.
Whether you are in the UK, Australia, Canada or here in the US, you will have no trouble finding a Buffalo slot machine in a land-based casino. If you are a Las Vegas fanatic, head over to Harrah’s Hotel & Casino, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of machines right at the heart of the slot room.
Buffalo Slot Machines Review: Symbols and Gameplay
At the core, Buffalo is a standard five-reel video slot machine featuring 4 rows populated by up to 1024 betways or ways to pay.
All winning combinations pay from the leftmost end towards the right and are paid as multipliers of the wager on a per reel basis.
The exception is Scatter wins which are paid as a multiple of the total wager and are paid in any combination. The slot features scatter symbols, wild symbols, and other special bonus features, helping keep the play interesting as well as rewarding.
The Scatter symbol is represented by a Gold Liberty coin in the Buffalo slot game. The Free Spins bonus feature is activated when 3 or more Scatter symbols appear anywhere on the board. They pay as follows:
- Five (5) of a kind pays 20x the total wager
- Four (4) of a kind pays 10x the total wager
- Two (2) of a kind pays twice the total bet.
Buffalo slot games come with non-stacked Wilds. The Wilds are depicted by the Sunset symbol which can land only on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th reels. When it appears on any of these reels, the Sunset (Wild) symbol can substitute for all other symbols except for Scatters.
When the Wild symbol substitutes for other symbols on the reels, the Sunset symbol shines bright or glistens before replacing them on the tiles. As such, every Wild count toward the winning combo.
No Pay Lines!
This is perhaps what makes Buffalo a stand-out slot game.
Unlike most video slots, Buffalo slot machines don’t feature pay lines. Instead, they employ the Reel Power betting system, the latest creation by Aristocrat. This not only adds some sizzle to the game but also builds trust, which means you don’t have to worry about if the slot game is rigged.
Instead of activating pay lines with credit/money, you can buy positions or tiles in the playing area represented by 5 reels by 4 rows in five levels. In other words, the first four Reel Power levels buy one to four reels, beginning from the screen’s left side, as well as all positions/tiles on the third row.
With that in mind, instead of wagering on a per-line basis as with many slot games, with Buffalo you bet per reel. Moreover, there is a wager multiplier associated with each of the five reels.
Other Key Symbols
Again, Buffalo slot boasts five classic reels, each with 4 spaces that can deliver more than a thousand betting ways. The reels can be filled with any of the 13 different symbols, with every symbol having its paytable.
The low value symbols are the standard playing card ranks, starting from nine through Ace — i.e. 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A.
The Ace is unsurprisingly the most important of the card symbols. It’s represented by a green gemstone emblazoned with a red-colored letter A. Three of a kind pays 10x wager per reel, four of a kind pays 50x, while five of a kind pays 100x the bet per reel.
The King is represented by an orange letter K. Three of a kind pays 10x wager per reel, four of a kind pays 50x, while five of a kind pays 100x the bet per reel.
The Queen is depicted by the letter Q in yellow. Three of a kind pays 5x wager per reel, four of a kind pays 20x, while five of a kind pays 100x the bet per reel.
The Jack is represented by the letter J in blue. Three of a kind pays 5x wager per reel, four of a kind pays 20x, while five of a kind pays 100x the bet per reel.
The Ten is depicted by number 10 in red. Three of a kind pays 5x wager per reel, four of a kind pays 10x, while five of a kind pays 100x the bet per reel.
The Nine is represented by the number 9 in green. Two of a kind pays 2x per bet on the reel, three of a kind pays 5x wager per reel, four of a kind pays 10x, while five of a kind pays 100x the bet per reel.
Apart from the two special symbols mentioned above (Scatters and Wilds), the remaining 5 are animal symbols, namely: the Buffalo, the Puma, the Eagle, the Elk, and the Wolf.
The Buffalo (actually American Bison) is the only stacked symbol, and the highest paying, for that matter. When two of a kind appear, it pays 10x the wager per reel. Similarly, three of a kind pays 50x, four of a kind pays 100x, and full house (five of a kind) pays 300x bet per reel.
The Puma and the Eagle (Bald eagle, to be precise) are the next most valuable symbols on the Buffalo slot game. They pay similarly, with three of a kind paying 50x your bet per reel, while 4 of a kind and 5 of a kind pay 100x and 150x your bet per reel respectively.
Both the Elk and the Wolf pay 20x your wager per reel for three of a kind, while four of a kind and five of a kind pay 80x and 120x your wager per reel respectively.
The Free Spins Bonus Game
The bonus rounds add to the excitement of playing Buffalo slot machines, which is why it is one of the best slots in Las Vegas.
The Free Spins bonus game is triggered when 3 or more Scatters appear on any place on the screen, including non-purchased tiles/positions. The number of free spins you receive will depend on the number of Scatter symbols that appear on the reels.
You will get 8 free spins for 3 Scatters, 15 free games for 4 Scatters, and a whopping 20 free spins for 5 Scatters.
The good news is that you can receive additional free games when you’re playing the bonus round with free spins. For instance, you will get 5 free spins when a set of two Scatters appear concurrently on the screen during the bonus game.
But that isn’t all. All free spin winnings are increased twofold or threefold by the Wild symbol appearing anywhere on the screen. This is purely random, and the multiplier is shown on the board.
On the overall, the total win per spin can be multiplied during the bonus game up to 27x.
Popular Versions of Buffalo Slot Machines
What we love about Aristocrat is that every Buffalo version they release becomes a huge hit. These new variants are more robust and offer more rewarding features than the last, all while retaining the best features and bonuses.
The classic Buffalo slot machines were replaced by deluxe version. It was very similar to the original, except for the fact that you’d pick the multiplier of the Buffalo symbols. This choice game with a small catch.
If you choose a larger multiplier (the highest was 5x), then you receive fewer free spins in case you activate the bonus game.
The Stampede version came right after the deluxe edition. It came with portrait screen, and it felt a bit fresh with Buffalos running up the screen. Aristocrat followed this version with the two most popular versions — the Buffalo Grand and Buffalo Gold slots.
The two came with bigger screen real estate, new bonus games, and more innovative features such as spinning wheels. The latest iteration is the Diamond edition which is one of the most exciting and innovative versions yet.
Let’s take a closer look at each popular version.
(a) Buffalo Stampede Slot Machines
This version came right after the deluxe edition. From afar to a newbie player, it looked very similar to the original version. For instance, it integrated all the attractive features of the original slot, including the Wilds, Scatters, and Bonus game.
Buffalo Stampede was and is still unmistakably fun and rewarding to play. However, it comes with a tiny price: it’s not exactly cheap to play, with a 70-cent minimum bet per spin.
Perhaps the most prominent new addition was the animation of the Buffalo symbol that seems to charge straight at you on the screen. It also waved the lasso on the screen, making the slot quite exciting.
The buffalos also appeared from the bottom on the stampede, running up across the screen. Their move upwards elongated the screen, increasing the number of rows. This implied that you could win on a far higher number of paylines during the Buffalo stampede.
Much akin to the original version, the Buffalo Stampede games offer the player an opportunity to re-activate the free spins bonus game. That is because you only require 2 bonus symbols to re-activate the game, including Scatters and Wilds.
(b) Buffalo Gold
Just like the original version, Buffalo Gold is an All Ways slot with Scatters and Wild symbols. Unlike the Stampede and deluxe versions that are relatively expensive, however, you can spin the Buffalo Gold slot machine with just 40 cents per spin.
Plus, you can garner massive wins during the bonus game. In fact, it is not uncommon for some players to rake in up to $4,000 or more when playing Buffalo Gold bonus round.
Whereas the classic edition provides you with a standard free spins bonus game, the Buffalo Gold version gives you a collection bonus game. What that means is that you can collect Gold Buffalo coins that will convert symbols into jackpot symbols for the rest of the bonus game, increasing your chances of winning by a huge margin.
To win the maximum payout, you will have to land all of the 15 golden Buffalos. When this happens, you can hit one of the biggest jackpot payouts. And the best part is that the bets can usually be adjusted so it won’t cost you a fortune.
Another advantage of playing Buffalo Gold slot is that it comes with a very commendable RTP. That implies that you can get plenty of playtime out of the game even if you have a small to medium bankroll.
It is worth noting that, while Buffalo Gold is generally a generous slot, it occasionally goes through sporadic spells where there are no free spins triggered or decent wins made. This is where you patience can pay handsomely.
(c) Buffalo Grand Slot Machines
The Grand is perhaps the most enjoyable version of all Buffalo slot machines out there. It offers plenty of entertainment, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into value for money.
From experience, it looks like the Grand favors high-roller players who bet more money per spin. This is because the jackpot can only be triggered when you have wagered the maximum bet, which is totally different from the gameplay of Buffalo Gold and Stampede.
The bottom line is that if you are a low-stakes slot player, you can expect to deal with lower payouts, which means you will most probably run through your bankroll a lot quicker.
On a more positive note, the Grand lives up to its hype when it comes to fabulous graphics, and high-stakes players have a bigger chance of landing huge payouts.
In a nutshell, the Grand is not for small-time slot players who’d like to turn their pennies into gold. It’s for high rollers who want to get value for their status of play.
Another upside of this version is that the screen is so big, housing a lot more paylines than the previous edition. This multiplies your probability of landing a decent win, even if you are playing a minimum bet. Unfortunately, that also means it can guzzle up your entire bankroll in a few spins.
(d) Additional Versions
Aristocrat has released numerous other successful and not-so-successful versions in between and after the three editions mentioned above.
For example, one highly popular version allows the player to pick the volatility of the game. Interestingly, you can find versions with different math in different countries, casinos or areas of the country.
Buffalo Max is a version designed for high-roller players. It’s meant to reward players who play more, but it doesn’t seem to have any traction with its target audience. Perhaps, gamblers have given it a cold shoulder for punishing them for wagering 40 cents rather than playing the max bet of $4.
The latest version released by Aristocrat is the Diamond edition as part of its tenth anniversary. The slot machine is what it seems to be – it has a honeycomb feel and look to the reels, and boasts 4K display to boot.
Buffalo Slot Machines Review: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Are Buffalo Slot Machines Penny Slots?
No, you will not be able to play Buffalo slot machines with a penny per spin. However, the slot machine has been designed similarly as a penny slot. That might be the reason why most people keep thinking it is a penny slot. If you want to learn more about this topic, here is a handy guide to penny slots.
Who Designs and Makes Buffalo Slot Machines?
From the original to the Diamond Edition, all Buffalo slot machines were designed and produced by Aristocrat, one of the best providers of slot machines and games for the US casino industry.
Where can I Play Buffalo Slots?
The allure of Buffalo slot machines is that they are so popular with players and casinos that they are found virtually everywhere. In Vegas, you can find them at hotel lobbies and of course on casino slot floors. Flamingo Casino or Harrah’s Hotel are some of the greatest venues.
Online is where the action is as far as Buffalo slot games are concerned. Here, you can try out every version to figure out which one is best for your style of play and bankroll.
Major gambling sites like Slots lv (you can read our comprehensive Slots lv review here) offer several versions of the game.
Are Buffalo Slot Machines Rigged?
To the best of our knowledge and experience, we have found Buffalo slot machines to be credible and trustworthy. If you want to learn more about how to choose a safe and reputable slot, please read this article that explains all about slot rigging.