Aristocrat’s Extra Bonus Wilds Feature
Rather than being a slot game, extra bonus wilds is a new feature from slot maker Aristocrat which will be used in many of their live casino games in the coming years. As the name suggests this feature involves lots of additional wild symbols – which will substitute for whatever symbols are needed on the reels to create the maximum number of wins.
At the time of writing this feature has been showcased on a slot called Eagle Pays. I will use this as an example to explain how the Extra Bonus Wilds system works. This is a great way of randomly assigning extra wins, and it is even possible to get the entire grid of the reels covered in wild symbols from it.
How You’ll Win with Extra Bonus Wilds
The basic idea is that you’ll be spinning a slot as usual, and extra wilds will somehow appear on the screen. In the Eagle Pays slot this starts out as a flash of light from the bottom of the reels, which then ‘wakes up’ eagles on the top screen of the cabinet. Those eagles then swoop down over the reels, flying directly across them from the right to the left. As they fly wilds get dropped. These are eagles in golden circles in this particular game – though I am sure that we will see this adapted to many themes over time.
Once the wilds have settled into place the reels spin, and you can end up with a lot of wins at once. It is possible to get up to 15 of these wilds at once, which would cover the entire 5×3 grid – giving you maximum wins on every possible line. I am unsure of whether the extra bonus wilds system will be used in conjunction with reel power (all-ways) slots. If this is the case then 15 wilds on a 5×3 format would mean 243 maximum wins at once!
There is a difference to how the Extra Bonus Wilds will behave depending on whether you have paid for a spin (a regular spin) or whether it is a free spin. During paid for spins, if you do not manage to hit a win, then the wilds will lock into place and the remaining symbols will spin once again. While this does not guarantee a win, it will at least give you a better chance of hitting one. During a free spins session there are more wilds allocated, though you do not get the respin after no-win feature.
Special Wilds in Stars
Among the regular Extra Bonus Wilds, you will find some which have stars around them (with the head of an eagle in the example game I am using). These have special properties and will make even more wilds come into place after the spin of the reels is completed. The effect is pretty much the same as the initial wilds drop, with eagles flying across the screen and dropping additional (circle) wilds into place. Wins are then recalculated, and with many more wilds there is a chance of some big windfalls.
How do Extra Bonus Wilds Compare with Other Aristocrat Wild Features?
This is certainly an innovative idea, with the chance of a full screen of wilds bound to be a big attraction. Extra Bonus Wilds are not directly compatible with the multiplier wilds which Aristocrat use for many of their popular slots (including those in the famous Buffalo range). Common features have 2 wilds, each assigned a multiplier during the free spins game – which work together to award the bigger wins. Adding the bonus wilds might sound like a good idea from the player’s perspective, though it would not make for a viable slot game…
With so many wilds in play, I would also assume that the bonus wilds will never be compatible with expanding wild systems or scatters. While this is an innovative new idea, it should be seen as a replacement for the older methods – rather than an addition.
I am looking forward to seeing the Extra Bonus Wilds system introduced to some new titles in upcoming live casino slots from Aristocrat. These add a lot of interest to the game, and are frequent enough to keep you engaged too. The addition of the respin (for regular play) and star wilds (during free spins) adds some depth to this feature too.