Birds of Wonder Slot from High 5
It pays to bird-watch in High 5 Games’ vibrant Birds of Wonder video slots. Released in 2012, Birds of Wonder engages the player with bright, crisp graphics and a buoyant Latin American soundtrack. Big wins set off floating multicolored feathers and flying bird silhouettes. The reels include five columns and four rows, spinning horizontally as opposed to the usual vertical style. The game includes customizable betting methods and a pair of engaging bonus features. It is available for free or paid gaming on desktop platforms.
HOW TO PLAY
Betting is easily adjusted by modifying the “lines” and “per line” fields. 1, 10, 20 or 30 paylines are offered, while the “per line” bet ranges from $0.01 to $10.00. While some editions of Birds of Wonder include a multiplier field, the version I played did not. An additional bet can be made to activate the MultiWayXtra feature, as explained in the Bonus Game section below. The horizontally rotating reels can be spun one play at a time, or triggered for 5 to 25 turns with the Auto Play button.
As with many video slot games, Birds of Wonder’s lowest value payouts come from playing card symbols. In this game, these images include J, Q, K and A, with the latter two being worth more than the former two.
The rest of the symbols follow the game’s theme. Purple and orange feather symbols are worth more than the face cards. The next highest symbol is that of a feeding hummingbird. Next is a dark blue toucan. A rainbow-colored parrot brings the highest payouts.
The game’s wild BIRDS symbol appears on the last four reels, standing in for all symbols except the scatter. The white flower scatter symbol shows up only on the third reel.
Though Birds of Wonder does not include any large or progressive jackpots, it does have a pair of bonus features: the MultiWayXtra bonus bet and the free spin game.
Normally the game has 30 paylines, but if one activates the “+Feature” bet in the “Line” field, the MultiWayXtra feature begins. The total bet is doubled, and an additional 1024 winning possibilities are added.
This does result in more frequent payouts, but on the flip side these winnings are considerably smaller than the payline winnings. Though matching symbols are needed only on consecutive reels, rather than along the playline, at least four symbols are required, rather than the two or three for the regular payouts. Thus the player needs to consider if this bet doubling is actually worthwhile. The good news is the MultiWayXtra feature remains activated during the free spin game.
In order to start up the free spin game, the player needs at least two white flower scatter symbols to appear on the regular game’s third reel. Two scatters wins the player 10 free spins, three scatters gets 15 spins, while four scatters wins 20 spins. The bonus game’s payouts, paylines and MultiWayXtra winnings are the same as those of the regular game, but the bonus reels pack in more wild and scatter symbols. If the player picks up two or more scatters on the third reel, he or she wins more free spins, equal to the original amount won. A maximum of 130 free spins are allowed.
This bonus game appears very infrequently. I picked up only five bonus games when playing more than 500 spins, at one point going more than 200 spins without one. The resulting bonus games produced no major payouts, so I recommend the player keeps his or her expectations in check. The main way to accumulate a large payout during the bonus game is by winning additional free spins.
THE GAMING EXPERIENCE
The lack of large jackpots, big paying bonus features and rarity of the free spin game may be a turnoff to the more aggressive slot players out there. The version of the game I played had a 94.9% theoretical return, which seems to be based on compiling many small wins. After playing more than 500 spins, I remain unconvinced of the value of the MultiWayXtra bet, due to the lack of sizeably-increased payouts.
The good news is there are a lot of ways to win, in both the regular and bonus games. The design looks great and runs quickly. The horizontal spins are a refreshing change of pace after one has played dozens of other slots. One’s bets are also easily managed for aggressive or casual play.
This game should be a big hit for bird lovers and fans of Latin American music. It’s recommended to patient players who don’t mind slowly building winnings with moderate payouts. But Birds of Wonder will appeal less to vigorous gamers looking for big wins.