Buster Hammer Carnival

Buster Hammer Carnival

Buster Hammer Carnival is a new circus-themed slot from Yggdrasil. Buster, our strongman, is back, and this manly mustachio is waiting to smash up more wilds and more wins! It has a free game feature that cleverly amplifies its extra wilds mini feature. Review by Arram Bekarian.
rating Rating
3.25
rating RTP
96.34
rating Paylines
3
rating Volatility
High
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A highly entertaining slot with fun elements coupled with a high win potential.

Leanna Madden

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Leanna Madden

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Buster Hammer Carnival from Reel Play is a 5×5 reel, 3,125 way game and the 2nd in the Buster family. It’s a medium to high volatility slot, with a decent potential win of up to 8,704x in the free games and plenty of action in between. Read on for the full review.

SLOT FEATURES Variable Ante Bet, Wild Replacement, Free Games, Increased Reel Height
RELEASE DATE 11/03/2021
GAME PROVIDER Yggdrasil
SLOT TYPE Video Slot
THEME Circus
REELS, ROWS, PAYLINES 5 Reels, 5 Rows, 3,125 Ways (Main Game)
5 Reels, 8 Rows, 32,768 Ways (Free Games)
BET LEVELS 0.5/12.50
MAXIMUM WIN 8,704x Your Stake
SCATTER SYMBOL Yes – Hammer
WILD SYMBOL Yes – Logo
BONUS GAME Extra Wild Reel Enhancer
FREE SPINS Yes
RESPINS No
MULTIPLIERS No
JACKPOT No
RETURN TO PLAYER Buster Bet Level 1 (50 Credits): 95.970%
Buster Bet Level 2 (75 Credits): 96.061%
Buster Bet Level 3 (100 Credits): 96.338%
VOLATILITY Medium – High
Buster Hammer Carnival slot screenshot of the reels

Features

Buster Hammer Carnival is a very well-balanced game indeed, with some cool slot features and highlights.

Firstly, there is a variable ante bet where players can increase the wild action but, at an added cost*. You can activate wilds on reels 2, 3 and 4, up from the standard reel 3 only. The wild in turn activates the Wild Striker feature, where more wilds are added to the reel where the initial wild landed. More wilds usually equals more wins.

Next, the free games feature enhances the game with up to 8 rows and a whopping 32,768 ways to win. You’ll be happy to hear that the added row height also makes way for up to 8 wilds to be added per reel!

*This feature might not be available to UK players.

WILD STRIKER

When you land a Wild Hammer in a win, Buster smashes the striker. The harder he hits the more wilds he adds to the reel. This is repeated for each reel where a wild has landed. The more reels you activate, the more often this feature hits. You can win up to 5 wilds per reel in the base game and up to 8 in free games.

MIGHTY FREE SPINS FEATURE

You win 10 Free Spins with 3 or more Scattered Logo symbols. During the free spins, the reel height is increased to 8 rows with 32,768 ways to win.

Playability

Gameplay is smooth and intuitive; the features are well balanced and the overall game environment is pleasant. Every image, animation and sound is in the right place, which improves trust. Although it plays well at the lowest Buster Bet (where wilds appear only on reel 3), the game was designed to be played with wilds appearing on reels 2, 3 and 4.

  • WIN HIT 1 in 1.32 spins
  • FEATURE HIT 1 in 140 – 147 spins depending on selected Buster Bet
  • WILD HIT 1 in 10 at highest ante bet (estimated)

Buster Hammer Carnival is very easy for players to learn, having well placed in-game cues. Non-winning symbols dim out and shrink slightly; there is little for you to think about while playing.

Feature wins from the 7 features won during review played over 2 hours ranged from 17x to 75x.

Paytable Review

Symbol hierarchy is intuitive. You’ll quickly notice that the Scatter and Wild are well defined with solid borders. What’s more, the two high tier symbols are circular and floating and the two low tiers are narrower in shape. Plus, six royals finish it off. The top award is 300 coins. But, in a ways game with staked symbols, this 300 coin win can coincide and pay numerous times on a single spin. Plus, add a few staked wilds from the Wild Striker feature and, well, it adds up.

One thing to note; with any ante bet game where the boosted bet is a win frequency enhancement, the number of winning combinations less than the bet is increased. At Buster Bet Level 1, 19 of 30 available prizes pay bet-or-less. On the other hand, at Buster Bet Level 3, there are 25. This just means the game will seem less volatile when you are using the ante bet, as it becomes a little harder to win your bet back. Please note though, having said that, you actually have an increased RTP when you use the ante bet.

Player Profile

This game, sitting towards the higher end of the medium to high volatility range, has enough elements in the base game to appeal to a casual player. If you’re an avid player, it also has a high enough win potential to be interesting. The Wild Striker feature is frequent enough to maintain your curiosity, providing an occasional big win while not being too frequent that it becomes annoying.

Audio

You’ll find that the audio in Buster Hammer Carnival creates a comfortable, pleasant environment. The background tune is well mixed, not overwhelming and does not clash with win tunes and other critical game events. You might not enjoy the reel spin sound so much, as it becomes quite grating after a few minutes of play. It is not a bad sound, it’s just too loud.

The Glory Spin

You can get a maximum win is 8,704x in the free games. What you’re really looking for in both base and free games is the Wild Hammer symbol on reels 2, 3 and 4 in the same spin, which triggers the Wild Striker feature on each reel. This coupled with ‘ways’ pay determination make Buster Hammer Carnival a nice, tidy game to play.

Delights and Surprises

  • The Wild Striker feature pays then pays again. Meaning the initial prize is paid once then, paid again for each wild including the initial after the Wild Striker feature. It could be counted as a pseudo respin feature.
  • You can’t retrigger the free games and, during them, the scatters are removed from the reels. Unfortunate as this may be, it makes sense as the added reel height will significantly increase the retrigger rate, unless dramatic changes are made to the reels. This is a delight as the developer has chosen to maintain the integrity of the reel set rather than compromise playability just to include a retrigger.
  • 5 of a kind wins are relatively frequent, as is the Wild Striker feature. You can repeat 5 of a kind wins a couple of times when the two events occur together.
  • The rising wilds push the existing symbols off the reels. A cool visual reinforcement
  • Wins remain in the win meter just a little into the next spin giving ample time to read the win. An especially cool feature if you’re quick-spinning
  • Minimum win is 3 of a kind. Makes it easier to identify wins especially as there are no win lines.
  • Buster dances to the beat of the music. In production it is difficult to match animation frames to music tempo and, if the developer has gone to these lengths to include such seemingly insignificant detail, then my trust in the integrity of the game is increased.

Observations and Negatives

  • The Wild Striker feature is cool but just a little too slow to play out leaving you clicking spin quickly in the hope of speeding things up.
  • Mathematically, it is likely the 4 symbols above and 4 symbols below the visible wilds are already wilds (but disguised as other symbols), where the game randomly selects how many symbols to switch out.
  • Hitting more than one wild in a single spin is very, very rare, even in free games with added reel height.
  • There are similar elements borrowed from NextGen’s Foxin’ Wins and Foxin’ Wins Again, such as the variable ante bet and bet structure, the feature hit rate and the added wild element. Originality is reduced.
  • The wild symbol hit rate in free games could be improved. Either not enough free games or not enough wilds on the reels in free games.

Conclusion

I love this game and I don’t say that often. A well designed, well choreographed, and well-produced game, worthy of my attention and time. Gameplay is intuitive and the win potential is apparent very early on, only to be boosted as a pleasant surprise once the free games are triggered and the reel height increases. More importantly, it shows me there is potential for a big win in the base game. While many developers often hide their game return in the features, making a harsh feature dependent experience, Reel Play has embraced the base game with its Wild Striker feature and high 5-of-a-kind frequency to give us enough ‘meat’ to chew on while we await a bonus. Most of all, it is fun to play, especially watching Buster dance during a big win!

Buster Hammer Carnival gets 75 Spins out of 100 based on the following ratings.

PLAYABILITY 85
ORIGINALITY 35
BUILD QUALITY 90
MARRIAGE 85
IMMERSION 60
RUN FOR MONEY 80
INTEGRITY 90
TOTAL 74
+10 Years of Experience
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