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African Big 5 Pokies

Themed around African wildlife, the African Big 5 poker machine can be found at casinos worldwide, where its combination of great images and an exciting bonus feature have made it a substantial hit. It’s also a nice straightforward game, where everything happens in a logical order and there’s none of the flashing reels, random prizes, over-done animations and so on that can look somewhat bewildering to those unused to pokies.

Having said that, it also has enough features and winning potential to attract experienced players, so let’s head over to the reels and see how it all works.

Playing African Big 5

The name comes from the Big 5 animals that people try to see on safari holidays, namely the elephant, rhino, giraffe, lion and buffalo, although some people add in things like hippos, zebras and so on. But the general idea is clear, and game developer Aristocrat have decided on rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lions and leopards to be the stars of the show.

These animals are arranged over 5 reels, in 4 rows of symbols and across 50 paylines, meaning any time players land matching symbols across any line, on adjacent reels running form the left side, they will win a prize.

The amount won depends on which symbols stop in the right places and like many Aristocrat pokies, the playing card symbols 9, 10, J, Q, K and A will prominently feature, as these pay out the smaller, but more regular wins.

Landing the animal symbols is what players will really want to see though, and as these big beasties can be stacked several high, the chances of landing any of them across a payline is significantly boosted.

Each time they make up a winning line, there’s a nice little animation to accompany the payout, which just adds to the appeal of this game.


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African Big 5

African Big 5
5 1 1 5 African Big 5
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Bonus Features

A couple of extra symbols will help players to score more wins, and although there’s nothing radical about how they work, they follow tried and tested formats which are easy to understand and popular, so they are welcome additions to African Big 5.

First up is a wild symbol, represented by a big diamond, that may have nothing to do with the theme of African wildlife, but as it can substitute for other symbols to complete extra winning lines, it can be whatever shape it wants to be.

The wild will only land on reels 2 through to 5 however, so it can’t complete a line on its own, unless the golden mask symbol lands on reel 1, when it can turn into an extra wild.

Landing at least 3 images of a tree with a sunset behind it on reels 1, 2 and 3 will trigger the main free spins bonus game. Before the spins begin however, each of the tree symbols will display a number from 1 to 10. These are added together to give the number of free spins that will then play out, and as it’s possible to have this symbol stacked across a reel, and there’s the potential to land it across all 5 reels, the perfect scenario would see 200 free spins awarded.

That’s only going to happen in exceptional circumstances though, and at the other extreme, it’s possible to get just 3 free games, but generally, players will get something in between. No matter how many free spins are awarded, there will be extra golden masks added to the reels throughout them, giving a greater potential for some nice winning line-ups.

The Verdict

African Big 5 is one of many pokies with a similar theme, and game developers keep coming out with more of them, because it’s what the players want to see. This particular game is very well designed, although perhaps the playing card symbols could have been replaced with even more animals, or even just other classic symbols of Africa, but it still manages to look good.

Wins from these symbols come pretty frequently though, and as the animals can be stacked on reels, these bring in quite a few prizes as well, with a high return on wagers being standard across the Aristocrat range.

The bonus round is potentially very rewarding as well, and while 200 spins isn’t very likely, triggering 20 or so is perfectly easy to do and with those extra mask symbols in play throughout them, the odds of landing lots of wins is substantially increased.

African Big 5 is a nice pokie that’s not going to overwhelm new players, so it’s not surprising that so many people head for it at the many casinos which carry the range from this popular Australian games developer.

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