Wed, Jul 10, 8:00pm by Ethan Anderson
Last Updated Mon, Oct 7, 11:12pm
While many middle eastern cities have bazaars – the famous one in Istanbul has the title of Grand Bazaar. If you visit, you are in for an intense experience, with 100’s of stallholders trying to sell you spices, jewels and souvenirs. Grand Bazaar pokies from Ainsworth takes this idea and turns it into a unique gambling experience. You’ll find jewels, tea, gold and shoes with long curled up toes on the reels.
Free spins are certainly worth hitting in this slot. While many games have sticky wilds or multipliers, this game combines the two. There are must-win progressive jackpots on the live casino version of Grand Bazaar. These don’t appear on the online version. Here are the highlights:
Bonus symbols show a pair of cupped hands, full of gems and gold. When you get 3 or more, they will shake the contents – as if displaying the gems for you to buy. Instead, you get 8 free spins. Middle eastern style music plays, and some interesting extras get added to the game.
First, any wilds which appear on reels 2 through 4 become sticky. The spots on the reels will remain wild for your remaining spins. This is always a welcome feature. If you get several of these early in the bonus games, you can trigger a long sequence of wins. Retriggers become extra valuable when sticky wilds are in play – with the hand symbols also turning into sticky wilds.
Better still, wilds on the middle reel get win multipliers during the free spins bonus. This can be up to 3x. When these work with the sticky wilds to multiply wins over several win-lines, you can be in for some big line hits!
Online versions of Grand Bazaar don’t have jackpots. If you are enjoying this game in a live casino, then two random progressives are included. These are the ‘must win’ versions, which set a limit to the size of the prize. For example, if a jackpot has a must win of $400, it has to pay before hitting this figure. If it gets close, you’ll find a lot more interest in the game than usual!
You can select the number of win-lines to spin for Grand Bazaar. I recommend sticking to the full 50. This makes the maximum use of that combination of sticky and multiplier wilds during the free spins bonus. Bets are from 1c a line and up.
Wilds are in play. These show the logo of the game, in traditional writing. They appear on reels 2 through 5 and can be stacked in both the free spins bonus and the base game. Wilds will substitute for everything except for the ‘hands’ bonus symbols.
Most of the other high paying symbols show items which you could buy in the bazaar. They include an interesting teapot, lanterns, a pearl necklace and a musical instrument which looks like a stubby guitar. With so many exotic and interesting symbols, those familiar playing cards help break up the intensity a little – as well as providing the smaller and more regular wins.
Around the reels you’ll see an arched stone ceiling and slabs of stone on the floor. This gives the impression of a bazaar before the merchants arrive with their spices and jewels. The reels are backed in black. This helps with dazzling artefacts on the reels stand out. As you’d expect from Ainsworth, the quality and detail level of the designs is high.
Some of the animations, like the shaking hands, are subtle, others (like the wilds) livelier. When you get the free spins bonus, the symbols on the middle reels spin independently. This gives a flickering effect. Ainsworth let you wait just a moment for the win multiplier, keeping the anticipation level high.
While you won’t be able to haggle, the Grand Bazaar pokies are well worth the trip. The base game is standard, with stacked wilds able to provide the occasional big win. When you get to the free spins the combination of sticky wilds and multipliers adds a new level of interest. On top of this, you’ll find random jackpots – which must pay out by a specified level.