Fri, May 31, 3:24am by William Brown
Last Updated Tue, Oct 8, 12:20am
Bob’s Bowling Bonanza pokies are probably the only real money gambling machines you’ll find based on the action at a retro bowling alley. This unique theme fits well in Microgaming’s stable of poker machines, since weird plots and characters are the foundation of their pokies library.
On these games, gamblers can follow the amorous pursuits of a talking rooster, try out the angling skills of fishermen working in the icy waters of Alaska, or experience a day in the shoes (or rather the skates) of a pro hockey athlete. Those are just three of Microgaming’s hundreds of poker machine games. This particular casino software designer is not shy about producing titles that push the envelope of the somewhat predictable stars-and-bars games found at casinos powered by their competitors.
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Bob’s Bowling Bonanza uses a set of reels and lines that was at one time common for Microgaming pokies. An arrangement of five reels and thirty available pay lines is still pretty standard, especially for video bonus games without progressive jackpots or a licensed character or theme.
Microgaming is not afraid of going out on a limb to produce online poker machines that are distinct from titles designed by other software designers. If bowling alley action doesn’t sound all that interesting, know that this game isn’t all that focused on bowling; like most Microgaming machine games the plot and theme are only slightly more important than window-dressing.
The company produces some solid titles with complex plots, themed bonus rounds, and animations that support the story told by the game. However, a five reel / thirty pay line pokie is not the normal hunting ground for bettors after pokies with console gaming-style complexity.
Bob’s Bowling Bonanza is a good fit for players with any size budget; yes, the game accepts penny bets, but it also has a top per-spin bet of $75, which is decidedly high roller territory for an Internet poker machine. The coin denominations available are as follows: $0.01, $0.02, $0.05, $0.10, $0.20 and $0.25 each. Players can choose any number of pay lines between one and thirty and wager between one and ten coins per line. That makes for a minimum bet of $0.01 and a max bet of $75 every time the reels are set in motion.
The symbols are not that far outside the scope of what most people would produce for a bowling-themed video poker machine game. Reel images include the standard Microgaming collection of themed playing card symbols (Nine, Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace, all with retro fonts and stylized designs), as well as symbols that fall more in line with the bowling alley setting.
The wild symbol is (typical of Microgaming video poker machines) based on the game’s logo. The scatter symbol is a large animated bowling ball. The game also contains symbol images of a bowling trophy, a pair of smelly bowling shoes, and the two main characters, the owner of the alley (Bob) and his girlfriend who the designers didn’t think to name. When a winning combo appears on an active line, the symbols in that combo activate, and each shows off unique animations and sound effects.
That bowling ball scatter symbol pays off a wager multiplier between 10x and 100X for lining up between two and five of them on any line, whether it’s been activated or not.
More valuable than the bowling ball scatter is the game logo; it acts as a wild symbol that replaces missing symbols to form combinations that lead to pay outs. It also triggers the bonus round, called Perfect Game, when three of them land, one each on reels 1, 3, and 5 on any line.
When this happens and Perfect Game begins, those three reels turn into animated bowling lanes. Watch a ball fly down the lands and (hopefully) knock down all the pins. The number of pins that fall (decided at random) is then multiplied by the size of the bet that triggered the game, an incentive to wager as much as possible every round. For every strike that occurs during the round the triggering bet is multiplied by ten and that number is then doubled. Get three strikes (a very rare occurrence) and you’ll earn an additional bet multiplier of 6x on top of the 30x multiplier earned for the pins which were knocked down in the first part of the game.
The game’s pay table is simple thanks to the small number of symbols and the use of just one bonus game. A nice feature of the game’s pay table is the fact that scatter wins and standard pay line wins are combined, rather than the standard method which pays the larger of the two. The same goes for wins on different pay lines. The top fixed prize on this charming video pokie comes from landing five Bob symbols on an active pay line – the 5,000 coins earned from that combo are worth between $50 and $1,250 depending on the chosen credit denomination.
Bob’s Bowling Bonanza is one of Microgaming’s many pokies that incorporate a handy autoplay feature that allows a lot of customization. Turning autoplay on isn’t enough to access the most customization features; that requires the selection of “Expert” mode.
Autoplay in Expert mode allows the choice of a large number of auto spins: 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250 or 500 automatic turns of the reels, and the bettor can stop the auto spinning at any point. The bettor can also set up the game to stop when certain winnings occur, specifically wins worth $100, $500, $1,000, $5,000, or $9,999. The game also stops for the bonus round or when the bettor’s bankroll is set back in increments of $20, $50, or $100.