This particular traditional title does include a wild multiplier symbol, but this kind of symbol is not always a part of pokies in the “traditional game” category. Another atypical feature for titles in Microgaming’s library of traditional category that’s present here is the use of a bonus trigger symbol. This symbol only appears on the third reel and starts the bonus round under the right conditions; it does not pay a jackpot of its own.
Generally speaking, classic poker machines have a different bet variety than other modern games. Classic titles almost always accept smaller bets in a more limited range than other modern pokies. The end-result is a set of smaller jackpots that don’t necessarily appear more often. This particular version of a traditional poker machine has a high maximum jackpot compared to its classic-style brethren, even though bettors don’t have a choice in terms of the value of each credit. Still, a top prize of $15,000 is nothing to sniff at.
The theme for this game is the sport of darts. Unlike many classic titles, Bulls Eye includes a bonus round echoing the game’s theme, a feature not common on titles in this category. Besides the themed bonus round described in better detail below, themed features on this title include the images and animations on the “case” (like the image of a darts player lining up his shot) and a couple of the symbols used on the reels.
But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; yes, it is uncommon for traditional games to be heavily-themed, and certainly some fans of retro machines prefer their games as spare as they come. But most of us that seek out classic poker machines are happy to find titles that are a little more fleshed out. Microgaming’s collection of titles replicating traditional poker machine design ranges from the spartan to the flamboyant. This game is a textbook example of a well-executed hybrid incorporating the old and the new.
The theme is apparent in a couple of the game’s symbols, though not as much as players who look for well-developed pokie themes might prefer. Non-themed symbols used here are typical for classic games; the black bars and bunches of cherries that result in the game’s smallest jackpots are recognizable poker machine symbols even to people who have never gambled in a casino.
The two symbols influenced by the darts theme are the dart player from the game’s case (which doubles as a wild multiplier symbol) and a dartboard (that triggers the bonus round) appearing on the third reel only. Note that the trigger symbol does not pay out a jackpot and only triggers bonus play for bettors placing the max wager of three coins per round.
Bettors used to classic online poker machines expect all the action to take place on a single screen, and that’s the case here. Even the game’s bonus round takes place on the same screen as the rest of play – the title of the game, its pay table, the spinning reels and pay line, and a couple of images that display short animations from time to time fill out the rest of the screen.
Everything a bettor needs to know about the game is on the main screen, which is nice if you’re looking for a game that’s easy to understand, easy to play, and requires very little concentration and no hand-eye coordination or player skill. This is both a good and a bad feature, depending on your perspective. Just like how some nights call for a cheeseburger from a fast food restaurant and others call for an expensive filet mignon, gamblers are sometimes in the mood for a game that isn’t too taxing or complex. Pokies fans in the mood for the casino equivalent of a Big Mac will be right at home with Bulls Eye or any of Microgaming’s other classic style games.
The use of a fixed credit value ($1 apiece) three reels and a single pay line gives the game a straightforward variety of wagers. The biggest decision players have to make is how many coins to bet per spin – choose one, two, or three. This lack of variety at the low end (and at the high end, come to think of it) is a mark against the game, cutting out both budget-conscious and high rolling pokie fans.
The game is designed to encourage or even demand a maximum wager. The largest jackpot is only available to players betting three credits. But it doesn’t stop there; without betting $3 per round the bonus round is inaccessible. Traditional titles by Microgaming rarely include a true bonus feature, and this one is actually a lot of fun.
Fixing the credit value at $1 prevents low rollers from benefitting from max bets while wagering three credits worth just $0.25 or $0.50 apiece. That tactic is commonly used in these situations to become eligible for max bet features at a much lower cost per spin. In short – don’t play Bulls Eye if you can’t afford three bucks per round.
Called “The Bullseye Bonus Round” (why the name of the game splits the phrase into two words but the bonus round doesn’t is beyond us), this game is triggered by the dartboard symbol appearing on the third reel in any round where the bettor has wagered three coins. The screen is replaced by a revolving dartboard that is split into wedges, each with its own multiplier amount.
The bettor spins the wheel and as it slows down, a pointer lights up. The segment the pointer lands in at the end of the spin is the multiplier used to determine the bonus prize – since only $3 bets trigger this round, the prize is some multiple of $3. The most common rewards are 2x, 5x, and 10x, though multipliers as high as 100x are listed on the wheel.