These days circuses are all about acrobats. This 9 payline slot from MicroGaming takes us back to an earlier era. The Big Top slot features a tiger in a hat, sea lion balancing a beach ball on its nose, and even an elephant riding a bike! Graphics and simple, though bright, and you’ll get some very traditional circus music whenever you hit a win.
Surprisingly for a free 5-reel online slot, this game has no bonus features. There are scatter symbols and wilds in play. This game is all about the line wins. Considering you will be spinning just 9 coins, some of the potential wins are quite generous.
As a first-generation video slot, the setup is simple compared to today’s games. You get to select any number of win-lines – from 1 through 9. You get to choose the denomination of each coin – from 25c and up. There is a ‘bet max’ button, which simply defaults to the full 9 lines at your current coin amount. If you hit the ‘expert’ button, more controls come up – including a configurable auto-play option.
There is a noticeable lag between clicking the spin button and the reels starting to move. They are made to look like the old mechanical slots in the way they spin. When they stop, you will be hoping to see the ‘Big Top’ logo. This is the highest paying symbol by a significant margin. It is worth 5000 coins for the full 5 on a win-line. 4 of them are worth 800 coins, you get 200 for 3 and 20 coins for just 2. Keep in mind all of these wins are for a 9-coin bet.
Next in the prizes list come the performers. A tiger in a top hat is worth 600 coins. A clown 500, the elephant riding a bike 300, and the beach ball juggling sealion 250. All of these symbols pay down to 2 of a kind from the left.
Playing card symbols, aces down to 10’s, make up the smaller wins. These are standard designs and have not been embellished for the circus theme.
Scatter symbols show a cheeky looking monkey, with the word ‘scatter’ above him in yellow. These symbols are not tied to the win-lines, instead paying out based on the total number in view after each spin. The top prize is high, you’ll get 50 times your total bet amount for 5 of the monkey scatters anywhere on the reels. The prize for 4 is 10x your total bet, with 2x that bet for just 3.
Wilds show a clown, with a multi-coloured word ‘wild’ underneath. There are no separate prizes for wilds. Instead they complete wins with the other symbols (not the scatters) by substituting for them. If you hit 5 wilds, this would be the equivalent of 5 of the highest paying symbols – the Big Top Logo.
You have to look carefully to see the Big Top peeking over the top of the reels. This is the classic red and white striped design tent. There are poles with red and white stripes either side of the plain white reels.
On the reels, the symbols are a riot of clashing colours. The big and bold playing card symbols contrast with the more varied colours of the performers. Above the reels the ‘view payout’ buttons flash.
The elephant riding a bike (or rather a tricycle) stands out – along with the clown wild. While not too many symbols have animations, the moving eyes of the clown wilds and general flashing of the wins do give a lively overall impression. When you win you’ll get a classic tune which can only be associated with a circus.
You’ll need to appreciate solid slot gaming to get too much enjoyment from this older MicroGaming slot. The lack of bonus games or free spins is something to keep in mind. Making up for this are bigger line wins. 5000 coins for a 9-coin bet is generous, and with wild symbols in play, your chances of hitting it do go up.