The ‘bush telegraph’ is slang for a system of drums used to communicate across huge distances. This was first used in Australia. The Bush Telegraph slot features a lot of drums, and several wild animals. These are more generic than Australian, and include a toucan bird, a native of south America. While you spin the reels, you’ll enjoy ambient jungle noises – and your wins will be met with drums when they appear.
You’ll find two special features. One is a picks game. This is called the bongo bonus, and simply involves choosing 3 drums. There is a free spins bonus game too, where all your wins receive triple the usual prize money.
There are 15 win-lines for this MicroGaming title. You can choose as many or as few as these as you wish. In total, you’ll find 5 reels and 3 rows of symbols on each one. Coins start at 1c, with a multiplier of up to 5x coins for each line. If you’d like the auto-play options, simply click the ‘Expert’ button between spins, this beings up some extra controls.
As with many MicroGaming slots, the wild symbols are your key to big wins in the base game. This shows the word ‘Wild’ set against some jungle foliage. If you line up 5 of a kind, you’ll get 7500 coins. 4 gets you 2000 coins, 3 brings 200 and you get 5 coins for just 2 of a kind. These symbols do substitute for the regular symbols below. While they help to create extra wins, they do not have any multiplier attached.
Animals, who are all playing drums, are the higher paying symbols. These are topped by a pink monkey and warthog – both worth 500 coins for 5 of a kind. A toucan will get you 250 coins for the full 5. Playing card symbols aces down to tens bring in the smaller wins.
You’ll find a lot of bonus symbols on the reels in Bush Telegraph slot. These show 2 drums with the word ‘Bongo Bonus’ beneath. You need to line up 3 or more on a win-line to trigger this game.
You will be taken to a new screen, where you see a jungle scene with 10 different bongos. All different colours, shapes and sizes are covered. Your task is to choose 3 of them. Each one will reveal a cash prize.
The overall amount you can win is influenced by the number of bongo bonus symbols that you triggered the game with. The range of wins from 5 triggering symbols is from 60 to 2500 coins, while 3 triggers gets you 36 to 1500.
Seed pods, which rattle when they hit the reels, trigger the free spins bonus game. These pods also have scatter wins. If you hit 5 of them, you will get 100x your total bet amount. You only get 10 free spins – this is the same whether you trigger with 3, 4 or 5 scatters.
There is nothing unusual about the free spins game. You get 10 spins, and any wins are 3x the listed prize. You can retrigger with more scatters. While you can trigger the bongo bonus, wins from this are at the usual levels, and not 3x.
As far as older slots go, the design is clean, clear and bright. The reels are dominated by the playing cards – which at least have ethnic patterns to go with their bold colours. Around the reels you will see dense green leaves. I like the animals, with the pink creature (could be a monkey!) standing out.
The animations are minimal, for example wobbling drums and flashing symbols. I do like the sound for small wins. This is a drum ‘riff’, and adds some comedy value to this slot. When you get the free spins round, there are different spinning noises compared to the main game – though no difference in the game play.
Bush Telegraph is not the most engaging slot in the MicroGaming portfolio. It is solid, nicely produced and includes the classic game-play and ‘one picks, one spins’ bonuses format. The picks game is quick and easy, and came in reasonably often when I played. The free spins game takes a little longer to trigger, getting 3x on every win should more than make up for this.