Way back in the day, in between Excel work or dragging files from one folder to another, PC users had the option of killing time with Microsoft’s Entertainment Pack. One of the pre-installed games was Minesweeper, an infuriating title where players had to reveal squares that did not contain bombs. Trigger a bomb, one of those round ones with a fuse, and it was game over. Minesweeper was phased out from Windows 8 onwards, but for those who would like a taste of the old days, there is now Bombuster from Red Tiger.
Like Minesweeper, Bombuster uses a grid to host the action, this one 7×7 in size. The difference between the two is that now you want the bombs to go off, as this is the gateway to Bombuster’s extras. It’s not exactly a feature bonanza, but players have Destroy Bombs, Wild Bombs, and Swap Bombs to look out for.
At first glance, Bombuster brings to mind Fruit Snap, a previous Red Tiger grid slot, due to the minimal background and the fruity/classic slot symbols. Bombuster has a more futuristic appearance than its predecessor though. Red Tiger has gone for the slot in space vibe, setting the game on the event horizon of a black hole, or something like that. Both games’ soundtracks are quite similar too, pumping out some low key EDM while the clusters tumble in. The package is minimalist, yet still easy on the eyes and ears.
Playable from 10 p/c to £/€40 per spin and with a 95.74% RTP, Bombuster isn’t exactly aiming to be a high-performance grid slot as both potential and volatility sit on the more modest side of the scale. In other words, expect more laid back gaming rather than explosive action.
Players hit a win when a cluster of 5 or more similar symbols connect vertically or horizontally. When this happens, winning symbols are removed to let new ones tumble in to the gaps giving more chances to win. The official hit rate hasn’t been released as of yet, though testing produced quite a steady frequency of wins, albeit on the smaller side for the majority of the time.
Decent one-off wins are technically possible when symbols land in larger groupings though. For instance, a cluster of 40+ 7’s (the highest paying symbol) will net you 1,000 times the stake. From there in descending order, the rest of the symbols are bells, stars, watermelons, plums, oranges, lemons, and cherries. All generic iconography worth from 200 to 900 times the stake for a cluster of 40 or more. The remaining symbol is the big golden ‘W’ which is wild. It can substitute for any other pay symbol on the board to help make clusters.
So, decent wins are possible from larger clusters, but one thing that might actually prevent them forming are the three bombs which make up the features. These explosive devices appear randomly on the grid where they sit for a certain length of time before exploding to release their modifying powers.
When the bombs appear, they have one or more pointers attached. These are called blast patterns indicating the way their effects will go. For example, you might get a Wild Bomb on the first column pointing to the right. You know when this bomb goes off, the row of symbols to the right of it will turn wild. Also, when a bomb goes off, its blast travels all the way to the edge of the grid, triggering any other bombs in its path.
The red Destroy Bomb sits on the grid for up to three spins before detonating. When the Destroy Bomb blows, it removes everything in its path, allowing new symbols to fall into place. This bomb cannot destroy symbols created by the Wild or Swap Bombs.
The green Swap Bomb remains on the grid for up to 50 spins before it explodes. When it goes off, it leaves one type of symbol along its explosive path. It is possible to have more than one Swap Bomb go off in a sequence, and when this happens all bombs create the same symbol.
Yellow Wild Bombs are the most elusive of the trio, remaining on the grid for up to 200 spins before activating. When this one explodes, it places a wild symbol on all positions in its path. Wild symbols will always be revealed, even if other explosions overlap them.
Red Tiger has built up quite a portfolio of grid slots now, of a wide and varied collection. This variety also applies to the xylophone of quality, and you never know quite what you are going to get. Bombuster is one which hovers around the middle of the scale. It’s not bad, yet it’s not great. The game ticks along in neutral most of the time, nuking the odd symbol, while larger wins threaten to hit. Occasionally, you’ll get on a roll of cluster wins, amplified by chain reactions of bombs blowing each other up, adding more mayhem to the procedure.
Yet, Bombuster is far from being a grid slot that goes berserk. Without free spins, sticky wilds, or multipliers, it is limited in what it can do. Utilising the tools Bombuster does have, potential of up to just 2,020 times the stake is possible. Massive wins or thrills this is not.
All up, casual punters, those who Red Tiger is adept at capturing, may enjoy a lighter grid slot, presented in a pleasant futuristic style. For anything more, players are better off looking elsewhere. Bombuster can’t compete with massive grid slots, such as those on offer from Play’n GO for example, but to be fair, it’s not really trying to either.