I almost can't believe I'm back again, trying to come up with a witty intro for a Big Bass Release. With Big Bass Bonanza, Bigger Bass Bonanza, and Big Bass Bonanza Megaways already done and dusted in the past 11 months, I think it's safe to say I've run out of ideas, and certainly out of any fishy puns. Alas, we go on, and I introduce you to… Christmas Big Bass Bonanza. It's really quite impressive the teams at Pragmatic Play and Reel Kingdom have managed to squeeze so much from this one fisherman, but there's no judgement from me – it's all about the players, and for some reason you guys continue to lap this one up, with so many requests flying in during live streams each time a new edition comes out. Long gone are the days of Fishin' Frenzy taking the top spot – these days everyone is angling (okay, so I have a few puns left in me) for Big Bass. In this highly (4/5) volatile festive version, default RTP is the same 96.71% we have come to expect, and wins up to 2,100x bet are on offer.
Thematically, it's Christmas – of course it is. We've got ice filling the water, with snow visible on the land at the top, and baubles on the underwater plants. The fish themselves have gained some accessories to keep them warm, including hats, scarves and mittens – some of the jolliest even have antlers and a red nose. There's some small changes to the symbols, including snow topping the Royals and bows on the tackle box, not forgetting that we actually have a sleigh now too. Most noticeably we no longer have the fisherman, who has instead been replaced by Santa Claus. Audios are festive, but not distinctly reminiscent of any particular Christmas song.
Christmas Big Bass Bonanza Base Features
Taking place across 5×3 reels, Christmas Big Bass Bonanza features 10 fixed win lines, with wins formed by matching symbols across a win line on adjacent reels, beginning at the leftmost reel. Symbols available begin with the lower end 10, J, Q, K and A, awarding wins of 0.5x bet for 3 of a kind matches, whilst landing 5 of a kind royals will award wins of 10x bet. At the premium end, any fish will award wins between 1 and 20x bet for wins between 3 and 5 of a kind, whilst tackle boxes and sleighs will award wins between 2 and 50x bet, again for matches between 3 and 5 of a kind. Festive fishing rods reward players with values between 3 and 100x bet for wins between 3 and 5 of a kind, whilst floats are the highest paying regular symbol – paying as low as 2 ways with 0.5x bet values. Land 5 of a kind floats and you'll be treated to impressive wins of 200x bet.
That's pretty much it for the base game – there's no Wild symbol in play just yet, and although you will see fish symbols have monetary values attached, these are of no meaning within the base game, but spring to life during free spins. If you haven't played a release in this series so far, you'll find more of what this means down below.
Christmas Big Bass Bonanza Bonus
Land 3, 4 or 5 Fish Scatter symbols to trigger 10, 15 or 20 free spins, respectively. First of all, say hello to the Money Symbol – the fish. During free spins, the monetary values attached to fish symbols are activated, and it's possible to collect them. Alongside this, Santa Claus Wild symbols can land. On any spin, if the Wild symbol lands, the values attached to any fish Money symbols in view will be collected and added to the total win. Alongside this, Santa Claus Wild symbols are collected and added to the meter at the top of the screen:
- Collect 4 Santa Symbols: +10 free spins x2
- Collect 8 Santa Symbols: +10 free spins x3
- Collect 12 Santa Symbols: +10 free spins x10
The multiplier applies to any Money symbol values collected, and is not a general win multiplier. After reaching +10 free spins with a x10 multiplier, the feature cannot be retriggered.
Randomly, when a Santa Claus Wild is in view with no fish symbols, Christmas Crackers can appear and add fish symbols in random positions on the reels.
Players in appropriate regions can fast track the action for the first time and buy the feature for a cost of 100x bet.
The maximum win available is 2,100x bet. If the total win during any feature or spin exceeds 2,100x bet, the spin or feature will end and 2,100x bet will be awarded.
What can I say? My opinion remains the same – there’s nothing wrong with this release. It’s a seasonal rebrand: it’s not the first, and it certainly won’t be the last. I will reiterate what I said at the beginning though, some players will inevitably lap Christmas Big Bass Bonanza up the same as the original, and Bigger Bass Bonanza, and Bigger Bass Bonanza Megaways, when it’s released. It’s all about brand recognition, and the team are squeezing every last drop they can from this one.
What does change things slightly is the feature buy option now available – so those who love to request this release from their favourite streamers now have a shortcut to see the feature as a helping hand, if the content creator opts to purchase it. Of course, for players in regions without access to bonus buys nothing has really changed on that front.
Graphics are nice, and it’s good to see they haven’t just slapped a Santa hat on the fisherman and called it a day. We have an icy lake now topped with baubles on the seagrass, sleighs, Christmas Crackers instead of dynamite and a Santa Claus instead of the fisherman – or maybe it’s the fisherman in disguise, who knows? Even the fish have gotten dressed up for the jolly season.
Statically, nothing has changed. Default RTP is still 96.71%, with a lower setting of 95.67% available, although this Christmas release does also offer a 94.62% option, so it's worth checking. Volatility remains high at 4/5, and wins up to 2,100x bet are available. The following hit frequency statistics are also the same from the original:
As always I'll say this – if you like the Big Bass series, you'll like this, and it might help to get you in a festive mood. If you haven't been swayed yet, I'm not sure the Christmassy touch will do it. What might help is the feature buy, so bear that in mind if you're in the right region.
*The screenshots taken of games reviewed on this site are taken from Demo Play, as reviews are often written before games are released for real play.