What do the franchises of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Game of Thrones, Invader Zim, Family Guy, Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption (and more) all have in common with Wild Showdown, an online slot machine developed by Light & Wonder? The Wilhelm scream may be heard in all of them if you pay close attention. Since its creation in 1951, the Wilhelm scream has been utilized in countless movies, TV shows, video games, and probably other mediums. An arrow wound to Private Wilhelm’s leg in the 1953 Western The Charge at Feather River inspired the name. The Western-themed Wild Showdown is the latest in a long list of entertainment channels to exploit the sound effect.
The base and bonus games of Wild Showdown take place in a darkly lit saloon-style lounge adorned with booze, a rifle, a wanted poster, paintings, and colorful US fan flags. Wild Showdown’s audio is just as impressive as the game’s graphics. Bonus round music has a twangy guitar-led piece with ‘yee haws’ sprinkled throughout, and the aforementioned Wilhelm screams before launching into music reminiscent of Dick Dale’s Misirlou. Images of the West amid the heat, dust, and bloodshed that Wild Showdown evoked piqued a lot of curiosity about what the show may do next.
There will soon be more wilds, sticky wilds, and multipliers added to the existing 1,024-way pay structure. First, some math: Wild Showdown has two return to player (RTP) options, at 95.96% and 94.02%, respectively, which we’ll get to later. Bets range from 20 pence to £/€20 each spin on both variants, making them extremely risky. The Showdown takes place on a tablet, smartphone, or desktop device-friendly gaming panel with five reels and four rows.
When three or more identical symbols appear on adjacent reels, starting on the leftmost reel, the player is a winner. Thicker-than-normal Western-font royals (9-A cards), followed by bottles and glasses, gunslingers, saloon girls, and what appear to be sheriffs, make up the normal pay tiles. A victory with five symbols pays out between 0.4 and 0.6 times the wager, while a win with five premium symbols pays out between 1 and 4 times the wager. Wild stars can occur on all reels save the leftmost one and replace any pay symbol prior to entering the bonus features.
Slot Features in “Wild Showdown”
The Multiplier Gun Chamber and the Wild Gun Chamber are two of the game’s unique symbols.
Reel 2 is wild when the Multiplier Gun Chamber occurs. If you get a hit, the chamber will spin and show a multiplier between two and ten times the value of your wins for that spin.
The Wild Gun Chamber is a stacked wild that appears on reel 4. The chamber on this symbol revolves to conceal and reveal a number between one and five. The specified number of wilds is then distributed throughout the reels at random. Keep in mind that there can only ever be one of each Gun Chamber type on any given reel.
Getting the Bonus Safe on the third reel will trigger eight free games. Free games are triggered when the Bonus symbol appears without any Gun Chamber symbols appearing on the triggering spin. The Bonus sign vanishes after the first free spin if it has landed with either of the Gun Chamber symbols. If any Gun Chamber symbols appear during a free spin, they will remain in place for the duration of the feature, increasing the multiplier and/or providing random wilds for the remaining free spins. There is no way to get more free spins.
Make a Purchase
Eligible players can purchase one of three passes to the bonus round by clicking the Buy Pass button. The Multiplier Gun Chamber awards 96x the wager, the Wild Gun Chamber awards 89x the wager, and the combined Gun Chambers award 450x the wager during free spins. The Bonus Safe symbol that activated the free games remains as a sticky wild throughout the bonus round. There is a possible return of between 95.75% and 95.88% when purchasing free spins.
Slot Machine Battle: The Verdict
Reviewing Wild Showdown was like riding a roller coaster. The game got off to a strong start, with an enjoyable Wild West vibe and a setting that seems like a frontier town that has seen it all. The base game’s slow speed dampened the upbeat atmosphere, making it seem like Wild Showdown just wasn’t in the mood to get up and do anything. However, as Gun Chamber symbols (wilds) began to land, we saw the potential of the game’s win-all-ways concept.
Wild Showdown offers a compelling reason to purchase free spins rather than relying on random chance alone. This is due to the Bonus Safe symbol being sticky during purchased bonus rounds, together with the additional Gun Chamber symbols already in play. If you purchase the Multiplier Gun Chamber feature, for instance, sticky wilds will remain on reels 2 and 3 for the duration of the feature. When you purchase a round of free games with both Gun Chambers, reels 2, 3, and 4 will feature sticky wilds. Possessing a total of 1,024 potential outcomes. There is a psychological component to knowing that you can effectively buy 8 win spins with a multiplier and bonus random wilds tossed in on top when you purchase free spins. If the confrontation continues to the very end, a winner might collect up to 12,500 times their initial wager.
Though it has its share of thrilling sequences, Wild Showdown isn’t as insane as other games like Dead or Alive 2, Tombstone RIP, or Deadwood. A moment ago it seemed like a sleepy gunslinger at the bar, and now it’s pulling out handguns and tearing the place to shreds. Even if the show isn’t nonstop action, 100 miles per hour, it can become exciting when the Gun Chamber symbols start striking or doing their thing during free spins.