The honky-tonk theme music and saloon backdrop to WMS Gaming’s digital slots title Wild Shootout establishes its Western theme immediately, but the game’s unusual layout is what first catches the eye. Wild Shootout plays on six reels, not five, and the leftmost reel has only two windows to display icons. The second reel has three, the third four, and so on, with seven windows on the sixth reel.

During the bonus round, the reels flip, so the leftmost reel has seven windows and the rightmost two. The effect, in both base play and bonus play, is to create a total of 192 winning paylines, with the bottleneck effect of the uneven number of reels allowing the smaller stacked reels to feature in multiple wins at once. Winning combinations must start on the leftmost reel in both base and bonus play, and include at least three matching icons in sequence.

All Symbols Stack and Sheriff Turns Wild

With the exception of the Scatter, all the symbols in Wild Shootout can arrived stacked over two or three windows, or filling an entire reel. If the Sheriff icon stacks to complete a reel, requiring from two Sheriffs on the leftmost reel to seven Sheriffs at the other end, he animates into a full-length figure and the entire reel becomes Wild.

This Wild Reel can then combine with any other matching payline sequences starting on Reel 1 (again, excluding the Scatter symbol) to create multiple winning paylines. During the bonus round, a single Sheriff icon appearing on any window expands to turn the whole reel Wild, so the number of potential Wilds increases in this phase.

Fresh Twist on the Symbols; Standard Wild

Wild Shootout ditches the Poker symbols but sticks with the Poker theme, in keeping with the game’s frontier saloon design. Instead, the card suits hearts; spades, clubs and diamonds are used as low-value icons, along with theme-specific artefacts like a cowboy hat, bullets, and cash alongside a bag of coins.

The title also uses three high-value icons; a saloon dancing girl, a masked bandit, and the aforementioned Sheriff. A poker hand under a pistol is the Wild icons; unlike the Sheriff, it can substitute for other symbols when not stacked; although it does occur stacked like the other icons, to produce even bigger wins.

Sheriff Badge Scatter Activates Bonus Spins

A big gold Sheriff’s badge is the Wild Shootout Scatter, and three, four or five anywhere on the reels trigger 10, 25 or 50 free spins respectively. The reels flip position, and Sheriff icons become the big scorers, as just one will turn the whole reel Wild.

This phase also has the number of windows decreasing on each successive reel to the right; combine with Wild Reels and stacked symbols, this increases the chance of players at River Belle Casino in Canada getting numerous identical five-of-a-kind paylines on one free spin. Under these conditions, even the low-value suit icons can produce big prizes, if two or three identical stacked symbols interact with a few Wilds.