Black River Gold Pokie

Black River Gold Pokie
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Black River Gold
4.11/5 on 19 reviews
Published: 12.12.2020 Updated: 12.12.2020
By Andrew Russell
Software ELK Studios
Slot theme History
Reel 6
Paylines 262,144
Progressive No

Black River Gold Pokie Review

The Black River Gold pokie machine by ELK Studios is clearly inspired by the gold rush era and offers a chance to win up to NZ$500,000. To scoop that much, one has to sign up with a trusted online casino accepting Kiwis and featuring pokies by ELK Studios. This is going to be a mind-blowing and recharging experience as the gameplay is based on the unique mechanics making reels grow with every win until there are as many as 262,144 ways to win. As sophisticated as it is, the pokie is equally available to those who prefer desktops and those who stick to mobile devices.

Mechanics and gameplay

To play the pokie machine, players have to look at the reels first to understand the way they operate and create ways to win. There are 6 reels featuring 4 rows in a starting spin. This architecture produces 4x4x4x4x4x4=4,096 initial ways to win. This is the baseline level which may be greatly increased to produce up to 262,144; to do so, a player has to place a bet, spin the reels and win.

Any win triggers the Avalanche feature; it makes the winning symbols explode and disappear while other symbols take the emptied positions and new symbols fall from above. This is what happens in many other slot machines featuring similar features. In this pokie machine, there is an extra bonus: when the Avalanche happens, an extra row is added on top of the initial four rows of symbols to make five rows and produce as many as 15,625 ways or nearly 4 times as much compared to the baseline level.

The next win retriggers the Avalanche feature and the slot machine adds another extra row of symbols and produces 46,659 ways to win. The feature runs as long as it brings a new win and can boost the number of ways up to the maximum value of 262,144. To support this lucrative transformation, the feature makes symbols shrink to make reels capable of accommodating 8 full rows or 9 incomplete rows of icons.

Some icons may become super, mega and epic big and take 2×2, 3×3 or 4×4 cells respectively. These enlarged icons create the 9th, incomplete row. This model as well as outstanding design and grasping features certainly deserve the place which the pokie holds in the Gold Series by ELK Studios.

Betting options and strategies

The game is exclusive as per design and gameplay but it is absolutely inclusive in terms of betting options. The lower threshold is only NZ$0.20 per spin thus the pokie machine welcomes New Zealand fans of penny slots and Kiwis on a budget. It is also recommended to high rollers as they may bet up to NZ$100 per spin. Again, in online casinos supporting cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the pokie is also available to play.

There is a unique add-on known as bet strategies. In addition to those invented by some players, ELK Studios offer four of their own strategies including Optimizer, Leveller, Booster and Jumper. These are in essence automated bet modifiers following different patterns and letting players indulge in the gameplay while the slot machine takes care of the bet.

  • Optimizer strategy adjusts a bet based on a certain share of player’s budget (1% to 5% per spin)
  • Leveller strategy raises a bet by two predefined levels (at variable increments) when there are 5 consecutive no-win spins. If there are 5 more spins with no awards, it does it again and the bet becomes 10 times the base level (NZ$2.0 vs. NZ$0.20) and then it resets after a win
  • Booster raises a bet by 1 level (at a variable increment) after a zero-win spin until the bet is 4 levels above the starting level or 10 times higher
  • Jumper strategy adds 1 level to the base bet with every win until the bet reaches the level 10 times the starting bet and then it resets back to the initial value.

These are certainly interesting ideas making the game easily adaptable to players’ preferences or, to put it broader, to main temperaments: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic.

Symbols and paytable

There are quite a lot of icons including non-feature symbols creating ways to win and feature symbols making the gameplay as bright as firework and as lucrative as gold rush. Regular icons are 4 playing cards from J to A, silver Sheriff’s Stars, silver Tie Holders, Derringers, Whisky Glasses, Emeralds, Gold Nuggets, Diamonds and Sheriffs. These icons pay when at least 3 of a kind land in any positions on adjacent reels starting from the leftmost reel and with no gaps between reels hosting the matching icons.

These icons may earn x0.1 to x3 the total stake; at that the game is capable of producing hundreds of thousands of ways so even this low paytable may earn quite an amount, up to NZ$500,000 at best according to the developer. To win that much, Kiwi players have to sign up with a reliable online casino accepting NZ players and featuring the game and play it for real money.

There are many feature symbols. A Wild Compass is not a wild icon but when both ends of its red arrow point at matching icons, they turn into true wilds. Besides, when the Compass drops down the bottom row it also turns into a regular wild and does a usual trick of this feature symbol. i.e. it substitutes for any non-feature icon.

A blood-red Rose is a true and unchangeable wild symbol: it always works as a wild symbol and substitutes for any regular icon except for any bonus symbol or the Compass.

A big symbol falling down during the Avalanche feature can absorb other icons located below (it cannot though take over Wild Compasses or bonus symbols). If that happens, the big symbol turns into a Revolver with 6 bullet nests some of which are filled with absorbed icons while others are empty. When the Revolver is full of icons or absorbs a wild, it becomes a wild symbol. Otherwise, if it is made up of wilds or any matching symbols, it takes part in winning combos and, as a huge 6-icon block of matching symbols, considerably increases the win.

Avalanche Free Drops

Landing at least three bonus symbols triggers Avalanche Free Drops. This is a variety of free spins found in no-payline pokies like the reviewed one. Landing three or more bonus symbols on the reels triggers 10 to 25 free drops.

Free drops are similar to base spins in mechanics but they cost nothing. Any win activates an avalanche making winning combos disappear, bringing new symbols and adding an extra row on every consecutive win. During free drops, the Avalanche feature comes with a special bonus, a so-called Safety Level.

The Safety Level secures the number of rows achieved in a sequence of avalanches. This number is always 4 (rows) at the beginning but it grows by 1 with every win. When there is no win and the avalanche sequence is over, the Safety Level fixes the final number of rows (e.g. 6) and the next Free Drops round starts with 6 rows, i.e. with 46,659 ways instead of the initial 4,096 ways.

Wilds also bring an extra bonus into the Avalanche Free Drops feature. They become sticky, accumulate in the bottom row and remain on the reels as long as they make part of winning combos. Wild Compasses act as usual during the feature. Free drops can retrigger under the same conditions as used to activate them in base game.

Summary

Black River Gold by ELK studios is a 6-reel pokie machine generating 4,096 to 262,144 ways to win, accepting bets from NZ$0.20 to NZ$100 per spin and capable of paying up to NZ$500,000. The slot machine is absolutely fantastic when it comes to bonus features, graphics, animation and audio effects. Given the set of exciting features applied in this game, it is believed to be of the most interesting pokies released by ELK Studios.

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