Some characters (like Donald Duck and Homer Simpson) have the curious ability to morph seamlessly into any role. The Kane Steel character from ELK Studio’s gold series has some of the same uncanny characteristics. Or perhaps it’s more precisie to say that it’s the game that morphs around him, while the man himself remains as unchangeable as his last name implies. Either way, Black River Gold is the latest of his numerous incarnations, and we shall take a closer look at everything you need to know in this review.
The game takes place in the gold rush era, with some massive North American mountains towering above a dark blue river in the background. The reels are set beneath a railroad bridge, and - per usual - the reel setup can expand from 4 to 8 rows with between 4,096 and 262,144 ways to win. This expansion of the reel setup is done via the Avalanche feature, and ELK has thrown in a few fresh and innovative features to help you out in the base game.
The most notable is the Revolver feature, which is a mega symbol that can absorb symbols below itself and then represent all these symbols on the reels like a “semi-wild”. It can also turn fully wild if all chambers are filled. You will also benefit from a Compass that turns symbols into wilds, as well as a regular wild symbol. The main attraction, as always in this series, is the bonus round, and you can still win up to 5,000x your stake on a highly volatile game with an RTP of 96.1 %.
What symbols are there?
There is only one main character to be found here, and we are unsure whether the ever so mysterious Kane is a prospector, a sheriff or an outlaw this time around. Perhaps he’s all three at the same time, who knows, but at least he’s the highest paying symbol. That’s not saying all that much though, as all the symbols are of pretty low and equal value here. This is due to the game mechanics and features, which we’ll get into soon, but first we’ll present you with the paytable for Black River Gold slot:
- Kane - Pays 3x total stake for 6 on a payline
- Diamond - Pays 2x total stake for 6 on a payline
- Gold nugget - Pays 2x total stake for 6 on a payline
- Gemstone - Pays 2x total stake for 6 on a payline
- Pistol & Whisky glass - Pays 0.8x total stake for 6 on a payline
- Sheriff star & choker - Pays 0.8x total stake for 6 on a payline
- Royal symbols - All pay 0.3x total stake for 6 on a payline
What are the bonus features?
As with the other slots in ELK Studio’s gold series, you will also benefit from an Avalanche feature in Black River Gold. Winning symbols explode, and make room for new winning chances that drop from above. Also per usual in this series, the whole reel setup expands for each consecutive Avalanche win. This means that the number of rows and paylines increases as follows:
- 4 rows = 4,096 paylines
- 5 rows = 15,625 paylines
- 6 rows = 46,656 paylines
- 7 rows = 117,649 paylines
- 8 rows = 262,144 paylines
You will also benefit from Mega Symbols that can land in sizes 2x2, 3x3 and 4x4. These can be quite helpful along the way, and they also help break the monotony of the spinning reels, which is kind of refreshing.
A new and innovative twist has been added to these mega symbols this time, as they can turn into a six-shooter gun cylinder symbol if they land with an empty space underneath. This is called the Revolver feature, and this special mega symbol will absorb symbols underneath it into the bullet chambers. This effectively turns the Revolver symbol into a “multi-symbol” (or semi-wild) that represents all the symbols it has absorbed. If you fill all 6 of the bullet chambers, the Revolver symbol turns into a mega wild symbol that can represent all regular symbols like a wild normally does.
You can also land another special symbol that is very helpful, and this is the Compass. Depending on where the needle is pointing, the Compass will turn symbols on either side into wild symbols. The needle will move after the symbol lands, and it can point both in diagonal directions or east/west and north/south. There is also a regular red rose wild that can step in for all regular symbols to help form winning combos.
Free spins in Black River Gold
The free spins bonus round is what it’s really all about here, as all the base game features are mostly there to keep you afloat with small to medium wins. You will be granted 10, 15, 20 or 25 free spins respectively, when you land 3, 4, 5 or 6 scatters anywhere on the same spin. You can also retrigger the free spins feature by landing at least 3 new scatters during the bonus round.
A Safety Level feature now becomes active, and this means that the number of rows and paylines you have achieved does not reset on losing spins. The maximum number of rows is still 8, as in the base game, but the safety level feature makes it somewhat easier to climb to the top. When you land wild symbols, these become sticky. They will then accumulate at the bottom of the reels until they are all used up in what will most likely be a bigger win towards the end of the feature.
How to play
It’s not very complicated to get started with playing Black River Gold slot, but allow us to give you a quick rundown on what you need to keep in mind. First of all, it is always a good idea to check out the paytable to get an idea and feel about each symbol. This is one of those brilliant paytables that change values according to your chosen bet level, so you will always know exactly how much you stand to win.
You can read all about the bonus features and the paytable by clicking the hamburger menu in the top left corner. The next thing you need to decide is your bet level between 20p and £100 per spin. Bet lines are paid from left to right, and only the highest win is granted, which is not uncommon. You can choose to autoplay 10, 25, 50 or 100 spins, either via the auto symbol on the right-hand side, or by holding down the spin button for a few seconds.
Also the basic rules of the game are easily available from the hamburger menu, and there are 4 different in-game betting strategies to choose from. These strategies will change your bet size depending on your wins or losses, and each strategy is explained in detail inside the game menu. That’s pretty much it when it comes to how to play this game, and all you need to do now is hit the spin button and see where it takes you.
Where to play Black River Gold?
Reading about a game is fun enough, as it builds up anticipation and tells you all you need to know before you get started. However, nothing beats actually playing the game for the first time. Whether you prefer testing it out with play money first, or you feel ready for the real deal already, we provide you with the perfect solution either way.
Play for real money
No pain no gain, as they say. If you want to win money, you have to spend money, but the good news is that you can do so with bonus money from licensed casinos. If you follow the link below, you will be taken to our algorithmically selected top casinos where you can play Black River Gold slot right now: Casinos that carry Black River Gold.
Play free demo version
Perhaps you are not quite sure about this game yet? No worries, cause you can actually play the demo version of Black River Gold totally free without leaving this page. If you follow the link below, you will be taken to the top of the review page. Here we’ve made the demo version of the game available for you to check out immediately: Play Black River Gold demo game.
The 200 Spins Black River Gold Trial
After many years of playing online slots, we have come to the conclusion that around 200 spins is enough to give us a good first impression of a game. Please be aware that this is just our personal 200 spins experience with Black River Gold slot, and you might have a totally different experience when you play. Either way, here goes nothing.
We always set the bet level to £1 whenever possible, as this makes it easier to calculate the win per total stake from the paytable. Luckily, this game comes with a dynamic paytable, which makes our job all that much easier. We always chose to display the paytable in currency, not coins, as the whole coin thing is just too confusing.
After putting on the quickspin feature (another favorite for testing purposes), we set the autospin to 100 and leaned back with a cup of coffee. The first hundred spins were pretty much the same as the final 100 spins for us, and our impression is that you can look forward to many dead spins in a row here at times, but also some decent wins in the base game.
Being a highly volatile slot, this is not unexpected behaviour, and the bonus round is really where you can expect the bigger wins to come. We “avalanched” all the way to the 8 row setup a few times in the base game, but we still only won around 8 and 10 times our stake in total on these spins.
We triggered the free spins bonus round only once, and the 10 spins we got only landed us a “big win” of 30x our stake (thanks to the wild drop feature). So much for beginners luck, huh? Hopefully, you will be more lucky with your first 200 spins, but this is what you sign up for with a high variance game. We have no problem with that, as we know the really big wins will come sooner or later.
ELK Studios has certainly “struck gold” with their - by now - infamous gold series. The baseline is so solid that they can just keep making different versions of essentially the same game, and we’ll lap it up almost no matter what. Black River Gold offers just enough innovation and new features to give it a fresh feel, and we especially like the Revolver feature that essentially works like a semi-wild that can turn into a fully fledged mega wild symbol.
These somewhat minor twists are innoventive enough to make the game stick out, and make it well worth trying if you already like this series. If the idyllic wild west mountain atmosphere is not for you, well, then all you need to do is change to another one of Kane Steel’s many adventures. The max win potential is still a solid 5,000x your stake here also, and the volatility remains as high as ever.
- Avalanche feature with expanding rows/paylines
- Mega semi-wild Revolver symbol that can turn fully wild
- Free spins where the expanding reel set don’t reset
- High volatility and 5,000x max win potential
- Not all that different from other slots in the gold series
If you appreciate Black River Gold you should also try:
The nice thing about ELK Studio’s gold series, is that if you like one of them, you will most likely enjoy them all. The theme varies quite drastically for each game, yet the mysterious main character, Kane Steel, remains the same. Below, we’ll give you the lowdown of some slots you might enjoy if you like Black River Gold. Some of them will be others in the gold series, and some will come with a similar theme and/or features.
Voodoo Gold - is our personal favorite in the series, due to the dark and mysterious theme and the stunning visual presentation. You are taken on a journey deep into the swamps of Louisiana, and you’ll benefit from Mega symbols that can turn symbols below them into wilds. This only happens when a winning combo clears the space however, and it’s the innovative twist of this game.
TNT Tumble - is a very entertaining and innovative grid slot, and the most special thing about this game is the drilling wilds and the exploding TNT symbols. The bonus round max win goes all the way up to 12,278x, which is very good for a medium to high volatility slot. All in all, a great game to check out if you like a lot of wild west action.
Tahiti Gold - is yet another solid game in the gold series, and here you travel with Kane to a tropical island full of treasures and exotic natives. The audiovisual experience is very tribal, and this sets the pace for a highly volatile adventure and a psychedelic bonus round where it looks like Kane might have tested some of the local mushrooms.