Western Gold Megaways slot review
It's already 100 years passed since Wild West dropped off the face of the earth as a cultural phenomenon, and yet it continues to magnetize hearts and minds of millions of people, affecting various industries and even aspects of life. Wonder if the same thing happens to the Megaways mechanic, as it's been 4 years since the first tribute of the renowned engine and its relevance hasn't ever really faded.
At the crossroads of the two above-mentioned phenomenons, Western Gold Megaways goes into masses. The notorious provider iSoftBet, who has already shown they tamed the Big Time Gaming's engine and know how to treat it, comes up with another addition to the Megaways portfolio with Wild West-inspired slot. We have already seen some big updates and brand new hits such as Deadwood by Nolimit City and Dead or Alive 2 by NetEnt, and now the question is - will Wester Gold Megaways fit the niche and surpass the success of its rivals? Based on the experience of iSoftBet in working with the Megaways engine, we expect to discover something authentic and catchy, and the game is actually promising since the developers have taken a different approach to the game development than had been used in the NetEnt's and Nolimit's games.
Western Gold Megaways - Theme and Design
As alluded to earlier, iSoftBet's creation boasts a Wild West theme, though, the overall styling is completely different and comes with a drastically reimagined concept that was present in the slots with 'dead' in the title. The general atmosphere is way less brutal and profound, instead, Western Gold is bold and bright, and the general vibe is less 'Wild' actually, like a cartoonish representation of Old West. Loading the game will take you into the midst of Wild West town with the reels set against a saloon. The game offers perfect aesthetics when it comes to appearance for sure, as iSoftBet studios are known for their meticulous approach to the design, and Western Gold is no exception and shares an exceptional visual style. The soundtrack is on spot too, as a good 'ol Texas music whilst you spin the reels, picking up the tempo when you hit the bonus features, adding the final touch to the atmosphere.
The symbols include many familiar icons that are usually present in quite a lot of games using this particular theme. The symbol collection is a set of 10 regulars split into highs and lows. On the lower side, we get familiar A-10 royals, though, they actually correspond to the theme thanks to a touch of styling applied to give them a dash of personality. Anyway, the premiums are better and include in ascending order spurs, whiskey flasks, cowboy hats, and revolvers, with the last one being the most rewarding among the regulars and paying for two instances of the symbol, while to form winning combos with the rest you'll require at least 3-of-a-kind on a single payline. The highest rewards are given for 6 instances of the same symbol, and the top-paying revolver will award you 25x of the bet.
There're also Wild symbols included in the game, however, they do not have any own value, so you won't benefit much by matching a couple of them. They act as substitutes to any other regular symbols to assist you in making winning combinations or enhancing already existing ones. Moreover, you won't be able to land Wilds onto the first reel, as they can only appear on reels 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Western Gold Megaways - Technical Data
When it comes to the technical aspects, Western Gold sticks to the easy and soft approach unlike Deadwood or Dead or Alive 2, which are powered by a fairly brutal math model with extremely high variance. iSoftBet's brainchild comes with medium-high volatility, so it'll be easier to land successful spins, however, don't expect to be showered in them. Keep that in mind and adjust your bets wiser to survive in the long run since there are not so many things involved to assist you, and even the Wilds are deprived of any value. As for the RTP, it is solid at 95,98%, which is slightly lower than the average level within the industry, though, it's drastically boosted depending on the activated features up to 97%.
True to the Megaways style, Western Gold is played across a 6-reel layout with varying number of rows and paylines. The number of symbols in the rows and respectively the number of ways to play is randomly determined at the beginning of each spin, and you can get from 2 to 7 rows and 64 to 117,649 betways. The betting range in Western Gold is common to almost all slots powered by the Megaways engine, and players drop in by placing from 0.2$ to 20$ per spin. The maximum potential is decent, though, we've seen way bigger winning amounts in many Megaways slots, but taking into consideration the volatility level, it's actually pleasant. You can hope for a win of 12,000 times the bet, which is 240,000$ on a single spin in case you play with the max bet option available.
Western Gold Megaways - Bonus Features
Following the tendency among Wild West-inspired games, iSoftBet has decided to not saturate the gameplay with dozens of features, leaving it for a couple of extras and keeping it simple. The devs even omitted the Free Spins round, though, it has been replaced by another exciting and lucrative feature.
After checking the payable out, another iSoftBet's slot immediately comes to mind - Aztec Gold Megaways. The feature set is almost identical, and the only difference lies within the figures. It seems like the developers desire to occupy both niches in the market, though, if only Western Gold manages to follow Aztec Gold's footsteps of success.
As in the predecessor and most of the Megaways title, the Cascading Wins mechanic is present in Western Gold. Every time you succeed in landing a winning combo, all the winning symbols get removed from the grid to allow new ones to tumble down onto the reels. The feature continues up to the moment when no new winning combinations are available. It's added to most of Megaways games for a reason since it works perfectly paired to it, allowing to launch a chain of consecutive wins thanks to such a great number of ways to play.
As we already mentioned above, the Free Spins are substituted by another feature, and it is considered the heart of the game. Firstly introduced in Aztec Gold Megaways, Gold Cash Respins feature has made its way to Western Gold, though, with a few adjustments. Even though the Free Spins feature is omitted, the Scatters are still available, and this time they are the key to triggering the Gold Cash Respins. Land 5 or more sheriff badge symbols anywhere in view to activate the bonus. The feature locks the reelset and number of paylines, so you won't be able to expand it in case you lacked some luck and got to the feature with only a 6x2-sized grid.
Anyway, the Scatters get locked in their positions and you proceed to the bonus game where sheriff badges are the only symbols that can land onto the game filed during the round. You'll get 3 Respins to start, and whenever you manage to land a new Scatter, the Respins will reset to the initial 3 spins. Each new Scatter remains in the position and the Respins continue up to the moment when no spins are left or the whole grid is filled with Scatters.
Each sheriff badge symbol has an attached bet Multiplier value or a fixed Jackpot to it. The Multiplier values vary from 1x to 6x, while Mini, Major, and Mega Jackpots worth 10x, 25x, and 50x of the bet respectively. The Jackpot values have been significantly cut in comparison to Aztec Gold, however, you don't have to bother about it since the feature is still extremely lucrative and rewarding. Moreover, you can benefit from filling the entire reel with Scatters, as a Multiplier that is equal to the number of rows in the reel will be applied to all attached to the Scatters values. This way, after landing a Mega Jackpot you can turn it into a 350x Multiplier if you're lucky enough to fill the 7-row reel with Scatters.
Based on the developer's info, the Gold Cash Respins pop up approximately once in every 160 spins, however, you can advance to the bonus game a lot faster by using the Bonus Buy feature. It does not only immediately take you straight to the action, but also boosts the return to player percentage up to 97%, which doubles the benefit. To activate the Bonus Buy feature you'll need 50x of the bet, which is not the highest value we've seen so far and can even be considered cheap for such value.
Western Gold Megaways - Verdict
All said and done, iSoftBet's brainchild is a controversial slot indeed. On one hand, it really fits the niche of quality Wild West-themed slots, and even manages to stand out from this pile thanks to the unique feature set. On the other hand, it's an old game, restyled and brought to the public in a new package.
Even though it can be considered a bona fide copy of an old slot, it is still enjoyable and keeps you entertained during the session. The setting as well the graphics are excellent, and the suspenseful soundtrack keeps you really thrilled as you launch the bonus game, capturing the essential Wild West vibe. Cash Gold Respins feature is another of the highlights, and the developers surely succeeded with their effort to enliven the gameplay in a different way by adding authentic features rather than jaded Free Spins. The Bonus Buy option also is a virtue, as you get twice the benefit for such a reasonable price.
Moreover, even the Jackpots have been drastically cut, it doesn't result in a meager potential as you still have a chance to win a decent amount of up to 12,000 times the bet on a single spin. The fact that iSoftBet hasn't omitted them is a plus and will be one of the main reasons players will be drawn to spin the reels in Western Gold Megaways. However, those not into the theme or lowered volatility and potential won't find a lot here to get immersed, so Aztec Gold will be a better option. Otherwise, this title is worth a couple of spins.