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Black Gold slot review

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Black Gold

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First released by Betsoft in June of 2016, Black Gold is a 5-reel, 30-payline video slot from innovative provider Betsoft that immerses players directly in a Texas oil field setting. With catchy 3D graphics and sound effects that capture the feel of a functioning rig, the Black Gold slot machine incorporates lucrative bonus features like the Drilling For Oil and Free Spins atop its industrial aesthetic for an engaging gameplay experience with significant win potential.

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Key facts

Year of release:2016
Lines (adjustable?):30 (Yes)
Bet sizes:$0.01 - $330
Wild symbol:Yes
Scatter symbol:Yes (3)
Free spins:Yes
Maximum win:$4,400
Progressive jackpot:No

The structure of Black Gold is built on a foundation of 5 reels and 30 paylines, offering players a broad canvas on which to plot their strategies. The game’s design allows for adjustable paylines, providing a measure of flexibility in how players approach their bets.

Notably, the game diverges from conventional video slot design by omitting wild symbols (in fact, the Wild functionality is available in one bonus feature), instead offering a centre reel re-spins feature as a compensatory mechanism. 

Symbols and payouts

With its rich narrative woven around the early days of oil exploration, the Black Gold slot machine features 8 regular and 3 bonus symbols. These symbols range from elements directly associated with oil drilling to iconic representations of the old Wild West lifestyle. Below, we delve into the exposition of these symbols and their respective payouts.

Regular symbols

  • Oil Tycoon (Ol’ Bill): 100x, 200x, 400x
  • Horse: 200x, 100x, 50x
  • Oil Barrels: 100x, 50x, 25x
  • $ Bills & Cowboy Hat: 80x, 40x, 20x
  • Oil Drop: 60x, 30x, 15x
  • Valve Wheel: 50x, 25x, 10x
  • Wall-mounted horns: 25x, 10x, 5x
  • No Trespassing Sign: 10x, 5x, 2x

Bonus symbols

The Black Gold sot machine also features special symbols that unlock the game’s bonus features and offer additional pathways to winnings:

  • Barn: Triggers the Nighttime Free Spins Mode, does not offer direct payouts but multiplies winnings during free spins
  • Drill: Activates the Drilling for Oil Click Me Bonus, offering instant cash prizes rather than conventional payouts.
  • Oil Pump: Triggers the Higher or Lower Bonus Round, leading to potential bonus winnings based on successful guesses.

Max win calculations

The payouts listed above apply to a line bet. For example, the max win for hitting five trespassing signs on an active line is $0.5 if you have wagered $1.5 per spin (5 cents per line). Similarly, the highest potential win is for landing five Oil Tycoons. If you bet max ($330 per spin), the winning combo will earn you $11 x 400 = $4,400.

Black Gold slot bonus features

Quite unexpectedly, the video slot has two second-screen bonus rounds, free spins and respins with a multiplier boost. Each of the bonuses, except for respins, is triggered by a unique scatter (see above for detail). The hit frequency is about 50:1 for any bonus when you play for real money or for fun. 

Nighttime free spins

bonus feature_1Landing 3 or more Barn scatter symbols triggers a free spin round (the exact number of FS is unknown). The game background changes to a night scene where the Barn itself becomes a wild. Every time the Barn lands anywhere, it acts as a wild substitute for normal symbols. Additionally, it increases the win by a multiplier, starting at 2x. With every subsequent win, the multiplier steps up and can ultimately reach 10x. Also, note that no bonus feature can be activated from within the free spins. 

Drilling For Oil Click Me bonus

bonus feature_2Triggered by landing three or more Drill scatter symbols, this feature presents players with several drills. The player’s task is to choose one, revealing an instant cash prize. This bonus round is emblematic of the gamble inherent in drilling for oil – a single choice can result in a significant find or come up dry. The simplicity of the Click Me mechanic, combined with the thematic coherence of drilling for a reward, makes this feature a compelling addition to the game.

Higher Or Lower bonus round

Bonus feature_3Triggering 3 or more Oil Pump bonus symbols starts a secondary feature screen. Here Oil Pumps signify numbers, and players guess whether the next pump number shown will be higher or lower than the current one. This classic higher-lower guessing game continues so long as players keep making correct predictions, further enhancing payout potential through the multiplier that increments by 1x per consecutive correct guess.

Our opinion

The video slot is very good despite its pretty low max loot ($4,400, to recap). The main game has no substitute symbol, but frequent central reel respins seem to compensate for this shortcoming. The second-screen features are good, though nothing exceptional largely. The hit rate is a bit below 24%, making it a medium-high volatility video slot, contrary to the ‘Medium’ tag on Betsoft’s site. We think the game is a bit boring, but generally, it retains the quality and elegance of the Betsoft collection.