Arena of Gold Slot: Overview
There was a bit of nervous anticipation about reviewing the latest All41Studios release . The Estonian developer hasn’t quite produced a break-out slot and the last couple have been more or less carbon copies of other games. They are yet to come up with something that will put them on the map and earn the adulation of partners Microgaming. Arena of Gold is unlikely to be the one. It continues the tradition of taking someone else’s idea, making a few cosmetic adjustments and shipping to the gaming public. Eagle eyed players will recognize it as a slot heavily inspired by Pragmatic Play’s slots Wolf Gold and Money Mouse slots. So already it has lost points for lack of originality and will have to work hard to pull back from that poor start.
Well, it’s not a horrible looker so there is at least one tick in the pro column. The reels are located, where else, in the middle of a sandy arena surrounded by cheering crowds. It’s not quite the Colosseum of Rome, it’s smaller, lighter, if we were going to take a stab at location, maybe North Africa? Somewhere Mediterranean at least, it’s got that blue sky quality of light to it. In any case, Arena of Gold provides slot gladiators with 5 reels, 3 rows, and 25 fixed paylines to do battle - trident and net are optional. What is not are stakes, on the real money version that is, which can be had from 10 p/c up to £/€50 per spin. Ante up, and it’s into the arena where anything can happen, to an extent. What helps is a solid RTP of 96.20% and a hit rate of 28.28%, though the medium volatility keeps it on a tighter leash.
One of the main weapons in any slot warriors’ arsenal are symbols and there are 8 regular symbols in total - 4 low and 4 high pay. An SPQR kind of font has been used to style the low pay J-A royals which are worth 0.3x – 3x the stake for three to five of a kind. Four clean cut gladiators make up the premiums – a brown, green, blue, and a red one which is worth 20 times the stake for five of a kind. The sinister grinning emperor is the wild which appears anywhere to substitute for any other pay symbol. The wild is also worth the same amount as the top pay symbol too at 20x for a line of five.
Arena of Gold Slot: Features
A couple of additional features bulk out the game, and they feel a little familiar, particularly if you’ve spent time playing Asian themed slots. The first is the Golden Re-Spins feature which ties in with the three prizes displayed above the reels– the Mini, Mega, and Maxi. Golden Re-Spins can be triggered during the base game, or free spins by landing at least 6 coins which hold values of 1x – 100x the bet on each.
The Re-Spin feature starts with 3 spins and this time only coins or blank spaces can appear. If a new coin symbol lands, the number of free spins resets to 3 again. The feature can end one of two ways. Either the spins run out, in which case the player is paid the value of all coins, which can include the Mini and Mega wins. If however, all positions are filled with coins, players win the amount they display as well as the top Maxi prize worth 1,000 times the stake.
The second feature is a round of Free Spins with 5 spins awarded when 3 Colosseum scatter symbols land in view. Once in, you'll benefit from the middle three reels being merged into one to hold only big 3x3 symbols. This, of course, increases the probability of scoring big wins.
Scatters remain on the reels during the free spins round and 3 in view award 3 more spins to the round. One technical point about the Big Symbol is that it counts as 9 regular symbols, or 9 coins, but just one scatter.
Arena of Gold Slot: Verdict
Ballsy or desperate. Pick one, because one of these words describes what is going on over at All41Studios. First was Book of Atem, with its borrowing of features from the 'Book of' series, followed by an even more blatant copy of Starburst with Space Enigma, and now Wolf Gold has been bastardised. It's astonishing really. What makes it so strange, is that they have a good team of developers over there. Arena of Gold, like others in their range, is a good looking slot, with smooth animations, decent sounds, and a professional intro. All41Studios clearly has the talent to make games, they would just benefit from a more original creative team feeding them ideas and steering the ship.
Credit where it is due, the graphics team has done a good job capturing a watered down version of the era, sans blood and gore. A Disney version of the gladiatorial games if you will. Too bad that watered down approach filters through to the math model and rewards too. In an arena where life and death were a hair’s breadth apart, where the crowd demanded blood, Arena of Gold is a little tame and won’t be super appealing to the hardcore gamers out there. For some casual gambling, its cartoon looks and features might suit, not to mention its 2,400x potential. On top of that are Wolf Gold fans that might get a kick out of the reboot.
Arena of Gold continues the copycat path All41Studios has set themselves on and they appear to be struggling to kick the habit. In a nutshell, if you can picture Wolf Gold or Money Mouse dressed up for a toga party you’ve pretty much nailed Arena of Gold.
Arena of Gold could have been released 5 years ago and still not have stood out against its competitors in any way, shape or form.