Cowboys Gold: Slot Overview
In Cowboys Gold, Pragmatic Play rewinds the clock about 150 years and takes players to one of their favourite parts of the world, North America. More specifically, to the good old Wild West that has seen countless slots blowing through town like tumbleweeds. Cowboy Gold's uncomplicated gaming offers decent returns if players can squeeze the max value out of its features, such as the Money Collect system or free spins. For some simplified, old fashioned slots action, tie up your nag and read on pardner.
Right in the middle of a candlelit saloon is where players find the 5-reel, 10-payline game area. A stack of wood has been used in the design. Not only for the tables and barrels adorning the fine establishment, but nailed together to prop up the reels. There's also rope, looped ominously over one of the frame's corners, and knowing how quick they were to lynch people back then, players best behave in there. Trigger the bonus and a dramatic in-theme soundtrack completes the scene, adding plenty of atmosphere while emphasizing the seriousness of the task at hand.
Hitting the plus or minus buttons selects bets as low as 10 p/c or as high as £/€50 per spin, on any device. Pragmatic Play's volatility meter rates the game as medium-high, meaning it might not be the buckingist bronco in the pen, but sessions can easily go either way. On the bright side, while the stated potential might not be the highest Pragmatic has claimed, it does seem more achievable than what is sometimes advertised by the studio. Default RTP, meanwhile, is about as sturdy as it gets with a figure of 96.5%.
Like a straight-up shot of bourbon at the bar, the gameplay is about as simple as it gets - 10 fixed paylines are there to land winning combinations of three to five of a kind on for a payout. Symbols used are all in theme as well, which isn't hard to do when designed this kind of game.
On the low side are J-A royals styled in the kind of wavy-edged Western design you would expect to find. Next are an assortment of cowboy symbols, followed by high pay spurs, whiskey bottles, and guns. As the top premium, it's the golden horseshoes you want since they payout on two of a kind, all the way up to 75x the bet when a line of five forms. The final common symbol is the sheriff's badge wild. It lands on all five reels to replace any of the pay symbols to help pull together a winning combo.
Cowboys Gold: Slot Features
Cowboys Gold isn't exactly a vehicle showcasing what's hot in slot design right now. Pragmatic Play has settled on a couple of dependable features to provide the biggest wins. These are the Money Collect feature and rounds of free spins.
When the cowboy symbols land, some of them may possess a small coin overlay displaying a value of 1 to 100x the bet. If they show up at the same time as the renegade symbol on the fifth reel, their values are collected and paid out. This is known as the Money Collect feature and can happen both in the base or bonus game.
Free spins are activated when 3 bonus symbols land on the middle three reels at any point in the base game. They bestow 10 free spins which can be retriggered when three bonus symbols are in view or the renegade symbol lands at the same time as any number of bonus symbols.
Free spins can be retriggered up to three times. Each time they are, additional spins are added while a multiplier comes into the game. So, the first, second, and third retrigger awards 5 more free spins plus a win multiplier of x2, x3, or x5 respectively. A little meter to the top right of the reels lets you know which one is active. Win multipliers will also be applied to any prizes won from the Money Collect feature if triggered from a free spin.
Cowboys Gold: Slot Verdict
While Cowboys Gold is an solid slot, it doesn't quite make as much of an impression when compared to other popular slots in the genre such as Deadwood or Dead or Alive 2 . The Western category has a ton of options, and Cowboys Gold struggles to compete in the same class. Moreover, players will have seen the features before, particularly the Money Collect, which is similar to the one used in Mustang Gold. About the only original thing about Cowboys Gold is the odd cigar-puffing skeleton in the sheriff's hat image. Quite exactly what it refers to is anyone's guess.
On a brighter note, free spins are alright and are where the bigger money can be made. Full-screen combos or the Money Collect in conjunction with an x5 multiplier is the game's pinnacle moment and can lead to interesting results. At best, solid wins of up to 6,065x the bet are possible. A slightly more modest figure than usual from Pragmatic Play, yet one that sounds more realistic when compared to others they've dangled.
We're a bit divided about Cowboys Gold. Having played it for many hours, triggering the x5 multiplier in the bonus seems harder than landing a wild line in Dead or Alive, which you can't help but feel is a bit ridiculous.
Overall though, it isn't a terrible game. It's hard to go too wrong when incorporating all the brilliant imagery and sound effects developers can lift from the Wild West, and Pragmatic Play has done so in a commendable way. In the long run, it's got nothing on Deadwood and Dead or Alive, but the visual design is pleasing enough, the music does what it's supposed to do, and along with some solid gameplay, it's definitely worth a try.
Cowboys Gold is a passable Western game which might make an okay sideshow for hardcore outlaw wannabes.