Fishin’ For Gold (iSoftBet): Overview
It there is one universal pastime it just might be fishing. Anglers across the globe feel the primal urge to bait up and cast off in hopes of landing the big one. In a way, it’s similar to playing slots, and there are quite a few fishing themed games floating around. Not many take place on the ice though which is where iSoftBet's latest is set. If you are one of those people that don't get the lure of fishing, then ice fishing must seem the strangest variant of all. It involves sitting for hours in the freezing cold, hoping that a fish will come along and bite. Fishin' For Gold gives players the chance for some icy angling action from the warm and cosy comfort of their device.
The recent batch of slots from iSoftBet have used a mix of conventional and unorthodox setups. Fishin' For Gold is a more traditional take, however, that uses 5 reels, 3 rows, and 25 fixed paylines. Visually, it has a cartoon feel with bright colours and great design. The backdrop of this icy world is populated by a mash up of creatures from both hemispheres whilst the music is unbelievably jolly - this combines with the cute characters to add a bit of warmth to the icy theme. Players bait up each spin with bets ranging from 25 p/c to £/€25 each by selecting appropriate coin values. The base game is super straight forward - match three or more symbols on a payline for a win, with no wilds on hand to help out.
The 8 symbols that fill out the paytable are like night and day. On one hand are uninspiring J – A royals that are completely devoid of personality. The high pays are more interesting and include a classic old boot that every cartoon character reels in when they are fishing. Next is a bucket of fish, a southern penguin, and a northern polar bear. The polar bear is worth the most at 40 times the stake for five on a payline. As mentioned before, there are no wilds during the base game, but they do appear later in the bonus round to spice things up.
At the time of writing, many of the key stats were not officially available. The boffins with their slide rulers are still calculating the RTP which currently sits in TBC status. Going by iSoftBet's recent releases, it is likely to turn out to be something in the 95% - 97% range. Volatility is also not officially confirmed yet either, but test runs were brutal, so a high(ish) rating is certainly on the cards. Often the cutest looking slots ends up being a rough ride and Fishin For Gold reaffirmed that concept. Like real fishing, there is a lot of hanging around not doing much. In this case, it means a fair number of dead spins where a wild might have helped tie players over till the bonus game is unlocked.
Fishin’ For Gold (iSoftBet): Features
During the base game, an extra bump of excitement comes from the Bonus Symbol. When exactly 2 of these fishy icons land, they are added to the Bonus Chance Meter that sits above the reels. The meter is divided into 100 red parts to start with, and each pair of Bonus Symbol turns one of those parts green. Players can activate the meter at any time, which costs 1x the current bet. It spins a needle, and if it lands on the green area, then the Bonus Game is triggered. If the needle lands in the red there is no Bonus Game and the meter is reset back to its starting level.
Alternatively, if three Bonus Symbols land, they automatically trigger the Fishin' For Gold Bonus. This game starts by allowing you to choose one of four keen animal anglers – a polar bear, penguin, walrus, and a grumpy looking lion. Each one sits over a hole in the ice with a pole and pulls in their catch. Each fish they pull in is worth a free spin, and each symbol pulled up adds a wild. Some wilds can even come with multipliers of x2, x3, or x5 attached to them. What helps is that when more than one multiplier is part of a combination their values are added for better results.
During free spins, one more symbol appears on the reels. This is the Gone Fishing symbol which players collect when they appear. Every time three of these symbols are collected they add 2 more free spins to the pile.
Fishin’ For Gold (iSoftBet): Verdict
Like its physical counterpart there can be a lot of downtime doing nothing with Fishin’ For Gold. And just like real fishing, there will be some people who are quite content with waiting around for the big one to bite. It’s unlikely too many players have the desire to sit through so many dead spins, and low action spins before something exciting happens though. Not to mention the amount of time it takes to rack up a decent number on the Bonus Chance Meter. After a quiet patch, it is hard not to hit the bonus button, even if only a few symbols have been collected. Needless to say, shed loads of luck is required for the needle to trigger the bonus round in that scenario.
When the Bonus Round does come to life the game can improve. To stay with the metaphor, this is the moment a fisherman has finally hooked something and is battling to reel it in. With the introduction of wilds and multipliers, the game finally kicks it up a gear with a chance for quite decent rewards. Collect a few Gone Fishin’ symbols for extra spins, and things start looking up. Yet, it's all over soon enough, and it's back to sitting on a bucket by the ices’ edge, staring at a line in the water.
In short, patience is not just a virtue but a requirement when it comes to playing Fishin' For Gold. Guards that stand outside royal palaces and aren't allowed to budge a muscle might be good candidates. They'd have the mental prep for setting up a bunch of auto spins and watching them tick by while they stand stock still. Most players want a bit more excitement than that though.
Fishin’ for Gold’s attractive looks and great premise is at odds with its frustrating mathematical design which often involves long wait for something to bite.