Goblins & Gemstones: Slot Overview
Kalamba Games are an interesting bunch, consistently releasing slots that dip and dive around the radar, some resonating with players, others not so much. In Goblins & Gemstones, the studio appears to be throwing down the gauntlet for gamblers who like a challenge, as well as rewards to back them up. The game spits out some huge numbers, based on the kind of math model which could very well burn in the wrong hands. On the whole, Goblins & Gemstones is a fine game to play, though there are a few caveats to be aware of before taking the beast on. Time to see what they are.
Let's start by calling a spade a spade shall we. There is no getting around the fact Goblins & Gemstones is very closely related to Gringotts Bank. You know the place where Harry Potter's parents stashed their gold for Harry when he came of age. It was supposedly one of the safest places on earth, second only to Hogwarts itself according to Hagrid when he took Harry to get some of it. Hopefully, this one isn't too safe, because players will want to get their hands on those coins strewn about.
In a nutshell, the action takes place in a bank vault run by said goblins and played using 5-reels along with 1,024 win ways. While the concept isn't brand new, Kalamba has done a good job of recreating it. Graphically, Goblins & Gemstones is of a high standard, as is the soundtrack, with plenty of animations tying it all together – not only during play, but the paytable is full of them as well. The total effect is pretty slick and sets an encouraging mood.
Moving on to the game's vital statistics where Kalamba has stepped up. Starting with volatility, which the studio has rated the full 10 out of 10, so 'high' in plain English. The RTP comes in two forms; the default figure is 96.3%, rising even further to 97.10% when the HyperBonus is activated. For a game that sounds so potentially brutal on paper, features trigger surprisingly often, though don't expect to smash down the vault door to grab armfuls of gems each time. Symbols values are depressed to compensate for the numerous features drops, as well as a hit frequency of 23.23%.
Goblins & Gemstones comes with 11 regular pay symbols in total. Six of them are 9-A card royals, while keys, scales, and three goblins make up the remaining five. You generally need 3 of a kind at least to form a win, except for the top premium which needs only two of a kind. Should five premiums symbols line up, then payouts from 1.8x to 4 x the bet occur. Players get 1,024 ways to win, so as long as matching symbols land on adjacent reels from the leftmost reel, you've got some coins. Helping matters is the treasure chest wild, substituting for any of the pay symbols.
Goblins & Gemstones: Slot Features
During the base game, three coloured gems may land in any position, each associated with a collection meter sitting on the right-hand side of the screen. Now, for each gem stone that lands in view, the respective collection meter is incremented. When 20 symbols of a given gem has been collected, the game triggers the 5 Collection Spins associated with the meter accordingly:
- Green gems award the Scatter Split feature where one symbol is randomly selected to be the Scatter Split symbol. These symbols pay in any position and may count as 2 or 3 matching symbols in the reel they appear.
- Red gems award the Paired Reels feature. Before it begins, a number of adjacent reels are randomly selected to synchronise and display the same symbols.
- Blue gems award the Locked Symbols feature. Again, one symbol is randomly selected, and instances of it are added to the top of the reels in arbitrary locations.
Alternatively, should 3 scatter symbols land, players are awarded 2x the bet, and may choose one of the three bonus games to play. The difference now is the Paired Reels, Locked Symbols, and Scatter Split games come with 7, 8 or 10 free spins, respectively. While bonus games are active, the +1 symbol may land, adding an extra spin to the remaining amount.
Lastly, and this one is dependent on jurisdiction, is the HyperBonus. For the unusually precise sum of 49.4x the bet, players can pick one of the three bonus games, as if they had triggered them by scatter symbols.
Goblins & Gemstones: Slot Verdict
It felt like Kalamba Games had turned a corner with Raging Bull, and in a way Goblins & Gemstones continues the positive trajectory. One of the criticisms of Raging Bull was the modest potential didn’t quite follow through on the high standard of gaming. Goblins & Gemstones destroys this critique, where wins of up to 38,890 times the stake are possible. Before rushing in to take on the goblins though, here are a few points about the features to consider.
For one, Paired Reels are static, they don't bounce around the grid at random like they do in games like Twin Spin. The first time triggering them from the HyperBonus, reels 1-3 were paired, meaning every spin would produce a win. Unfortunately, three of a kind values are so low that after 22 consecutive winning spins we hadn't broken even.
Locked Symbols suffer a similar fate since they are fixed once set; there is no way to grow them as in other games like in White Rabbit for example. To their credit, it's possible for the wild to be chosen, which can lead to a stream of wins. Lastly, Split Symbols are a little more technical than they first appear. If you get the triple variety, for example, a single tile won't pay out, you still need at least three (or two of the top goblins) to form a combo. It's certainly not as sophisticated as xWays or the Splitz mechanic.
After those observations there are plenty of positive points as well. There's the big max win of course, with the volatile math model to suit. Features were plentiful, so there was always something to do. Then again, if they aren't frequent enough, buying them outright can be done at a reasonable cost. All up, Goblins & Gemstones is a good release from Kalamba and one with a high entertainment factor.
Like a goblin bank employee, Goblins & Gemstones might have a few warts and wrinkles, but it also has a lot of wealth stored in its vault.