Rocky’s Gold: Overview
What is it with the mining theme at the moment? Like a pesky wall of rock stuffed with dynamite, it's blowing up, with several releases over the past few weeks. As more contenders get in the ring, it's getting harder for each new one to stand out from the bunch. Rocky's Gold from Northern Lights Gaming certainly stands out as a singular performance; unfortunately, not exactly for the right reasons.
If you had to sum up this game in one word, it would be clunky. The animations have an awkward quality to them, and a slow pace to match. Rocky himself looks like Larry Laffer in a prospecting outfit, and moves like the character in that Tetka falling body game. If you haven't had the pleasure of playing that one, it's an older Flash game that featured weird physics and a main character who bounced over various obstacles flopping and flapping along the way. Such is the dire nature of Rocky's Gold that it forces you to dig deep in search of appropriate metaphors.
Rocky's Gold runs on a 5x3 grid with 20 fixed paylines. The game in this make-believe world is brought to us by the Oresome Mining Company. Get it, Oresome, like ore, or gold. That makes sense. So why the heck are there so many crystals? There is a bit of gold floating around, okay, we can give it that. But if you block out the background, and everything but the grid, it looks like an Asian themed slot with all that red/gold styling, crystals, and calligraphy styled royals.
The royals, as usual, take up space at the bottom of the paytable, followed by green, blue and red crystal shards, topped off by the RG logo worth 25 times the stake for five. Stakes can be had for 20 p/c a spin up to £/€100 max. The figures are alright, it's a shame about the woeful delivery system serving them up. RTP sits on a solid 96.54%, and the high volatility is paired with pretty decent potential to be fair.
Rocky’s Gold: Features
Features are in theme, and there are several to contend with. First up is the TNT Bonus which is made up of two symbols, a detonator and a box of dynamite which can appear on reels 3 and 4. As you've might have guessed, when they land side by side, they trigger the TNT bonus. This sees Rocky picking a low-value symbol and changing all incidents of it on the reels into a high-value symbol. This process continues until Rocky blows himself and the TNT symbols away.
Rocky sure does like to nuke stuff. He also appears during the Wild Bonus which can trigger at any time on a losing spin. He proceeds to throw three types of dynamite onto reels to turn symbols wild. A single dynamite turns one symbol wild, multiple dynamites turn several symbols wild, and the big stick turns a whole section of symbols wild.
Finally there is the Pay Dirt Bonus which revolves around the Pick Me scatter symbol. This is what's on offer:
- 2 scatter symbols - Triggers the Pick Me Bonus. players select one of the 2 scatter symbols to win either cash prizes or 5 free spins. In the majority of cases, of course, you get a cash prize that is just ridiculous and rarely even gives you your money's worth for the spin.
- 3 scatter symbols - Activates the Pay Dirt Bonus round with 10 free spins.
- 4 scatter symbols - Activates the Pay Dirt Bonus round with 15 free spins.
- 5 scatter symbols - Activates the Pay Dirt Bonus round with 20 free spins.
During the Pay Dirt Bonus round, there is a chance for a reel modifier to be applied to each spin. Below the reels you'll see a conveyor belt carrying rocks out of which some have golden nuggets in them - these rocks add various modifiers onto the reels that can come in the form of wild reels, win multipliers and locked modifiers. If the locked modifier is applied, either the wild reel or multiplier is held over to the next spin.
Rocky’s Gold: Verdict
Where to begin with Rocky’s Gold? How about we deconstruct it from the moment it loads. The opening screen is promising and has a nice scrolling effect that leads into the game. That bit has been done quite well and feels welcoming. Then, the game settles in, and it all slides down the mine shaft. With Rocky’s Gold, the first impression doesn’t last, but the second and third risk tainting your interest in future mining themed slots. The overall concept isn't awful; you can see what the creative team were aiming for. With a bit of polish, okay, a ton of polish, we might have something of value on our hands. Sadly, poor execution has devastated whatever potential the game ever had.
It goes to show how powerful the details are. On paper, the game's features sound enticing. In action, the implementation is painful. It comes down to annoying animations, ugly charmless looks, and the sluggish pace in which it all takes place. The overall experience is amateurish and old fashioned.
This slapdash approach permeates many aspects of the game. Take the auto spin menu, for instance. It brings back images of the late 90s or early 2000s. It wouldn't be out of place next to Free Cell, Hearts, and Minesweeper as part of the Windows 95 package. We mentioned ok features, but scatters and free spins can take an age to trigger, likely due to all the base game extras. It might be quicker, and more convenient, to invent a time machine, head back to 1849, swim to California and start breaking rocks with your hands in the hope of striking the pay dirt free spins.
Rocky’s Gold is mess suffering from poor execution, anachronistic symbols and animation that is at least 10 years late to the party.