Volatile Slot (Golden Rock Studios): Overview
Volatile Slot comes from young development company Golden Rock Studios in partnership with Microgaming. Golden Rock was founded by two industry heavyweights and state that their games are made by gamblers, for gamblers (we've never heard that one before). Their mission is to "place players at the forefront of their ideas and take them to a happy place". Okay, lofty goals so far, so how does reality compare to the company goals?
It is easy to have a reaction that sits on the scale between negative and lukewarm when Volatile Slot first loads. It’s largely due to the name - aren’t all slots by default volatile, whether that is low, medium, or high? You would assume they mean highly volatile, but the first view of the game would suggest otherwise. It’s a completely underwhelming 5-reel, 3-row slot with 10 paylines set against a South Pacific background. A volcano smoulders menacingly in the distance, while palms and beach fronts frame the foreground. Players choose a stake from 10 c/p up to £/€10, and away they go.
The first initial spins do little to improve enthusiasm, and we were quick to write this one-off. A space above the reels plays a different message with each spin. One of the first we got was ‘You are a golden rock star’, after winning 40c which did not seem like a good omen. However, you know what they say about not judging a book by its cover. There is a whole lot more going on here than initially meets the eye.
As the name would suggest, the volatility of Volatile Slot is high, and comes with an RTP rating of 96.1%. Symbols are adequate to the task, and are made up of 10 - A icons where three or more make a winning combination. The remaining four base game symbols are drums, a fire, a shrine, and a mystical Pacific Island lady. Winning combinations of these symbols are formed by two or more of a kind. The lady is the most valuable at 40 times the stake. So far, so what. Right? That’s how it felt during testing as well.
Volatile Slot (Golden Rock Studios): Features
Volatile Slot has several extras, and on the whole, they are simple and stand back to let the gameplay flow rather than dominate it. There are two wilds – Volcanic Wilds and Exploding Wilds. Volcanic Wilds appear on reels 2, 3, and 4 and substitute for any other symbol. They can also randomly become Exploding Wilds which also substitute for other symbols but explode and award a multiplier of x2, x3, or x4. When more than one Exploding Wild lands the multipliers are multiplied together. The most there can be is 3 Exploding wilds which result in a decent multiplier of x64.
Any 3 wilds in view on the grid also trigger 10 Free Spins. During this round, the rules remain the same as the base game, and free spins can be retriggered. What players get though is a different set of reels with more Volcanic Wilds and Exploding Wilds added to make the action somewhat more interesting.
Volatile Slot (Golden Rock Studios): Verdict
The Golden Rock website claims that the company uses innovative maths and proven mechanics in their games, and while that may or may not be true, you can't help but feel that the developers deceived themselves by simply thinking high volatility and huge potential would be enough to make a great slot. Sure, knowing the potential that could be lurking just around the corner does extend the game's shelf life, but the gameplay and graphics are so basic that it gets extremely tedious real quick. Much of the time it's about as exciting as scrolling through an Excel sheet.
Golden Rock state that they know players want to win BIG! (their capitals, not ours). Since they have largely lived up to their claims so far, players will want to know exactly how big. With Volatile Slot, we are talking about max potential of up to 25,600 times the stake. The first time that flashed across the message bar, it felt like a typo. Initially, however, it can be hard to correlate that figure with the basic graphics, and a name that feels like it was lost in translation. Just how realistic those numbers are remains to be seen. We certainly didn't come anywhere close to that during our testing. Moreover, with a max bet of €/£ 100, there is good reason to believe that the max win is capped.
Of course, the high potential alone could be enough to get people talking, but it will need more than that to stand up against all other other insanely popular high variance, ultra high potential slots out there. Unless the potential is actualized real soon in the form of screenshots and Youtube videos, Volatile Slot will become an extinct volcano.
There isn’t enough in Volatile Slot to compel anyone but the most adamant of gamblers.