Voodoo Gold (ELK Studios): Overview
You have to hand it to Kane. He has a real knack for landing in dangerous situations that would get the better of most people. Not him though. He manages to flip these to his advantage, one time a king of Tahiti, another stumbling onto the Temple of Lost Luck. Now he finds himself in the deep, dank mangrove swamps of Louisiana. This is Voodoo country, where the mundane twists into something dark and unusual in an instant. This time fate hasn’t worked against him, and he is here on purpose chasing the legend of the Voodoo Gold. The only problem is that the first step involves submitting himself to the power of the Voodoo shaman. What could go wrong?
ELK deserve praise for creating a character that has struck a chord with the gaming community. This is the third instalment in the ongoing Kane saga which goes to prove how popular Ecuador Gold and Tahiti Gold are. Players might resonate with a strong character and an interesting back story, but if the game doesn’t deliver the goods, it won’t be a winner. Fortunately, ELK paired their hero with a bunch of extras and an intriguing game system to create a captivating formula. Fans will be thrilled to see that everything they liked before is back in Voodoo Gold.
The first thing that hits you when the game loads is the soulful solo guitar picking in the background. Those notes could not be any bluesier if they tried. It works with the mystical green background to create the hot, steamy Louisiana countryside complete with alligators and mosquitos.
The action starts with 6 reels and 4 rows which provides 4,096 ways to win. When a winning combination lands, the symbols explode to let more tiles fall into place. This can lead to an ongoing chain reaction of wins. Wins also add another row to the grid up to 8 which increases the win ways up to an impressive 262,144. Throw in giant symbols, and the zooming screen that the series is famous for and you know that Kane is back.
There are 12 base game symbols that fit right in with the Voodoo theme. As with many of these cascading win systems their values are low to begin with. At the bottom are four religious symbols – cross, goat, star, and heart worth 0.05x – 0.2x the stake. Then four icons of the south – moonshine bottle, crows foot, dice, and top hat worth 0.2 – 0.6x the wager. Finally the ‘high’ pay symbols which are two creepy looking Voodoo characters, a skull, and Kane worth 0.5x – 2.5x the bet. Obviously the more wins that Avalanche together, the better the prospects are going to be.
Similar to previous Kane slots, the RTP sits at 96.1% with a top prize of 5,000x the stake. Wagers start at 0.20 c/p per spin and ELK have kept with the four betting strategies that players can set. With top bet levels at £/€100 per spin, we are talking about a generous top prize. What isn’t so generous is the Bonus Game hit rate. Ecuador Gold would drop one every 299 spins, and Tahiti Gold every 370 spins on average. For some reason ELK has jacked the bonus frequency up to 1 in 614 which means you might have a hard time trigger the bonus. Fortunately, the other extras show up a lot more often than that.
Voodoo Gold (ELK Studios): Features
Big symbols make their way into the game at 2x2, 3x3, and 4x4 sizes. They can help improve the chance of making a winning combo, but they are more useful at trapping wilds. If winning symbols below a Big Symbol are cleared and there is a blank space, it gets filled with wilds which can happen several times in a row. The wild is a Voodoo Doll and substitutes for any of the pay symbols.
The bomb symbol drops from time to time and after wins are calculated explodes to make way for a bunch of fresh symbols. Dual Bombs can also land on separate sides of the grid. Like the Eye of Tiki from Tahiti Gold, symbols caught between the two are blown away to let new ones fill in the blank spaces.
Last but not least, but certainly less frequent, is the Bonus symbol which is the scatter - 3, 4, 5, or 6 scatters award 6, 9, 12, or 15 free drops respectively. During free drops any wilds that land collect at the bottom of the grid. They turn sticky and stay locked in place for the remainder of the bonus game. A safety level is also applied during the bonus game as in previous Kane slots. When the reels rise, they don’t fall back to normal when no winner lands. In this way, even more symbols make it into the bonus game than they normally would.
Voodoo Gold (ELK Studios): Verdict
Well Gold fans, Kane is definitely back, and his slot is more atmospheric than ever. ELK has done a terrific job of crafting a dank, spooky world of Voodoo in a part of the world that rarely makes it into a slot. Coincidentally (or not) there is another Voodoo themed slot recently released by Endorphina which pales in comparison to ELK’s offering. In that regard, the developers have done an excellent job in world-building.
Voodoo Gold keeps the Kane tradition alive and proves that the franchise has plenty of gas left in the tank. The audio and visual standard is high, and the gameplay is as compelling as before. The Avalanche feature is the same but for now, the saying ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ certainly applies.
If there is a gripe, and there is, it’s why does the bonus game get triggered so rarely compared to the other two slots? There is no real call for it, and it does make you think twice when choosing to play Voodoo Gold over Tahiti or Ecuador Gold. The RTP and the top prize remains the same, so no one is missing out on jackpot opportunities as such, but still. It’s not a total deal-breaker, and Voodoo Gold will keep Kane fans happy while providing newcomers with a fine introduction to the trilogy.
If you're a fan of ELK Studios slots and enjoy playing games with a lot of paylines, be sure to have a look at Ice Wolf. With a default setup of 6 reels and 729 paylines, it can expand to give you 117,649 ways to win as well as boosting your wins with a multiplier of up to 50x.
The darkest entry in the series and a good one too, albeit not quite the best.