Western Wilds: Slot Overview
When you think of Western themed slots, it's hard not to think of the gritty looking Dead or Alive 2. Iron Dog has taken a different tack. Western Wilds has the lighter, cartoony feel that infiltrates many of their releases. Going down this route doesn't quite capture the 'anything may go' attitude of the era. Still, Western Wilds looks pleasant enough and surprises with an intriguing modifier-filled bonus.
The action here takes place in a ravine, surrounded by cliffs, and what looks like oddly gyrating cacti in the foreground. It's an unusual sight if you're used to the dusty one-horse town scene and one that may draw your mind to Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner more than anything else. Western Wilds is all about blowing things up using TNT, so we could be in a mining area, yet the default 5-reel, 1,204-payline grid is set in a structure with 'Bank' written on it. Something to ponder as we move on to the game.
Western Wilds can be played on any device, offering stakes that range from 10 p/c to £/€50 per spin. RTP is a whisker beneath average on 95.8%, while volatility tends to the high side of the spectrum. Within a dozen spins, the bonus game had been triggered piling on a solid 180x win to kick off the testing. The next one didn't hit for several hundred spins, so Western Wilds proved to be quite a temperamental beast.
There are 12 regular pays, vying for position on the board, 6 low and 6 high. The lows are Western fonted 9-A royals, while highs are boots, hats, carts, a miner, a gunslinger, and a sack of gold. Premiums are worth 1x to 5x the bet for five of a kind. Not huge values, but several features are on hand to help out.
Western Wilds: Slot Features
With a name like Western Wilds, there are no second guesses as to what makes up a bulk of the features. Players get a couple of wilds in the base game, as well as tumbles, and a round of free spins.
After each win, the tumble feature kicks into life. Winning symbols explode off the reels, allowing new ones to tumble down for another chance to line up a win. Tumbles continue to fall as long as winning combinations keep on coming.
The base game has two wilds – a standard plus an expanding one. The standard wild appears on reels 2-5 only, replacing any regular pay symbols. More desirable is the gold safe symbol; this is the expanding wild. When it lands on any of the three middle reels, it activates to cover all 5 positions. More than one can land at once.
The other important base game symbol is the TNT box. When this one lands, it explodes, turning itself and up to three random symbols wild. Each time a TNT box explodes, it lights up one of the meters beside the reels. Landing 3 TNT symbols in a cascade sequence awards 8 free spins.
The free spins round takes place in what looks like a busted up underground mine. Two locked rows are added to the reels, as well as a conveyor belt running along the top holding safes and blank positions. Whenever a win hits, the belt moves one position to the left. If a safe moves into the empty frame on the left a modifiers is added. There are four safes of various colours and effects:
- Orange – increases the current multiplier by up to x3.
- Blue – adds 3 random wilds.
- Green – adds up to 5 extra free spins.
- Red – unlocks up to 2 locked positions on the extra rows.
When all 6 rows are unlocked, 7,776 ways to win come into play. Strangely for Iron Dog, they haven't included a bonus buy option for Western Wilds.
Western Wilds: Slot Verdict
Despite the relatively high volatility, Western Wilds comes across as quite a lightweight slot. This is largely due to the cartoon graphics, a trait common in many Iron Dog Studio games. They often pick heavy subjects matter such as barbarians or pirates and present them this way. Looks aren't everything, but they do count, so Western Wilds fails to provoke the same raw, 'getting down to business' attitude of other westerns like Money Train 2 or Deadwood.
It's not a terrible looker though, just not so rough around the edges nor as sophisticated as some of its competitors. Yet some may appreciate the milder touch. The soundtrack is pretty good too. There is just something about the Western twang that makes playing them such a treat.
When it comes to the actual gameplay, however, Western Wilds steps it up a notch. The base game isn't hugely exciting, though occasionally a bunch of wilds pull together a decent win to help keep you in it. To score big, you'll need to blow three of those elusive TNT symbols. Two appear quite often on a sequence, providing a tease along with a win. Trigger free spins and fortunes can turn around.
Again, Western Wilds' bonus isn't as intense as some of its competitors, but it can get good. Iron Dog Studio has a knack for designing bonus games which resonate with certain players, perhaps Western Wilds' will too. The rolling conveyor of modifiers works well, especially when a juicy multiplier drops out of nowhere to pep up a win. During the feature, players have the chance to hit the game's potential of 6,500 times the stake.
While Western Wilds doesn't provide the same level of thrills, spills, and chills, as the heavyweights in its category, it's not bad either. The base game has its moments via wild features, and free spins can be quite extensive due to cascades and modifiers, making you feel like you're getting your money's worth. The way some Iron Dog Studio slots connect with certain players can surprise, and it's possible to see Western Wilds striking a chord too.
A fairly entertaining bonus game and decent potential make Western Wilds a somewhat engaging Western themed slot to play, although it lacks the sophistication and appealing looks of some of its competitors.