Get ready to travel back in time to the Jurassic period, about a hundred million years ago, when dinosaurs lived on Earth and volcanoes were their only serious threat. Lava Gold by Betsoft is an exciting video pokie that tells the story of this historical period and is filled with thrilling action.
Lava Gold is a 5x5 pokie that uses a cluster payout feature. The reels are filled with symbols including dinosaurs, dinosaur eggs, exotic flowers, volcanoes and the familiar symbols 10, J, Q, K, A. In the background you will see a lush jungle and a huge volcano ready to erupt. Lava Gold is a low variance pokie with an RTP of 96.02%. When the game loads, it is quite obvious that Betsoft has invested a lot in the design, as it should, and that is really impressive.
Cluster wins are at the heart of the game. Unlike normal pokies, where you have to place the symbols on a payline or winning path (a specific pattern), here the aim is to place 5 or more matching symbols next to each other to form a winning cluster. The symbols must be placed vertically or horizontally next to each other, not diagonally. Characters in the cluster are paid accordingly and then removed, and other symbols still in the grid are randomly replicated to fill the empty spaces, with the possibility of forming new clusters. The process continues until no more clusters are formed or until all 25 positions in the grid have the same symbol, at which point the round ends.
To activate free spins, you need to form clusters with the different symbols in order, from the lowest to the highest paying symbol. On the right side of the reels is the Lava Counter with different symbols on it. Each time you get the corresponding cluster, the counter fills up. Once the counter is full, you will get 10 free spins. You don't have to collect all the clusters in one round, but you can see your progress on the Lava Counter during the game. It is worth mentioning that the lava counter is reset when you change the bet amount. However, when you return to the original bet amount, the progress associated with that bet is restored.
These are not your usual free spins, and they have some interesting features, just like the real money online pokies nz. During the free spins, 5 matching symbols appear on the center reel before each spin, so you are guaranteed the first bunch and the payout. On each spin, the multiplier increases by 1x, so on the tenth spin, you get a 10x multiplier for that spin. Things are a little different from the base game where clusters are formed and removed, in the free spins new symbols do not fill the empty spaces.
The test drive with Lava Gold pokie was an interesting experience. The low volatility of this pokie was immediately evident, as cluster wins came quickly and the Lava meter started to fill up. However, in some cases, a single "spin" (round) from the first press of the spin button to the completion of the entire "cluster win" process took more than a minute or two, depending on how many "cluster wins" were achieved. Within no time, the Lava Counter was full and 10 free spins were awarded. The animation at the beginning of each free spin is impressive and builds anticipation for what the average cluster will show.
Spin after spin, the game kept us glued to the screen as we watched our winnings gradually increase, mostly thanks to the multiplier. At the end of the free spins, the total payout was about 64 times our bet.
As usual with Betsoft, the graphics, animations and attention to detail are excellent. Small effects like a pterodactyl flying in the background and smoke rising from a volcano also add to the atmosphere. Playing this pokie is quite simple - place a bet and start spinning. It is really easy to understand the concepts in a very short time, and there is nothing complicated or need to study the help file. All the features work well and are entertaining.
The prize payouts are not very impressive. For example, if a group of the highest paying symbols (Tyrannosaurus Rex) shows up, you shouldn't get too excited. However, considering that multiple cluster wins are possible in one round, these small amounts add up. On the other hand, each round can take a considerable amount of time, as there is a long animation for each cluster win, and even more during the free spins feature. To counteract this, there is a turbo mode that increases the speed significantly. Another minor criticism is the sound effects, which are also a bit intrusive as they are very repetitive, making you want to turn the sound off after a short while. Apart from these minor drawbacks, Lava Gold is a great pokie that is fun and rewarding.