If you like Kane, here’s something fresh. The explorer usually visits exotic locales like Katmandu, Tahiti, and Ecuador, but this time he’s taking a new approach. ELK Studios’ Avalon Gold is the eighth installment in their Gold series of online slots, and it takes the player to the legendary island of Avalon. It’s not always clear how to reach a destination like Avalon. It’s unclear how Kane got there, but others think it’s a portal to the timeless Otherworld, where Arthur was supposedly brought to recover after a fight. No matter the technique, Kane is there among several features and the trademark expanding reels layout for which the series is known.
The enigmatic mystical aspect of Avalon has been preserved and rebottled by ELK Studios. The backdrop greenery and glimpses of sunshine provide a more relaxed, ethereal feel than in previous games in the series. An impressively well-thought-out take on Avalon, complete with a calm Celtic-inspired music (which is amazing, by the way) and a sacred-looking structure visible behind the game grid when symbols crash in and out. That being said, the upbeat, triumphant countdown music sounds a bit out of place here.
However, our purpose in this forest does not consist solely of tree-hugging and aimless ambling. Avalon Gold is a reliable slot machine with a 6-reel game layout that begins with 4 rows high. Avalon Gold may be played for anywhere from 20 pence to £/€100 each spin, with additional payment options available via the X-iter menu. The RTP may range from 0% to 94% and is quite variable.
With the aim being to land at least three of a type on adjacent reels beginning on the far left, up to 24 symbols will be deposited into the playing area with each basic game spin. Avalon Gold has 4,096 ways to win at the minimum level and 262,144 at the maximum. There are twelve standard symbols that pay out at random intervals. Values J through A make up the four bottom tiles, symbols of various animals decorate the four middle tiles, and three masks and Kane make up the four high tiles. Six of a kind pays 0.3x the wager for low pays, 0.8-1x for mid pays, and 2-5x the wager for high pays. The golden wild is used to help form winning combinations, and it may stand in for any icon other than the bonus and the mystery box.
Slot Machine Features in Avalon Gold
Avalon Gold has both traditional series gameplay and a few new twists on the formula. You can buy the X-iter feature here, along with Avalanches, Big Symbols, Expanding Wilds, Mystery Boxes, the Avalon bonus, free drops, and more.
The Avalanche function wipes off winning paths on the game board. When symbols drop into empty spaces, they fill an additional row on the reels. Consecutive Avalanches grow in size by one row at a time, up to a maximum of 8 rows. When there are no more victories to be had in the main game, the grid is returned to its original size.
Big Symbols also appear frequently and can be any size from 2×2 to 4×4. Each 1×1 instance of a Big Symbol (which can be any standard pay symbol or a Mystery Box) is counted. If there are any blank spaces below a Big sign, they will be filled with smaller versions of the same sign.
A golden border might appear on symbol landings. If there is free space above these signs, several growing wilds will fill the voids.
When at least 5 Mystery Boxes are in visible, they trigger regardless of where on the reels they appear. They are just worthless blocker tiles till then. When triggered, Mystery Boxes can disclose a pay symbol, wild, or activate one of Avalon’s bonus features. Included in Avalon are:
Winnings from a coin toss are shown as a multiple of the wager.
Coins that have previously been unveiled are multiplied by multipliers.
Swiper – adds 1 to the face value of the coin that was just swiped. The number 7 would then become the number 17.
Selecting “Collect” will gather up all visible coin values and reopen any previously opened Mystery Boxes.
An additional symbol drop is granted, and all visible Mystery Boxes are reactivated, when you use the “Redrop” command.
Drop It Free
When 3, 4, 5, or 6 scatters appear, players enter a bonus round and receive 10, 15, 20, or 25 free spins. Until they are opened, Mystery Boxes remain in place during free spins. Once the Avalon section is complete, Mystery Boxes are taken away and the minimum need of five is reinstated. At the start of the round, the grid has four rows. When you have a successful spin, the “safety level” goes up by one row, and the following free drop fills the grid to that height (up to eight rows). If you get 3, 4, 5, or 6 bonus symbols during your free spins, you’ll earn 10, 15, 20, or 25 more free drops.
In bonus-enabled areas, players can select one of the following five features. The return to player (RTP) for each of these modes is the same as that of the regular mode.
Big Symbol – Spend 5 times your stake on a single drop that is assured to include a Big Symbol.
The guaranteed Expanding Wild pays out 10 times the stake for a single drop.
50x your stake on a single drop with a guarantee of 5 Mystery Boxes.
Gain access to the bonus round worth 100 times your wager.
Super Bonus: 500x the stake to trigger a bonus game with persistent Mystery Boxes.
The Final Say on Avalon Gold Slots
Even though we are now eight games deep in ELK Studio’s Gold series of slots, there is no slacking off in the action. The studio is clearly not letting up on the creative gas, as Avalon Gold is yet another solid offering. So far, I’ve really like the game’s exotic settings and how the gameplay has been consistently refined to seem like a natural extension of the franchise while also adding some fresh ideas. Exotic is a popular descriptor for online slot machines, although it usually means something like a beach or coastal area with a cultural twist. ELK Studios has hurled Kane to various off-the-beaten-path locales in the Gold series, giving new meaning to the phrase “exotic.”
Perhaps the most surprising of these places is Avalon. Even while slots often include themes based on Arthurian stories, the appearance of Kane was unexpected. Avalon Gold provides the kind of good gameplay we’ve come to anticipate from a Kane slot, so we can’t really complain while he’s sleeping, recovering, or whatever his goals are. Even before you reach to the latest features, you can rely on things like avalanches, expanding reels, expanding ways, and items like Big Symbols. The creators presumably took influence from games like Big Bamboo, which included expanding wilds and mystery boxes that unlocked Avalon features. Since Mystery Boxes remain on the board and trigger frequently after each Avalanche or drop, the stakes are highest during Super Free Spins. The winning potential in Avalon Gold is just as alluring, with a maximum payout of 25,000 times the wager.
Kane looks rather gorgeous in his golden armor, and the whole presentation of Avalon Gold is quite well done. Though it suffers from the lower RTP value that ELK Studios is now advocating for, Avalon Gold is still another Gold slot that players can fire up and get some enjoyment out of if that’s not a worry of theirs.