Name:  Gonzo’s Gold

Developer:  NetEnt

Paylines:  Cluster Pays

Reels:  5

Rows:  5

RTP:  96.1%

Variance:  Medium

Top Payout:  5,000x

Jackpot:  No

Release Date:  October 2021

Features:  Cascading Wins, Free Spins, Expanding Symbols

About This Slot

Gonzo’s Quest is one of the most famous slots of all time and would certainly feature in anyone’s top 10 NetEnt games, thanks to its compelling mix of narrative, charisma, upbeat conquistador, super-cool graphics and animations, and thrilling gameplay. Being one of the first slots to mix up the Cascading Wins mechanic with a Progressive Multiplier – a potent combination that is the bedrock of so many high variance slots nowdays – it will always hold a special place in our hearts. It is a surprise therefore that between 2013, the year of the original release, and 2020, there were no sequels to Gonzo’s Quest. Since then, and thanks in part to a deal between NetEnt and Red Tiger that saw NetEnt get use of Red Tiger’s Megaways™ license, we have seen the brilliant Gonzo’s Quest Megaways™, a worthy follow-up that make great use of the expanding reels mechanic .

And now, in 2021, NetEnt are at it again and we are introduced to the third in the series, going by the name of Gonzo’s Gold. Once again we are invited to the stone temples of the Aztec world where exotic masks fill the reels and evocative, chanting music fills the air. The gaming screen in Gonzo’s Gold is a 5×5 grid set between stone pillars, but what is missing is the original leafy background and the animated Gonzo character himself. And indeed, the Cascading Reels themselves, which have been replaced with regular rolling reels and a Cluster Pays mechanic.

At first glance it’s all a bit disappointing, and very much a pared-down version of the original with most of the best bits removed. But what about the gameplay itself, does it have some tricks up its sleeve? In this review we will endeavour to find out! You can play Gonzo’s Gold yourself at any of our recommended slot sites.

RTP, Variance and Top Payout

Starting with the maths, Gonzo’s Gold has an RTP of 96.1% which is average for a video slot and a bit over the original game’s RTP of 95.97%. Meanwhile, the medium volatility and 10p minimum bet makes this easy to play for everyone. You can expect a reasonable number of payouts of a decent size in relation to your bets. The top payout of 5,000x stake is achievable for players who manage to find Gonzo all over the reels, as this chap is the top-paying symbol in the game and he can indeed fill your ENTIRE screen, like the top moments from your favourite Book of … slots. Game on!

Symbols and Graphics

Remember, this game uses a Cluster Pays mechanice and you need to match 3 or 4 symbols on adjacent reels vertically or horizontally to enjoy a payout in Gonzo’s new exotic world. The symbols include 3 types of exotic masks, Gonzo himself wearing his trademark helmet, and a series of high cards to award the lower payouts.

The blue, purple and green masks can award the higher payouts, along with Gonzo himself with the best awards ranging from 750x to 5,000x stake for a full screen of 25 symbols.

There is no Wild Symbol in the game to make any substitutions. However, there is a temple Scatter symbol, which will trigger the Free Spins bonus round when 3 or more land on the reels on the same spin.

What We Like

  Exotic Aztec theme
  High-paying Gonzo symbol
  Expander Symbols
  Free spins re-triggers
  Slick graphics and animations

What We Don't Like

  Limited bonus features

Gameplay and Features

Gonzo’s Gold is surprisingly light on features – it’s only about the free spins round and the opportunity to play with high value expander symbols. Let’s find out how it all works.

Cluster Pays

Gonzo’s Gold uses a Cluster Pays mechanic instead of the usual paylines. This means you need to match 3 premium symbols or 4 low-pay symbols adjacently, either horizontally or vertically on the reels, in order to receive a payout.

Free Spins round

Landing 3 or more Scattered temples will trigger the Free Spins round. You will receive 10 Free Spins along with a payout of 2, 20 or 200x your bet. If you hit 3 more Scatters during the Free Spins, you’ll trigger another 10 Free Spins.

Expanding Symbols

Before you start the Free Spins round, you need to play a mini game where you select 1 of 9 Question Mark symbols. This will reveal which symbol will have the power to become an Expanding Symbol during the Free Spins round. If 2 or more of these symbols appear during the round, they will expand to fill the entire reel and award a new Cluster win.

Fans of games like Book of Dead, Book of Ra, or more recently, Book of Shadows, will be familiar with this expander symbol mechanic. But using it with a Cluster Pays format is a nice twist.

Our Verdict

Gonzo’s Gold is a fun and exotic slot that invites players into an Aztec temple to help adventurer Gonzo find the hidden treasure. Whilst this is a sequel to the Gonzo’s Quest smash-hit, in fact players may only notice this due to the name of the game. Indeed, Gonzo is not a main feature in the design, as he was in the 3D original, appearing only as a symbol on the reels. And to be honest, for us this is an opportunity missed to make a bigger impression by featuring one of the slot world’s most famous explorers more prominently, especially in the main screen graphics and bonus game.

Moving onto the gameplay and removing the Cascading Reels might not be a popular decision either, as this can help to bring life to a game with limited bonus features and without any Wilds. With only Free Spins with Expanding Symbols as a bonus feature, we’re left searching for excitement. Of course, those with a love of Book of … games, may find this focused and intense gameplay fun. And to be fair we did notice that the free spins round does trigger pretty frequently. As for jackpots, the 5,000x stake top prize is decent and is achievable if you can fill the gaming grid with 25 Gonzo symbols in the bonus round.

On a final note, the soundtrack is pleasingly evocative too, but for a slot built around the exciting Aztec world, featuring such a famous Net Ent protagonist, overall this game is a bit of a disappointment.

 

Useful Resources

Learn More On NetEnt’s Own Gonzo’s Gold Profile Page

Slots Variance Guide