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About This Slot
Zulu Gold slot from ELK Studios transports players to South African plains where the Zulu people, historically famed for their military prowess. The game is the latest in a series that features an intrepid explorer called Kane who has appeared in other slots including Katmandu Gold and Voodoo Gold. A bit of a Rich Wilde type character, Kane is never far from some mysterious backdrop and his slots invariably have a high variance and potential to go off the grid with win sequences that mix multipliers and big block symbols.
ELK themselves are an interesting bunch with a highly creative team that love to build their games around interesting narratives that are unusual in the video slot market. African Savannah slots are pretty common place, but drawing on the Zulu themes and using rich graphics of Zulu shields and spears as a backdrop is particularly cool.
The gaming grid here contains 6 reels and 4 rows of symbols which is straight forward enough and standard for a Kane slot. However, when the Avalanche Reels mechanic comes into play then the screen can expand up to 8 rows in height to boost the paylines from 4,096 up to a max of 262,144 ways to win. This, and other features we will come to, make Zulu Gold a stand-out game at new UK slot sites in 2021.
RTP, Variance and Top Payout
The RTP of Zulu Gold is 95%, which is a little below average, while the high volatility and 20p minimum bet combine to create a game that isn’t an easy play for those who are put off by high risk slots. In short, you can expect some long lean spells while waiting for payouts, whilst spins aren’t that cheap even at the lower end. Howevet, the max payout of 10,000x stake is fairly strong though of course with typically long odds. To get even close you’ll need to hit a good run of Avalanche Wins combined with Progressive Multipliers and some good high value Mega Symbols.
Symbols and Graphics
As you would expect from an ELK Studios game, the artwork in Zulu Gold is of a very high standard. Against a backdrop of finely illustrated Zulu shields, the symbols on the reels include our handsome explorer Kane, who wears his usual explorer hat, along with exotic mask, golden sunsets, African safari animals, colourful painted symbols and stone etchings of animals.
To enjoy a win, you need to land 3 or more matching symbols from left to right starting from the first reel. The stone etchings are the lowest-paying symbols, followed by the painted symbols. The best-paying symbols are the African animals – a buffalo, elephant and rhino – along with Kane himself. You can expect from 2x to 5x stake for hitting 6 of these premium symbols.
The mask is the Wild, which can substitute for the other symbols in the game, while the sunset is the Bonus symbol, which can launch the Free Spins round.
What We Like
Imaginative African Zulu theme
Stacked and Mega Symbols
Up to 262,144 ways to win
10,000x top payout
What We Don't Like
Below average RTP
Gameplay and Features
Zulu Gold comes with a nice set of features that include some good symbols stacks, Mega-sized icons and that all important progressive multiplier. Here is how they all work.
Zulu Gold uses an Avalanche mechanic, which means that instead of the reels spinning, the symbols drop in an avalanche. Winning symbols will disappear, and a new avalanche will begin, causing new symbols to fall into their place. This gives multiple chances to win from every spin. Whenever an Avalanche happens, a row of symbols is added. This goes up to a max of 8 rows, which activates the maximum 262,144 ways to win.
There are 3 types of Wild in the game: the regular Wild, Charged Wild and Walking Wild. The regular Wild stands in for other symbols to create more potential wins; the Charged Wild stays sticky on the reels for multiple spins; the Walking Wild moves on each avalanche and leaves a trail of Wilds behind it when it leaves.
Expanding and Stacked Symbols
The symbols can appear in various sizes, including Regular, Super, Mega and Epic, which are 1×1, 2×2, 3×3 or 4×4 in size respectively. The bigger symbols have the potential to create combinations of many matching symbols. You may also receive Zulu Stacks of up to 4 matching symbols. These can drop onto the reels at any time, adding extra rows of symbols.
Free Drops and Progressive Multipliers
Landing 3 Scatters triggers 10, 15, 20 or 25 Free Drops, including a Progressive Multiplier. When you land 3 or more Multipliers, they can be added together. Multiplier symbols that aren’t active remain sticky on the reels.
X-citer Bonus Buy
The X-citer feature lets you pay for one of 5 bonuses:
- 5x stake buys a guaranteed winning spin
- 25x stake buys 3 drops with Zulu Stacks
- 100x stake buys guaranteed bonus round
- 250x stake buys 3 drops with Walking Wilds
- 500x stake buys Super Bonus with Sticky Multipliers
NOTE: Bonus Buy is not a feature that is available for UK players.
Zulu Gold is an intriguingly themed slot, as Zulu culture is not explored in the slot world as much as, say, ancient Egypt or the Aztec empire. And this slot will please fans of Kane’s other adventures and it carries on the legacy with lots of strong features, including Progressive Multipliers, which are the key to unlocking the biggest payouts of up to 10,000x.
On the maths side, the below average RTP of 95% is a bit of a disappointment, which along with the high volatility will certainly be off-putting to low rollers and casual spinners. Also, the mass of features could be slightly confusing too with so much happening, though this means that things never get boring. Certainly a good run that includes Charged Wilds and Walking Wilds coupled with some good Avalanche and a high value Progressive Multipliers can be an exhilarating and epic experience!
All in all, Zulu Gold is a strong choice for players who know and love the Kane adventure series, though it’s unlikely to be a favourite among those who haven’t met our adventurous protagonist before.