Black River Gold slot review

By Elk Studios

Black River Gold Basic info

Game provider Elk Studios

Release Date 5/2020

RTP 96.10%

Game Technology HTML5

Popularity Medium

Min bet $0.20

Max bet $100

Max Win bet x 5000

Gamble Feature Max. lines, Bonus symbols, Colossal symbols, Cascading reels, Expanding reels

Layout 5x4

Devices Support all devices

Configurable Winlines No

Volatility High

Progressive Jackpot No

Black River Gold brings to life the gold rush of the 19th century when masses of adventurers headed west to America, in search of untold riches. As inspiration for a slot, this 2020 Elk Studios game also features colossal symbols and cascading reels for the player.

One of the first things that struck me with this game was the excellent graphics. Everything is hand-drawn and although not all the symbols are unique, they are all in the style of the setting. The background shows us the rural American Rockies with the playing field flanked by a train bridge. The 6-reel, 4-row playing field itself can grow with consecutive wins, going up as high as 8 rows.

Because of this, Black River Gold has a maximum of 262,144 paylines if the playing field is fully extended. This obviously means there are also quite a lot of different symbols to fill this space, almost automatically resulting in High Volatility. Still, the game felt like it rewarded wins semi-frequently even if they weren’t very high most of the time. This is definitely a game for those that enjoy rare big wins instead of a steady supply of small ones.

Black River Gold Slot Win Combination

The music is pretty subtle, mostly consisting of a slow harmonica song playing in the background. Reels come down with a familiar thump and wins have a brief, generic jingle. Bigger wins come with a Western-sounding clip, reminiscent of some famous movies without being a direct copy. In general, the sound design of the slot is very toned down.

Black River Gold Highlights

  • Max. lines: The 262144 paylines result in more possible winning combinations.
  • Bonus symbols: Collect bonus symbols to launch the bonus round.
  • Colossal symbols: Colossal symbols are bigger than the 1-by-1 block of a standard symbol.
  • Cascading reels: Cascading reels explode the winning symbols and drop down more to fill the gaps.
  • Expanding reels: Expanding reel feature copies the symbols to neighbouring reels or adds new places for symbols.


All the symbols in the game are hand-drawn, most of them with a high amount of detail. The high-paying symbols draw inspiration from the setting they’re based on as well as the general Western theme. The low-paying symbols are card letters but this time literally put on playing cards, again fitting the setting. I thought this was a clever way to integrate them.

The symbols are, from highest to lowest:

  • Wild Compass: Symbols matching the Compass turn into Wilds.
  • Revolver: Big symbols can absorb smaller symbols, becoming a Revolver. Once a Revolver has absorbed 6 symbols, it becomes a Wild.
  • Bonus: 3 or more Bonus symbols activate the free spins mode.
  • Wild: Wilds substitute all other symbols in the game except the Bonus and Wild Compass.
  • Sheriff: Max. 3x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Diamond: Max. 2x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Gold Ore: Max. 2x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Diamond: Max. 2x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Gun: Max. 0.8x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Scotch: Max. 0.8x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Sheriff’s Star: Max. 0.8x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Bolo: Max. 0.8x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Ace: Max. 0.3x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • King: Max. 0.3x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Queen: Max. 0.3x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.
  • Jack: Max. 0.3x your bet with six-of-a-kind on a winning bet line.

As you can, it has a lot of different symbols and these pay back very little, even with six-of-a-kind on a win line. This is because most of the gameplay revolves around expanding and cascading reels, assuming that one win will trigger additional wins and helping the player get more back.

If the prospect of low payouts concerns people, they can pick a bet somewhere between $0.20 and $100 per spin to mitigate this. The max. win of 5,000x your bet is something to keep in mind, as it will allow players to go home with quite a jackpot. However, I felt this would require a series of wins that is unlikely to happen.


The main portion of Black River Gold revolves around the base game, where the size of the reels plays a major part in getting a win. Occasionally, players are able to trigger the free spins mode where they will use some additional features.

Black River Gold Slot Colossal Symbol

The game comes with the following features:

  • 262,144 Ways To Win: Wins are counted whenever the same symbol appears on consecutive reels from left to right.
  • Cascading Reels: Whenever there is a win, the winning symbols disappear and make room for new symbols.
  • Expanding Reels: Whenever there is a win, another row is added to the reels. This can go up as high as 8 rows.
  • Wilds: Wilds substitute all regular symbols in the game. Colossal Symbols can turn into Wilds and Compass symbols can add Wilds to the screen.
  • Colossal Symbols: Symbols can randomly appear as 2×2, 3×3 or 4×4 colossal symbols.
  • Free Spins: Get 3 or more Bonus symbols on the screen to activate the Free Spins mode.
  • Sticky Wilds: Wilds in the Free Spins mode are sticky.

Even though this seems like a lot, the features work together quite well. The main gameplay consists of getting a win, having the tiles cascade and a new row added and seeing if another win is created. This continues for as long as there are additional wins before it starts over.

The Free Spins mode was very rare but when it did activate it was pretty lucrative thanks to the Sticky Wilds and the fact that anytime an extra row is added, that row is saved for the next spin. So getting 5 rows in the first spin means that every spin after that will have a minimum of 5 rows available. This can go up to 8 for every spin.

I thought the features were a good way to spice up the game. If you don’t mind a slot that throws a lot of different symbols and effects at you, this might be the right game for you too.


Black River Gold is a beautiful game. I really liked the graphics and the way everything was presented. There aren’t a lot of animations but I feel like that would have become very confusing, considering a large number of features as well as the expanding playing field.

Instead, the game keeps your attention with its game loop as well as the possibility of activating some interesting effects. Players that enjoy a game that largely resembles a standard slot but introduces some less-popular features in combination with that will get a kick out of this slot.

I would recommend this game to people who are looking for something a bit different. Don’t let a large number of features dissuade you as they do work together well and they are pretty obvious in how they operate.


In what languages can I play Black River Gold slot?

You can play Black River Gold in English, Finnish, Swedish, German and 18 other languages.

What currencies Black River Gold slot supports?

Black River Gold supports GBP, EUR, USD, CAD.

Leticia Miranda

Leticia Miranda

Slot Games Analyst

Leticia Miranda is a former gambling reporter who knows everything about slot games and is happy to share her knowledge. She has covered a broad swath of topics and trends on gambling and is always full of new ideas and energy. Leticia also has a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and is passionate about writing.