Balthazar’s Wild Emporium Slot
Balthazar's Wild Emporium is a 5-reel, fixed twenty pay-line online slot from the previously unheralded Core Gaming. This slot was released in the summer of 2016, initially as an exclusive slot for the Sky Vegas casino. It has since been allowed to 'spread its wings' to other online casinos. The Balthazar whom is the proprietor of this online slots game seems to be some kind of snake oil salesman, complete with wagon and bubbling cauldron. He also has a disconcerting habit of vanishing in a puff of green smoke every now and then. In short, he does not seem to be a man to be trusted.
This game has an interesting feature – when potion free spins symbols land on the first two reels, Balthazar will pop up and offer you the chance of collecting a reduced number of free spins, or an increased number (up to one thousand!) if you wish to gamble. You can split the free spins offered, so you don't have to gamble them all, but the more you gamble, the bigger the possible prize. If you gamble then further potion symbols have to land on one or more of the remaining reels. If they don't, then you lose the spins you gambled with.
All the symbols in this very colourful slot relate to Balthazar in one way or another, aside perhaps for playing card values ten through to ace. In his arsenal Balthazar has a wide range of potions of many colours plus an old, thick book full of potion recipes. There are twenty lines in this slot, and that's a fixed number. You can pay between 0.01 and 5.00 per line. When you're ready to try one of Balthazar's potions, hit the spin button.
Payout & bonus rounds
Pay outs commence at four coins for three tens, jack or queens. The richest pay out is for five wild symbols, which will bring you five hundred coins.
That wild symbol we just mentioned substitutes for all symbols aside from the three 'spell vials' symbols – purple, blue and gold.
Land three or more identical spell vials and you win free spins with bonus features:
- Purple – up to 500 free spins with Stacked Wilds – a stack of three wilds appears on every reel
- Blue – up to 750 free spins with Expanding Wilds – any wild that lands expands to fill the entire reel
- Golden – up to 1,000 free spins with Colossal Wilds – 4×4 wilds appear on the reels
Don't forget about the free spins gamble feature as mentioned above!
Balthazar will appear randomly on the reels to use a special potion which turns a loss into a guaranteed win:
- Potions Wild – adds a wild or colossal wild to the reels
- Magic Respin – reels re-spin until a winning combination is landed
- Dr Burns – burns off symbols to reveal a new win
- Snake Eye – symbols shuffle around until they form a win
- Deja Vu – rewinds to a potion symbol
This is a slots game with a high number of features, but it does really have one thing that counts against it – a very low return-to-player of between 88.19% and 94.02% depending on how you play the game. Even at its maximum value of just over 94%, that's still far too low as most slots have RTPs between 95% and 97%. It's a shame Core Gaming could not have upped that a little, as it detracts from what is essentially a very entertaining, feature rich game.