Arriving onto your screen in a wave of electro beats and a female voice introducing ‘Golden Rocket!’, this game is the very epitome of all things German. Indeed, for a moment you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the Berghain, shaking your ass like it was the last party on earth. That’s where the good time vibes end however; once the slot starts spinning, it’s strangely muted, contenting itself with little more than a few subtle clicks.
In the absence of audio, you’ll have to content yourself with visuals instead, or what there is of them. Merkur’s slots don’t tend to be the most aesthetic of games, but in fairness that’s rarely an imperative when dealing with old school slots. Golden Rocket is straight out of the classic fruit machine playbook, with grapes, bells and melons galore, overlaid against a flaming background that simulates a rocket launch. Is this a firework rocket or a space rocket we’re talking about? It’s hard to tell at this stage. The only thing that can be said for certain is that it’s very golden.
5 reels and 40 paylines provide more than enough space in which to roam in your rocket, chasing down 3, 4 and 5 in a row combos. There are two green buttons positioned prominently below the reels, the first providing a max bet shortcut and the second for spin. There’s an autospin too, but it’s labelled as Autostart and is tucked away discreetly in the bottom left of the screen. It can be set as high as 100 autospins.
The minimum stake is 0.4 and the maximum is 40. There’s a typically minimalist paytable provided by Merkur; just a single screen is all you get, while audio controls and a fast play option are sited in the top right of the screen. Some casinos you attempt to play Golden Rocket at may report a cookie error by the way; if this happens, try loading the game in a different browser.
First impressions of Golden Rocket are that there isn’t a whole lot going on here; it’s just an old school slot where spinning for fruit is the order of the day. And it’s true, in terms of features, Golden Rocket is somewhat sparse. The moment you notch a win on the reels however things get interesting. That’s because at this stage you’ll be offered the chance to collect your win or to gamble it. What’s more, you don’t just have one means of gambling with it: you’ve got two.
The first option is a card gamble, while the second, gamble ladder, is one that used to be a regular staple on fruit machines – the sort you’d find in pubs. Two sums of cash will flash alternatively, one worth more than your win and one worth less. This feature appears skill-based the first time you land on it, but on repeat visits those lights flash a whole lot faster, making it purely chance-based. With autospin enabled, incidentally, the reels will pause for a few seconds any time you win a sum to see whether you’d like to gamble with it; linger too long however and it will collect on your behalf before spinning again.
There’s a wild symbol, complete with explosions against a night sky, that substitutes for all of the regular symbols, that will help you generate wins. The game’s major feature though is rocket spins, which will unfold on reel 1 when 3 or more rocket symbols are matched, heralding a flurry of fireworks and causing the reels to spin multiple times, triggering wins. Land 4 rockets on the paylines that are visible on reel 1 and you’ll be awarded a 5x multiplier into the bargain.
For a classic slot, Golden Rocket proves to be far more entertaining than a slot of this nature ought. Once you get a taste for the gamble feature and discover how easy it is to trigger the rocket spins feature, you’ll be only too happy to put in some healthy playing time in the pursuit of riches.