Tue, Oct 16, 5:48am by William Brown
Last Updated Thu, May 14, 11:09pm
The sights and sounds of the Sahara Desert make for an exotic theme in the latest Lightning Link pokie from Aristocrat. Camels, shown silhouetted against the setting sun, are the wild symbols. These can connect wins with oasis symbols, belly dancers and pyramids.
The hold and spin bonus feature links Sahara Gold with the growing list of Lightning Link pokie titles. This uses gold coins to give you opportunities to win progressive jackpots – as well as big coin wins. Fill the entire screen with these gold coins, and you’ll walk away with a huge ‘Grand’ progressive.
Free spins are handled differently on Sahara Gold to other titles in this range. You’ll choose a chest in the ‘Golden Palace Bonus’ to get a randomly selected number of spins. The number of extra wild symbols appearing on the reels will also be chosen at random.
You’ll have to wait for these games to appear in casino apps and websites. They are hugely popular in live casinos, though have not yet made the transition to the internet. There are plenty of entertaining pokies to try in their place – including many from pokies giant Aristocrat.
Aristocrat has included some flexibility in terms of win-lines and coin sizes for Sahara Gold. You can choose denominations from 1c to 10c. Some casinos offer $1 and $2 denominations too. Lines for the smaller coin sizes are either 25 or 50. The smallest amount you can spin for is 50c, with $10 possible with 5 lines at $2 per line.
Wild symbols play an important role in both the base game and free spins bonus. These show a camel, with a Bedouin rider, against a glorious sunset. They appear on reels 2 through 5. Sometimes they can cover entire reels, other times they appear as single symbols. Wilds replace everything except the temple scatters and gold coins to create extra wins.
3 pyramids, with the sun behind them, are the highest paying regular symbols. These are worth 150 coins for 5 of a kind. Belly dancers, an oasis and scorpion have the same top prize of 100 coins. Playing cards (without the aces) make up the smaller wins.
In addition to their role in triggering the bonus, temple scatters pay based on the total number anywhere on the reels. Scatter prizes are 2x your total bet for 3, 15x that bet for 4 and 100x for the maximum 5.
All pokies in the Lightning Link series have two distinct bonus features. One is the hold and spin. This can be triggered from the base game or free spins bonus. It starts any time you get 6 or more of the gold coins on a single spin.
The free spins bonus starts when you get 3 or more of the temple scatters. Instead of a fixed number of spins, you’ll get a random number based on which treasure chest you pick.
Note that the progressive jackpots can be won at random. Any paid spin in which you get at least one of the gold coins can trigger either the Grand or Major jackpots. The usual way to get these is via the hold and spin bonus feature.
Gold coins appear on almost every spin. These have one of two things on them:
Hold and spin bonuses start when you get at least 6 coins in view. The first thing that happens is that the other symbols are greyed out – they don’t have a role in this bonus.
You now have 3 respins, which require you to hit the spin button each time. The goal is to get more coins. This adds to the amount you won – and resets your spins to 3 each time. You keep going until the reels are completely full – or you run out of spins before adding another coin.
It is rare to fill the reels. If you do it, then the biggest jackpot (called the ‘Grand’) is awarded. Otherwise, you see lightning effects as the coins are added to the jackpots that you did win. The smaller ones are fixed – increasing as you increase your coin size. The ‘Major’ is progressive, capped at $1000. The ‘Grand’ will start at $10,000 and go up from there.
When you trigger the free spins an animated sequence kicks in. You’ll zoom into an exotic temple, where two treasure chests are waiting. All you need to do is pick one of them. It
will open, revealing two things:
Those wilds appear in long strips on reels 2 through 5. 100 or more makes them very noticeable, often covering several reels. If you get 3 or more scattered temples, then you retrigger for the same amount of spins that you started with. With more spins and better retriggers than many bonus games on Lightning Link pokies – Sahara Gold has a lot of big win potential.
Yes. There are 2 progressive jackpots and two jackpot bonuses. The biggest jackpot (the Grand) is typically shared between all the Lightning Link pokies in a casino. This starts at $10k and can go much higher. Major jackpots are for specific machines. These start at $500 and stop rising when they reach $1000. The smaller jackpots are 20x and 100x your triggering bet.
No. Lightning Link pokies are not available online. Aristocrat has a good track record when it comes to moving their popular games online. For games which are still hugely popular in live casinos, you’ll need to wait.
Many Lightning Link pokies have exotic themes. These include India (Bengal Treasures) and Pacific Islands (Tiki Fire). All these pokies have a hold and spin bonus and a free spins game. It is the free spins bonus that makes Sahara Gold stand out. This has a random element, with the number of extra wilds making a huge difference to your potential for big wins.