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Fortune Finder pokies are video bonus games available at Internet casinos powered by the popular software package created by Microgaming. Released in June of 2009, this pokie is another of that company’s standard video titles, which means (among other things) that it has a layout made up of five spinning reels and allows bets on up to thirty pay lines with no offer of a progressive top prize.
Fortune Finder’s features include a unique choose-your-own wild symbol system, Microgaming’s popular gamble game that can increase the value of payouts, and a scatter symbol that acts as both a multiplier and free spin trigger. The pay table has a static top jackpot that’s larger than most non-bonus Microgaming video pokies – at the highest coin denomination, bettors that hit the lucky combo will pocket a prize worth $30,000.
This is a video slot based on the stories of gold miners and prospectors staking claims all over the American West during the Gold Rush of the 19th century. Some miners found the fortune alluded to in the machine’s name, others lost everything or were cut down by natives, disease, famine, or other prospectors driven to murder and sabotage by greed.
That description of the Gold Rush is a bit grim; luckily Microgaming’s poker machine version of the American frontier is way more light hearted. This game’s designer is not known for cutting-edge visual effects or complicated game plots, but this machine is sufficiently easy on the eyes, enough to keep repeat play interesting.
The setting of the game is, of course, a gold mine. Sometimes the designers at Microgaming are able to include a really nice design element; this is true on Fortune Finder. The display glows with the twinkling of gold deposits half-buried in rock surrounding the reels and pay lines. Look closer and you’ll see Palaeolithic carvings and the bleached bones of fossils spread over the face of the mine. Little details like this are what make some Internet poker machines stand out from the pack.
Reel symbols, animations, and even the virtual case of the game are all built with the theme in mind. Thanks to the existence of multipliers and an optional gamble feature, all but a dozen of the pay table’s static prizes can be quickly converted into a four- or five-figure jackpot. More details on features like free spins, scatter prizes, and the title’s unique wild symbol appear later in the review.
Miners didn’t discriminate between precious deposits; prospectors who discovered gemstones were plenty happy to exchange them for cash, maybe even more happy depending on the rarity of the find. This is serendipitous since Microgaming designed this title with symbols that also go beyond gold nuggets and pan-mining. Yes, gold bars and nuggets dot the reels, but so do goodies like rubies and diamonds.
Of course, prospectors needed special tools to uncover precious deposits, so symbols of axes, dynamite bundles, carts and horses, and the ubiquitous gold pan are used, as are stylized card symbols (9, 10, J, Q, K and A) found commonly on Microgaming poker machines. The only human character seen during the game is a hilarious little toothless prospector with his white beard and a crazy smile on his face.
Fortune Finder allows bets of up to 600 coins per spin. Available credit denominations range from $0.01 up to $0.25; specifically, gamblers can choose credits of the following sizes: $0.01, $0.02, $0.05, $0.10, $0.20 or $0.25 apiece. Since each line activated can accept wagers between one and twenty coins per line on up to thirty lines, the total bet per spin varies from $0.01 up to $150.
That’s a huge range of wagers for any five reel limited-pay line poker machine game. It’s especially rare for a game designed by Microgaming to allow bets with such a large top end; this company is not known for releasing games with such large max bets.
But it’s nice that no matter a bettor’s budget they can find a comfortable bet – penny machine fans and high rollers can rub virtual elbows while playing the game. Take note, however, that choosing bets at the low end of the spectrum can seriously limit the game’s jackpot potential.
Fortune Finder isn’t categorized as a bonus game, either by Microgaming or the majority of reviewers and poker machine fans who write about the games. Bonus pokies incorporate a special round or multiple special rounds that are triggered by a specific combination of symbols and usually played on a second screen. By that definition, this title doesn’t offer bonus play.
Microgaming makes up for the lack of a traditional bonus with two features that help bettors form combos for payouts, win free spins, or earn credit prizes based on a wager multiplier.
The first feature (and the most lucrative in terms of payouts) is the scatter symbol system. This title’s scatter symbol is an animated image of a miner that dances a little jig and shouts out a mountain man’s holler when scatter prizes are triggered. His bushy beard and lack of functional teeth are the stereotypical image of a frontier gold miner, and be warned that his sound effects do get old after a few rounds of play; thankfully Microgaming allows bettors to adjust sound and volume options.
The prospector symbol acts like typical pokie scatters; they work on any line, active or not, and they reward wager multipliers. If two miners pop up, the player wins a 2x bet multiplier; the value of the multiplier increases with each additional image, so three symbols earns 5x, four symbols earns 20x, and five symbols earns a big 100x wager multiplier. As an added bonus, three symbols pays out fifteen free spins, four symbols nets twenty free spins, and five symbols leads to twenty-five free spins. Each free spin prize also earns an additional multiplier that doubles the value of the already-multiplied scatter prize.
The second feature that pays bonus-style rewards is Microgaming’s unique pick-a-wild-symbol feature, one the company rarely uses. On games that use this system, the player chooses one of three symbols to act as a wild, and can change that symbol while they play.
At the bottom of the screen are images of three different treasures: a chunk of gold, a large diamond, or a blood-red ruby. That image now substitutes for all other symbols (except the scatter) to build winning combinations. Only three wilds will appear during any given round, because only reels 2, 3, and 4 contain them.
On Fortune Finder, wild symbols are not multipliers and they don’t trigger any other special rounds or features. Unlike many Microgaming pokies, the wild in this game doesn’t pay out any jackpots, so there’s no benefit to spinning multiple symbols besides making it easier to form a winning combo. Take note that during the free spins round triggered by scatter symbols the wild is locked until the free spins are over.