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Don McLean wrote the famous song “Vincent” about the subject of the Van Gogh slot, celebrating the painter’s short and fruitful time on planet Earth.
So with an open mind, a starry, starry night behind me and absolutely no intention of lopping off an ear, I decided to try my luck on this rather exciting and grand-looking slot at Mohegan Sun Casino (it’s also at sister site Resorts online casino) to see just exactly what it offered the typical slots enthusiast.
Here’s what Van Gogh delivered.
Overview: Van Gogh
With one of Van Gogh’s masterworks as the backdrop, this is a 5×3 reel slot which doesn’t feature reels as much as the symbols drop down from above thanks to the Tumbling Reels feature.
This also means that when you hit a winning payline, the symbols part of that payline will disappear, and trigger additional symbols to replace them and the potential of further wins from the same spin.
There are 20 selectable paylines in operation and you can play one, five, nine, 15, or 20 paylines on every spin. Bets can range upwards of $0.01 to $1 per payline, for a minimum bet of $0.01 or a maximum bet of $20.
That isn’t going to be a huge attraction to the higher stakes player but will certainly keep smaller and medium stakes gamblers interested.
In addition to the usual playing card lows, the base game sees three of Van Gogh’s most famous works (Starry Night, Irises and Self Portrait) as symbols on the reels, as well as a bonus symbol (which triggers the free spins), a wild symbol, and a Van Gogh logo symbol, which is the highest paying high symbol in the game.
During free spins, the three paintings are replaced by three different Van Gogh works and each of these works become scatter symbols during free spins, paying out if they appear three times across any of the reels. Tumbling Reels is also in action during free spins.
An autoplay feature allows you to play up to 25 free spins at a time, which is especially useful for players who like to sit back and watch the game, rather than continually click the spin button.
Who will the Van Gogh slot appeal to?
Once you’re over the initial surprise of this being a slot about a 19th century artist, it’s actually a rather enjoyable one to play. The features of the slot mean that it will certainly appeal to the new breed of player who enjoys plenty of features in a game, but it also retains the simplicity of a slightly more retro slot.
The smaller stakes mean it will appeal more to mid-lower stakes players. With no huge jackpot to chase, players who prefer smaller rewards more frequently will likely find plenty to enjoy on the slot.
Gameplay: Van Gogh
In terms of gameplay, the Van Gogh slot really hits the mark. The wins in the base game, while often small, occur often enough to keep you spinning and occasionally, you’ll hit a much bigger win which helps top up your balance.
The Tumbling Reels feature plays a huge part, allowing you multiple wins from the same spin relatively frequently.
However, it is the free spins round which is the real masterpiece here. Although the number of spins you receive is small, you can trigger many more free spins in this section (up to 300 is possible).
With the Tumbling Reels feature active and three more scatters on the reels, you can rack up several wins from a single spin relatively frequently. This really adds value to the game for the New Jersey online casino player.
Special features: Van Gogh
During both the base game and during free spins, this feature is active and ensures all high and low symbols used to create a winning payline disappear and are replaced by new symbols dropping from above, which can, in turn, trigger additional wins from the same spin.
Land three or more of the bonus scatter symbols across the first three reels and you trigger the free spins bonus round.
Here you can win six free spins, which can be retriggered and during which there is are three different Van Gogh paintings on the reels acting as scatters (which pay out when you land three or more in any position). Tumbling reels is in operation during free spins too.
The in-game wild symbol can replace any high or low symbol to help create a winning payline.
This feature has many names depending on which slot you play, but the fact that your winning payline symbols disappear and new symbols drop into their place can see you hit more than one win from a single spin.
This can be especially beneficial during free spins in particular and adds real value to the slot.
The sound effects in the game are sparse, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When something happens on screen and you hear it, you’re more alert to it.
Using sound in this way is clever as it offers players, especially those on autoplay, another cue that they may have hit a feature. The sound effects are well thought-out and not too grating.
Although you only get a small number of free spins — these can be retriggered and with the Tumbling Reels feature in operation — it actually feels like you get considerably more free spins on your turn than you actually should.
Whether that is an illusion or not, it does make the player feel positive about the slot. The three additional scatter symbols during free spins is also a huge bonus too. With retriggering free spins, you could potentially earn up to 300 free spins in total.
Being picky, I’d have liked to see some more of Van Gogh’s works across the reels. Just six from an artist of such repute, especially when the reels are packed with the usual playing card lows, is a tad disappointing.
Graphics and soundtrack 3.5/5
The graphics are clean and crisp and the works of Van Gogh make for great symbols.
The sound is somewhat basic, with the base game often silent at times, but it triggers when wins and features are hit and that does work well on the slot.
Originality and creativity 4/5
The theme is certainly original and far removed from the usual theme for slot games, so IGT deserves credit for that.
They have realized the game well, with a solid free spins round and Tumbling Reels making this game one that catches the eye and is fun to play.
Play value 3/5
Regular base game wins are generally small, but you can hit higher value ones, but the real value comes from hitting the free spins where bigger wins are much more plentiful.
Jackpot potential 2/5
Five thousand times your line bet isn’t a huge amount to win, especially if you are playing for just $0.20 per spin, but it is not to be scoffed at for people who aren’t chasing a big win.
If you are, then Van Gogh won’t deliver the riches you seek.
Repeat play 4/5
The Van Gogh slot has plenty of longevity in it. The features make for an absorbing game, both in the base game and especially in free spins.
The fact that wins are common means that it won’t take too big a bite out of your bankroll.
Total score 17.5/25
I was very pleasantly surprised by the Van Gogh slot. Not expecting a great deal, the game proved to be fun to play, rewarding, and wholly enjoyable. This is one slot that players will come back to play frequently.
Image credit: Martien van Gaalen / Shutterstock.com