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Western Belles Slot Machine

The racy and risque Western Belles online slot machine was released in early
2014 by renowned slot manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT), under
the company’s IGT Interactive division.

As an online only slot, Western Belles can only be played through an online
casino platform which utilizes IGT Interactive software. Fortunately for fans of
this unique Old West meets the Playboy Mansion style slot, IGT Interactive
products like Western Belle can be found on more than a 100 online casino
networks – including global leaders like Bet365, BetVictor, Paddy Power, Party
Casino, and William Hill.

The game’s theme is inspired directly by the cowgirl pin up artwork of Gil
Elvgren 1914 – 1980, an American artist who specialized in painting whimsical
depictions of gorgeous women posing and showing off scantily clad themed
costumes. One of Elvgren’s most popular genres of pin up art involved his
beloved “Western Belles,” a group of women who have no trouble riding horses or
heading out on the range.

Of course, Elvgren’s belles are typically outfitted in revealing skirts and
low-cut blouses, but within the obvious focus on beauty is the artists’ clear
love of the Wild West dynamic. Among the well known models of the 1940s and
1950s that sat for Elvgren’s pin up treatment were Arlene Dahl, Barbara Hale,
Myrna Hansen, Kim Novak, and Donna Reed. During World War II, Elvgren’s images
of buxom American beauties were so appreciated by U.S. airman that the pin ups
were even plastered over the nose tips of fighters and bombers.

Between 1945 and 1972 Elvgren worked for Brown & Bigelow, a publishing
company based in his hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. Through an exclusive
licensing agreement with Brown & Bigelow, IGT Interactive was able to obtain
genuine Elvgren pin up paintings for use in its Western Belles online slot.

The game’s title screen immediately sets the adult appropriate tone for
Western Belles, featuring the title written out to appear on an old fashioned
wooden sign. Below that, a rickety fence occupies the foreground, with a smiling
pin up cowgirl straddling the top. Her red boots and scarf combine with a blue
skirt and white blouse to accentuate the Americana angle, but men will likely
never notice that homage, focusing instead on the woman’s long blonde hair and
even longer legs.

The reel array dominates the main game screen, but in the background you’ll
find a basic desert landscape, with brushy bushes, red rock spires, and a clear
blue sky overhead.

As for the reel symbols, Western Belles follows through with its theme in
fine fashion, as even the basic card rank symbols 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A are
styled to evoke Old West style printing. Moving on to the themed symbols, you’ll
be spinning the cowgirl boot, the cowgirl hat, the woman in the white blouse,
the woman in the blue vest, the lipstick kiss, and the Bonus symbol.

Additionally, Western Belles includes an interesting feature known as Wild
Reels, and when activated, this will cause entire reels to be filled with full
fledged pin up paintings that serve as wild symbols. The Wild Reels come in two
varieties, one for the base game which includes a Christmas cowgirl, and another
showing a gunslinger cowgirl which appears only on free spins. A Wild Reel
occupies all four spaces on a given reel, turning each space wild and replacing
any symbol needed to create winning combinations across the screen.

For the most part, Western Belles integrates Elvgren’s artwork perfectly,
giving players a portrait shot on the main reels while they anticipate the full
body reveal on Wild Reels. The game’s overall design scheme succeeds in
capturing the essence of the Old West vibe, as well as Elvgren’s clear
appreciation for the female form. Western Belles may not be a favorite for
ladies out there, but their husbands will surely sneak in a few spins on a game
that is clearly designed with men in mind.

And even if the visual motif doesn’t appeal to you, fans of classic Western
films will also appreciate Western Belles because of the game’s intrepid
soundtrack selection. Complete with the sounds of cracking whips, horses
neighing and galloping, and even original songs by famed Spaghetti Western
composer Ennio Morricone.

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Autoplay
Launch:
Genre:
Software:
IGT
Reels:
Paylines:
Min. coin size:
Min. bet:
RTP:
92.85% - 96.33%
Wilds:
Yes
Scatters:
Yes
Multipliers:
Yes
Progressive:
No
Jackpot:
Yes
Max win:
Volatility:
Bonus feature:
Error processing table!

Gameplay Features and Mechanics

On its surface, Western Belles appears to be yet another five reel 40 pay
line video slot machine design, following IGT’s established template. Each reel
contains four symbol spaces, putting 20 symbols in play on every spin.

Coin denominations begin at $0.01 – putting the game under the penny slot
classification on a technical level – before escalating to $0.02, $0.05, $0.10,
$0.20, $0.30, $0.50, $1, $2, $4, $5, and $10.

With 40 pay lines in play, the minimum cost to cover for players looking to
activate the full range of max betting features should thus be $0.40. But as you
prepare to make your first spin on Western Belles, you’ll notice a new feature
that isn’t found on all that many games.

In the area where players toggle between the number of pay lines they’d
prefer to activate, you’ll see a header reading “40 Lines + Wild Reel.” By
toggling through to activate this feature, the cost to cover per spin jumps from
40 credits to 200 credits – or from $0.40 to $2 for penny players.

This may seem like a steep jump in the minimum cost to play even one spin,
and indeed, it is. But in exchange for the extra 160 coins you’re playing on the
40 Lines + Wild Reel feature, Western Belles will ensure that every single spin
produces a Wild Reel. And when you’re able to launch the game’s free spins
bonus, every free spin will include not one but two of the Wild Reels every time
out.

Once again, Wild Reels occupy all four symbol spaces on a single reel,
turning that entire reel wild for the purposes of triggering winners. So for the
additional 160 coins per spin, you’ll be guaranteed to see a Wild Reel show up
every time. This can provide a tremendous advantage when trying to land winners,
but as you might suspect, the additional cost can lend Western Belles a slightly
higher level of volatility than playing it for 40 credits only.

Assuming you choose to activate the 40 Lines + Wild Reel feature, the minimum
cost to cover per spin stands at $2, while the maximum can reach a whopping
$1,000.

Aside from the addition of Wild Reels, the gameplay offered by Western Belles
closely follows the established pattern found in most IGT and IGT Interactive
titles. You’ll be spinning for regular wild symbols and Wild Reels, along with a
Bonus symbol that applies a multiplier to wins and helps unlock the game’s free
spins bonus round.

When it comes to larger progressive jackpots, Western Belles is a standalone
game, so it doesn’t connect to any progressive networks.

During the base game you’ll be competing for your share of a fairly standard
IGT slot pay table – one found in many of the company’s online and brick and
mortar slot titles.

The jackpot symbol in Western Belles is the lipstick kiss symbol, and landing
five of these along an activated pay line will return the top payout of 1,000
credits. If you can score four of the lipstick kiss symbols on screen, you’ll
receive 200 credits, and three of them are good for a reward of 50 credits.

The lipstick kiss symbol also serves as the primary wild symbol in Western
Belles, so it can replace any other symbol in the game except for the Bonus
symbol to create winning combinations.

From there, each of the cowgirl symbols offers a 500 / 100 / 25 pay scheme
for landing five, four, or three identical symbols, respectively. Both the
cowgirl boot and the cowgirl boot follow the 200 / 60 / 15 pattern. The As and
Ks among the card ranks pay out 125 for landing five, while the Qs, Js, 10s, and
9s drop down to 100 credits for a five reel winner.

Based on the IGT Interactive marketing information, Western Belles offers a
low to medium level of volatility, combining increasingly frequent, yet smaller
payouts, with a higher cost to cover per spin with the Wild Reel feature
activated.

We mentioned this above, but just in case you forgot, the base game’s wild
symbol is the lipstick kiss symbol – which can replace any other symbol on the
screen except for the Bonus symbol. By combining lipstick kiss wild symbols with
Wild Reels, players can trigger multiple winning combinations on lucky spins.

Speaking of those Bonus symbols, which simply read “BONUS” in gold lettering,
they’ll only appear on the second, third, and fourth reels – also known as the
middle reels. When you see one or two of these Bonus symbols, the result will be
lackluster, as they don’t produce payouts or affect the game in any way. But
when you land three of the Bonus symbols on screen one on each of the middle
reels, this will automatically apply a multiplier of 2x to double any payouts
generated on that spin.

Most importantly, however, landing three Bonus symbols unlocks Western
Belles’ free spins bonus feature.

Triggering the Bonus Round

Following the usual IGT pattern, landing three Bonus symbols provides a dual
benefit of sorts. First, you’ll enjoy a 2x multiplier on any wins earned on that
spin. Second, the game will award you with five free bonus spins.

This free spins bonus round is a great way to score some huge wins on Western
Belle, all without parting ways with a pretty penny. You’ll get to spin away and
hope to land big winners, and your bankroll won’t drop at all. Any payouts you
earn on a free spin will be paid out according to the same coin denomination you
used on the bonus round triggering spin.

And if you have the 40 Pay lines + Wild Reel feature activated heading into a
free spins bonus round, you’ll receive two full Wild Reels on each and every
spin. This means that eight of the game’s 20 symbol spaces will be completely
covered by Wild Reels, creating a wealth of opportunity for landing winning
combinations across the screen.

You’ll only get five bonus spins to work with after triggering the round
though, a fairly limited award that falls far behind some of the extravagant
free spin bonus rounds out there today. To help compensate for this, Western
Belles allows for re triggers, so if you can land three Bonus symbols on the
middle reels during a free spin, you’ll receive five more free spins on top.
This re triggering can occur over and over again, up to the maximum of 225 free
spins in a row.

With two full Wild Reels in play on every free spin, along with the usual
lipstick kiss wild symbols, every free spin you can earn provides the potential
for big time wins. And when you do land a sizable score, the game will reward
you even further with a full screen animation featuring one of Elvgren’s
signature leggy pin up beauties riding her horse while stars shoot through the
sky.

Aside from the allotment of free spins, Western Belles foregoes the usual
assortment of bells and whistles, so you won’t be enjoying any touch screen
guessing games, side screens, or story modes. This lack of gameplay dynamics can
make Western Belles feel a bit one dimensional over time, as the game simply
provides base gameplay throughout.

Conclusion

Western Belles is a game designed expressly with a niche market in mind:
gentlemen who fondly remember the era of Westerns, and the cute cowgirls that
often co-starred in them. Through IGT Interactive’s exclusive licensing
arrangement, the inclusion of Gil Elvgren’s original pin up paintings is a nice
touch, giving the game a sense of genuineness that recreations simply wouldn’t
match. Although modern video slot fans may find themselves zoning out after a
few hundred spins, thanks to the lack of bonus side games, Western Belles is
still a perfectly suitable online slot machine that offers low to medium
volatility.