As the online casino industry increasingly saw growth coming from the mobile sector in recent years, more and more software providers emerged that specifically made their games with smartphones and tablets in mind. As a bonus, almost all of these offerings worked on standard computers as well, but being built from the ground up for mobile meant that they would be compatible with as many devices as possible.
One such group is Elk Studios, a small developer that was founded in 2012. This Swedish firm has truly taken the mobile first approach to heart, and it shows in their creations, which include optimizations few other companies can boast. While they have only developed a handful of slots over their few years in existence, these products are of a very high quality, and are an excellent addition to any casino site.
A Handful of Quality Choices
We’ve reviewed plenty of different software providers that have had very limited collections to offer players, but Elk Studios may be the smallest yet. So far, they have only specialized in slots, and there are only eight games available (including one, Wild Toro, about to be released in November 2016). Suffice it to say that you aren’t going to see any casinos built entirely on this selection, and this company doesn’t built platforms for other games to be inserted into, either. Instead, these are solely seen as a supplement to existing casinos.
That means that ultimately, this collection is only as valuable as the individual quality of these few titles. Thankfully, there’s a lot to like here, which helps explain why dozens of Internet gambling sites have chosen to purchase these games despite being small in number. Normally, we’d list a few of our highlights, but in this case, the following is the entire collection:
- Wild Toro
- DJ Wild
- Taco Brothers
- Electric Sam
- The Lab
- Champion’s Goal
Let’s take a look at a few of these games to see just what they offer. Champion’s Goal brings the excitement of a World Cup match to the reels, with blue and red teams facing off against each other in a variety of symbol. Blue symbols pay off in the standard left-to-right format, while reds pay in reverse. We love the fact that so many of the features are perfect for the theme as well: a free spins round comes with many triggered features that play out like a match, awarding free kicks, corners, and extra time (in the form of additional spins).
Bloopers might sound like a celebration of sports lowlights, but in reality, it’s the name of a (fictional) Hollywood production. You’ll be playing the crew that is helping to put this film together, matching symbols like the film stars, reels, and cutting boards. In a special bonus round, you’ll get a number of free spins with movie symbols, locked wilds, and the opportunity to retrigger the feature to keep the money rolling in.
Poltava, on the other hand, is a slot based on a historic 1709 battle from the Northern War between Russia and the Swedish Empire. Lions can become sticky wilds and award additional spins, while the various combat arms (cavalry, artillery, or infantry) have the potential to move into formation and trigger respins with nearly guaranteed winnings.
Each of these games features brilliant art, though the styles vary depending on what is appropriate for the theme. For instance, while Champion’s Goal has lots of photo-realistic depictions of fans, players, and the stadium itself, Poltava has a more rustic backdrop to fit the setting of the famous battle, with all of the soldiers and military equipment drawn in great color and detail.
Mobile To The Core
There are a couple of aspects to Elk Studios that should be of particularly interest to players. First, this is a group that has truly set up their games to be played on mobile devices. That doesn’t simply mean that the games will work on your iPhone or Android; instead, it means that every game was made with an understanding of how it would affect its playability on such devices. For instance, games were designed in order to limit how much of an impact they would have on battery life, a unique concern for phone and tablet users. All games are also optimized for play on small screens.
There’s another interesting feature that we’ve enjoyed in the Elk games: the ability to set a betting strategy that each machine will follow on your behalf without requiring you to manually make changes on each spin. For instance, you can make sure your bets will also be a certain percentage of your account balance, or have it move up or down (within set limits) after certain winning and losing triggers. This is not a huge game changer, but it’s a great little feature that shows that the developer was thinking about players and what they want.
The studio also takes care to give out quite a bit of information to players and operators about these machines. In particular, they are clear on the volatility level of each game: for instance, while Poltava ranks as a 9 out of 10 on their scale, Taco Brothers is a lower 3 out of 5 (yes, the varying scales is a little odd, but the information is still valid).
A Minuscule but Valuable Addition
Given that the number of Elk Studios games is in the single digits, you might not expect to see them in a lot of places across the Internet. But several dozen of the best casinos have them as a part of their collections, and it is easy to see why. Each of these creations is of a very high quality, not only in terms of presentation but also in overall design. By that, we mean that everything comes together well: art, gameplay, and special features, all of which combine to create fun and engaging themes.
Because there are so few titles that you can play from this company, it is difficult for us to tell customers that they should choose a casino based solely on whether these slots are a part of the offerings there. In fact, while these games are very good, they aren’t above and beyond what other god developers have created – with the possible exception of how well optimized they are for mobile users. With that in mind, we think these games are definitely worthwhile to seek out, but it’s important to look at the overall casino when making a decision: after all, even if you love these games, you’ll probably get tired of playing the same eight slots over and over again.