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For quite a while, there has been a sort of sub-genre of video slots geared around the idea of giving players a soothing, relaxing and immersive experience. The Great Wild Elk online slot by NextGen is a good example of this style of game because there are no visible boundaries for the reels or the rows, and gameplay is centered around soothing music and high-quality graphics that allow players to relax and enjoy their session. Along similar lines, this game has a medium volatility with a balanced pay structure.
Slot Format and Layout
The layout of this game uses five reels, three rows and 10 paylines. NextGen has used an atypical, 10-payline format with this title, but it works out well enough within the relaxing atmosphere that you probably won't notice much of a difference compared to 20-payline and 25-payline games when you play. Coin sizes start at $0.01 for a total bet size of $0.10 per turn, and they go up to $20 apiece for a bet size of $200 per spin. There are a variety of other bet sizes in between those extremes.
Most video slots have the wild symbol as one of the most important symbols in the game, and it often drives a majority of the gameplay. That is not the case in this title. Instead, the white elk shows up on the middle reel only, and it substitutes for anything but the scatter. Since it only appears on a single reel, there are no specific payouts for it.
The glowing symbol is the scatter in this game. It's also atypical in that it only shows up on the first, second, fourth and fifth reels only. You can only get a payout with this symbol if you get all four on the reels at the same time, and it pays out 500 times your total bet. That's a rather large win that's the same as a 5,000x line bet win, and it's one of the largest payouts in the entire game. It's unfortunate that it doesn't pay for three of a kind since it adds some unnecessary volatility, especially since it only shows up on four reels.
Free Spins Feature
Although the wild elk only appears on a single reel (the middle one), it provides a lot of value. If you get a winning combination that includes this elk, that's how the free spins are triggered, and you'll get between four and ten free turns. On every free spin, the entire center reel is wild. What's more is that you'll get an "enduring win" that adds up for every payout you get in the game, and that's an extra win you'll get at the end of the feature. You can also get re-spins with the Call of the Elk feature.
Elk's Light Feature
Finally, there are red, purple, blue and green rune symbols. These symbols can all turn into one of the higher paying symbols at the end of a spin to give you better chances of hitting winning combinations. This feature helps to drive the gameplay along, and when you combine it with the wild symbol that shows up on the center reel, it can turn into some major payouts.
Other Important Payouts
There are a handful of other important payouts in this slot as well. The elf with the green hair pays 250x for five, and the princess with the purple cloak pays 150x for five. Both of those symbols pay for two of a kind or more, and the rest pay for three or more.
Five of a kind in the eagle will give you a 75x payout. A win worth 50x is yours for five of the squirrel, and you can get five of the snake for a 25x win. Five of any of the four rune symbols (red, purple, blue and green) pay 5x, but the Elk's Light Feature listed above is where you'll get most of your value for these particular symbols since they can help you to get other wins.
Great Wild Elk is an online slot by NextGen that has a different feel to it than most video slots. Because of this, chances are players are either going to love it or hate it without much room for mild indifference. It has a good mix of features, and we encourage players to take a look at it, even if it turns out to not be their cup of tea. It's nice to see different directions being taken in the video slot industry with games like this, especially since it helps to build up a complete sub-genre of relaxation-based slots.