A Tale of Elves: Slot Overview
One of the good things about Christmas from a developer's point of view, is how versatile it is. Some go for a light sprinkling of the season like NetEnt did in Aloha! Christmas Edition, others go for the mid-ground. Microgaming, on the other hand, has created a slot so infused with Christmas cheer, if it popped you'd be showered in mince pies and mistletoe. To give it an even more traditional feel, Microgaming has packed it's 2020 Christmas contribution with some heartwarmingly classic gaming.
The base game of A Tale of Elves plays out in a snow-covered forest, in the depths of winter, before the big day. Here the 5-reel, 243 ways game area is framed by trees and Christmas lights. Triggering free spins shifts the action to the elves' workshop, where the wee guys are busy making toys for all the good boys and girls. Old fashioned toys like wooden trains that elves hammer away on in movies which kids these days don't really go for anymore.
Playable on any device, A Tale of Elves offers a modest range of bets starting at 30 p/c per spin, rising to £/€12 at the top end. From the outside, the game comes across as quite amiable; beneath the surface, you'll find a cold-hearted math model Microgaming rates as very highly volatile. It might look causal friendly, but this thing can fire off runs of dead spins or pop its clogs at any moment. Potential is huge too, a veritable Santa's Sack of goodies lies in wait good boys and girls, lucky ones at least. RTP is probably the biggest let down. It's not a reindeer hoof to the face, but 95.07% seems unnecessarily low without a jackpot in sight, yet sort of expected given the current development in the industry with increased regulation. On the bright side, Microgaming remains a transparent provider and has not introduced flexible RTP as many of its competitors have.
The low end of the paytable consists of J-A royals, all puffy white like snowmen, followed by the four elves of the tale. They come in blue, green, orange, and yellow suits where 5 of a kind is worth 5x to 8.33x the stake. A line of 5 wreath wilds is worth double the top premium, only trumped by the scatter as the most valuable symbol. Wilds land anywhere to replace regular pays to make a winning combination.
A Tale of Elves: Slot Features
A Tale of Elves might not seem the most generous at first, stashing just two features into your stocking. They are quite useful though, well free spins can be; scatter awards aren't quite so rewarding. They do help break up the base game monotony though.
Jolly old Santa is the scatter, landing anywhere on the reels - 2 of the stout chap in view triggers the Random Cash Prize feature. When activated, the game picks a random cash prize of up to 50x the bet for the trouble. This one's pretty frequent, landing once every 19 spins on average.
The plum in the pudding is free spins. To trigger them, at least 3 Santas need to be in view. When they are, 3, 4, or 5 Santas equates to a top-up payout of 1x, 20x, or 200x the stake, plus access to the free spins feature. Here players get to choose from four options, offering a variety of spins, win multipliers, stacked symbols, and ultimately, volatility to suit:
- Blue Elf Spins offers 18 free spins with an x2 win multiplier where the Blue Elf appears stacked 6 symbols high.
- Green Elf Spins offers 14 free spins with an x3 win multiplier where the Green Elf appears stacked 5 symbols high.
- Orange Elf Spins offers 10 free spins with an x4 win multiplier where the Orange Elf appears stacked 4 symbols high.
- Yellow Elf Spins offers 8 free spins with an x5 win multiplier where the Yellow Elf appears stacked 3 symbols high.
The Random Cash Prize remains in play during free spins, so it's possible to keep picking up those one-off wins here and there. It's also possible to retrigger free spins when 3 or more scatters land, re-adding the same option that was originally selected. As you'd imagine, free spins will take a bit more time to hit, theoretically triggering every 209 spins.
A Tale of Elves: Slot Verdict
At first, it might be easy to write A Tale of Elves off without giving it a second glance. It's so in theme it kind of feels like a blatant Christmas cash-in, yet there is more going on here than you might think. It's not a slot that leans on the envelope, about to burst forth with mind-altering innovations, at all.
This is the sort of classic Microgaming action that made the studio so incredibly popular back in the days and that is sure to bring joy to many veteran gamers. In a way, A Tale of Elves is a bit of a Christmas gift to the generation of players who were around to experience the release of iconic slots such as Jurassic Park, Immortal Romance, Bust The Bank, Fish Party, Game of Thrones, and all those other fantastic 243 ways games that still hold up today.
When it comes to volatility, A Tale of Two Elves certainly lives up to its rating, being unpredictably all over the place. One minute it's draining balances like a thirsty reindeer, the next it's linking up high-value symbols with wild stacks and multipliers for eyebrow-raising results. Having four free spins options broadens the appeal by allowing volatility to be influenced to an extent. It's also the same one seen in Game of Thrones, which proved popular. Being retriggerable is another sweetener, leading to potential of up to 20,166 times the stake. To hit that cap you would need to land a full screen of wilds/yellow helpers twice during the bonus (8.33x243x5=10,120x) - not impossible, but don't expect it to happen anytime soon either.
If you want an uncomplicated Christmas game that’s unashamedly seasonal A Tale of Elves is definitely worth a look. For something to settle into on a cold winter's night, while the snow is drifting in, the winds are howling, and you're toasty warm by a roaring fire, it could be worse.
A Tale of Elves offers an appreciated throwback to the glory days of Microgaming packing loads of charm, feel good vibe and solid gameplay.