Diablo Reels: Overview
The ELK Classic Series rolls on strong with a seventh entry in the popular line-up. This time the series goes all Dia De Muertos thanks to a Mexican festival makeover. Actually, ELK Studios goes a step further than usual with this sort of genre, doing a 'deal with the devil' himself in their words. The result is a diabolically themed slot, where the simple gaming is augmented by respins, free spins, stacked, sticky, and multiplying wilds.
The Dia De Muertos concept isn't uncommon in the slots world, but ELK has pulled it off well using a whole lot of colour, skulls, sombreros, cigars, flowers, and potions. It wouldn't be overly controversial to claim that Diablo Reels is the best designed and most stylish slot in the series so far.
The soundtrack is spot on too, as a sexy Latin track adds the final touch, launching into full Mariachi mode during free spins. The reels rotate to old fashion bleeping noises, interspersed by heavy blow sounds of winning combos. Simple in some ways, yet aesthetically pleasing all the same, the game has a physical slot feel making it a fitting member of the series.
Playable from the usual bet range of 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin, the math model powering the game has some obvious similarities to Hit It Hard which means it could possibly even be a clone. This means fairly high volatility rated 8/10 combined with a solid RTP of 96.3%. Being more or less a shinier than usual fruit slot, don't expect to be showered in wins due to a slightly modest hit rate of 18.1%.
By default, the action is played out on a standard 3x3 grid with 5 paylines. However, you will instantly note 3 more rows above the main section. This extra grid is unlocked during certain features, where both reel sets become available.
Clicking our way to the paytable reveals a symbol collection that would make a pretty good accompaniment to shots and tacos in a Mexican restaurant. From low to high, players get chillies, limes, watermelons, bars, horseshoes, bells, sevens, and diamonds. The 8 regular symbols might have shown up in countless games, but ELK has done a pretty good job of making them look fresh for Diablo Reels. To an extent - we are talking about rather generic symbols after all.
The ever-helpful wild symbol is on hand to string a few winners together, in more ways than one. Its core role is substituting for any other symbol to make a combo, but it also has a couple of auxiliary roles that are covered below in the features section. Before then, know that a payline of wilds is worth the same amount as a payline of diamonds.
Diablo Reels: Features
Despite being a classic slot, there are several features boosting the win rate. These come in the form of Nudging Wilds, Wild Stack Respins, and a triggered round of free spins.
Nudging Wilds distinguish themselves from regular wilds by an imprinted arrow. When a Nudging Wild lands it nudges the reel upwards, awarding respins until it leaves from the top of the screen. A Nudging Wild on the top reel may also come with an x2 or x5 multiplier.
When a full stack of wilds appears on one reel the Wild Stack Respin is triggered. This feature awards a respin on both sets of reels – the upper and lower. Also, one reel is completely stacked in wilds for this respin. When both reel sets are in action, paylines are doubled to 10. Better yet, if you land both wilds simultaneously, the Stacked Wilds become sticky which can help pep up a few wins.
Mr Diablo is who you want to see for the final feature as his horned skull graces the scatter symbol - 3 of them view trigger the bonus game awarding 10 free spins. Once triggered, both the upper and lower reel sets are active, with the full 10 paylines in play. A sweetener during this round is that no low-value symbols appear on the upper reel set. There is also a chance to extend the feature by landing three scatter symbols.
Diablo Reels: Verdict
If you've made it this far through the series you'll know what to expect by now. The good news for fans is that Diablo Reels is an excellent example of this type of slot and possibly even the best to date. The theme has been utilised well and the attractive audio/visual package blends seamlessly together.
The base game isn't exactly awash in wins and can be quite brutal due to the lowish hit frequency, but Nudging or Stacked Wilds do well to stave off monotony. Of course, the gameplay does tend to the simple side, which may put off those after a more sophisticated session.
Perhaps a greater sticking point for some players will be the potential, a not uncommon complaint with some ELK slots. Diablo Reels' max win of 2,500 times the stake isn't a total deal-breaker, but it's hardly awe-inspiring either. If you're looking for a game in the series offering higher potential, Win Win is the slot to go for with a max win potential of 5,000x. ELK slots often waver between these two amounts, the team being a little unsure of which one to settle on. Ah well, players' choice after all and they do get to vote with their coins.
All in all, Diablo Reels is a top contender in the series with impressive looks and thrilling features. Of course, if the 3x3 fruit thing isn't your forte, or you're after all-time wins, then it is unlikely Diablo Reels will scratch the itch. However, for a night of classic slots action with a couple of cheeky tequilas on the side, you could do a lot worse than put Diablo Reels through its paces.
Game title: Diablo Reels