(ELK Studios) Slot Review

ELK Studios

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Gladiatoro: Slot Overview

Here's a dilemma for you, players. Would you rather be dropped into an arena with a wild bull or go up against an armed-to-the-teeth gladiator? Toughie. One is hundreds of pounds of murderous meat; the other is an unstoppable raging bull. Now imagine both of those things mashed together, and you've got the jist of today's slot, Gladiatoro, from software provider ELK Studios. If you've been following ELK Studios, you'll no doubt be aware of Toro the bull, star of one of the studio's earlier hits, Wild Toro, followed up several years later by a flurry of slots, including a world tour. Proving you can't keep a good bull down, here is Gladiatoro, which sees the nostril-snorting beast fight his way through an Ancient Roman setting.

ELK Studios has provided a backstory here to help lay the scene. In the world of Gladiatoro, Toro, a Roman general, was betrayed when the son of the Emperor, Matador, murdered his father to take the throne. Toro was sent into slavery and transformed into Gladiatoro, with a plan to rise through the ranks of the arena and have his revenge. Unusually for a gladiator slot, Gladiatoro's base game takes place in an armoury displaying a stack of equipment required for fighting off foes. Trigger the bonus round, though, and the action shifts outside to an arena for a hold 'n win style event. As per usual, players should expect the high visual standard we're used to receiving from ELK Studios, along with the slapstick antics of Toro and the Matador, who have been duking it out for years by now.

Gladiatoro slot
Gladiatoro slot - base game

Also, as per usual, one of Gladiatoro's main sticking points for some is bound to be its 94% RTP. Just as a fun thought experiment, since the original Wild Toro's RTP was 96.4%, and Wild Toro 2 dropped it down to 95%, any predictions what Wild Toro 3's RTP (if it eventuates) might be? Anyhoo, Gladiatoro is a highly volatile slot, played on a 5x4 gaming grid with 187 ways to win, expandable to 5x6 and 340 ways to win. Bets of 20 c to $/€100 may be placed, and players get five options from the X-iter feature buy menu.

Players also get 8 regular paying symbols for the purposes of hitting winning combinations. On the lower side are Roman numerals V, X, C, and M worth 0.4 to 0.8 times the bet for a 5 matching symbol win, then a vase of grapes, a stabbed watermelon, a helmet, and a rose as the highs, worth 0.9 to 5 times the bet for 5 OAK. Wild symbols substitute for any symbol except coins, Matadors, Diaz, or Toro.

Gladiatoro: Slot Features

Gladiatoro slot
Gladiatoro slot - free spins

If there is one thing Gladiatoro's got, it is plenty of weapons in its arsenal. These are Toro, Diaz, Matador & Toro Goes Wild, Level Up Coins, a Gladiator Bonus, and a stack of X-iter stuff.


When Toro hits on the board, he becomes a walking wild, moving leftwards before spinning off the first reel, generating a respin for each step. As he walks, he doubles the value of any coins that he travels over.


Diaz plays the role of a collector symbol. When it lands, Diaz collects the values of any coins in view on the reels, awarding them to the player.

Matador Symbols & Toro Goes Wild

When 2 x Matadors land, they award a Matador respin for which they are sticky – landing a new Matador symbol triggers another respin. If Toro lands at the same time as 1 Matador symbol, Toro Goes Wild triggers. Toro moves about, chasing the Matadors off the reels. When Toro is charging, he leaves behind a trail of wild symbols on his path.

Level Up Coin

When the level-up coin hits, it fires an arrow upwards to increase the number of rows to 6 at most and increase the number of ways to win to a maximum of 340. If no respins are pending, it will also award a respin.

Gladiator Bonus

Landing 3 or more coins triggers the Gladiator Bonus, which is played on a special reel set that lands only coins, special symbols, or blanks. The triggering coins carry over from the base game, and 3 respins are awarded. Landing new symbols reset the spin count, and filling the entire grid means the win cap is reached. These are the symbols available in the round:

  • Coins – these sticky symbols show bet multiplier values.
  • Matador – upgrades a random number of coins and disappears on the next spin.
  • Persistent Matador – upgrades a random number of coins on that spin and each following spin.
  • Diaz – collects the value of all coins on the grid before turning into a coin himself, showing the collected value. Diaz may also trigger the Toro Goes Wild feature, leaving behind a coin with double its value when knocked off the grid.
  • Persistent Diaz – collects the value of all coins at the end of the spin and each following spin.
  • Level Up – expands the grid and turns into a coin.
  • Toro – awards a respin and moves to the left until falling off the first reel. These spins do not count toward the main respin count. Toro does not interact with persistent symbols.


From the X-iter, players are able to engage these bonus modes for a specific cost.

  • Bonus Hunt – 3x the bet where each spin has 3 times the chance of triggering the feature.
  • Matador Respin – 10x the bet for a spin where 2 Matadors are guaranteed. If the bonus triggers, all Matador symbols will transfer over as persistent Matadors.
  • Diaz – 25x the bet for a spin guaranteeing a Diaz symbol. If the bonus triggers, all Diaz symbols will transfer over as persistent Diaz symbols.
  • Bonus Game – 100x the bet.
  • Super Bonus Game – 500x the bet for a bonus game trigger with one persistent symbol.
Gladiatoro slot
Gladiatoro slot - free spins

Gladiatoro: Slot Verdict

It's interesting to recall the hiatus between Wild Toro, when it may have felt like bull and matador had hung up their boots, and Wild Toro 2. Once the sequel dropped, it was quickly followed by Book of Toro, yes, a 'book of' version, Toro 7s, a classic slot edition, a bit later on Buffalo Toro - no guesses as to what creature joined Toro in that one, and Toro Shogun. The point is, what lay dormant for years exploded into a billow of releases, different from each other in function, but all housing a tussle between human and beast. In this instance, humorous tussles, which, for lucky players, may lead to potentially profitable outcomes.

We say different, yet similarities run through much of the Toro range. One is watching Toro chase down the Matador when both are in view. This occurs in Gladiatoro during the Toro Goes Wild feature, where Toro leaves a string of wild symbols behind as he travels in the base game. This is a familiar effect, but interestingly, despite strings of wild symbols, the task of getting matching symbols to link up isn't really Gladiatoro's primary objective. Instead, ELK Studios has taken the opportunity to flesh the Toro range out with a hold 'n win bonus round, boasting several special symbols to make it even more, uh, special. Not much in the Gladiatoro Bonus is wildly innovative, technically, which is a little out of character for ELK Studios, yet the execution, the little animations where the Matador flicks coins to increase values, for example, are neatly done. One innovation is the addition of Toro and Toro Goes Wild in the bonus round. It's a helpful addition since Toro doubles coins when he passes over them. There might not be a huge variety of symbols in the bonus round, but persistent symbols could be extraordinarily useful during the review. The persistent Matador was by far the most common of the two, and at times it was surprisingly generous.

As you might have suspected, the Gladiatoro Bonus isn't exactly Money Train 4 tier. It lacks the variety, the sophistication, and its 10,000x the bet top prize is put in the shade. However, Gladiatoro is an expertly crafted slot, built to ELK Studios' exacting standards, provoking plenty of feel-good vibes when seeing the Toro and Matador rivalry expressed in a hold 'n win arena.


There are wilder bulls in the hold ‘n win space, but Gladiatoro offers neatly packaged, amusingly executed entertainment.

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