Ice Wolf (ELK Studios): Overview
Within a minute of playing Ice Wolf, there’s no missing the fact that ELK Studios has built its Norse Mythology-themed adventure from the DNA of its highly successful Gold trilogy. On a basic level, Ice Wolf has a similar gameplay structure to said games - you spin the reels and hope to unlock more paylines to achieve greatness. But this mutated strain handles its expanded reel mechanic in a more traditional way as you will see, borrowing heavily from Scandinavian compatriots Quickspin and their 2016 release Phoenix Sun.
If we gave you the impression that you're in for another round of Tahiti Gold or Voodoo Gold, well, we might have taken it a bit too far. Sure, you will get to experience a similar kind of emotional roller coaster ride as you watch the reels expand and collapse, and there are reel modifiers to benefit from here as well, but you don't get quite the same volatility or potential - not even a proper free spins feature for that matter. Does it matter? Let's find out.
For reviewers and slots enthusiasts like us it's always extra fascinating to anatomize slots from ELK Studios as they're always so generously transparent when it comes to stats and numbers. The default setup of the slot, however, is not equally exciting. Initially, you get started on a 6x3, 729 ways to win layout. This stage of the game, as you can probably imagine, is not where the magic happens, but as soon as you start landing winning combinations it slowly begins to warm up. If you really get on a roll, you can end up playing on a 6x7 layout instead with 74,088 ways to win. Add some juicy wilds and multiplier modifiers to that and it can get quite interesting. So, if you're ready to join the wolf pack on their journey across the arctic desert you can do so from 20c/p to €/£100 per spin across all devices.
Visually, Ice Wolf utilizes a watercolor-like graphical style in the backdrop and crisp, stylish design in the reel area to create a unique aesthetic. With a majestic snow-covered mountain landscape in the background and floating lens flare, the reels are flanked by two viking ship woodcarvings in the shape of wolf heads. Spinning on the reels you will see Q, K, and A card suit symbols as well as six picture symbols. Listed in order of value are the viking shields, hammers, axes, eagles, reindeer's, and wolves. The latter is the most rewarding, giving you 5 times your stake for a six of a kind combination.
Ice Wolf (ELK Studios): Features
Ice Wolf is played in two modes; Normal mode and Respin mode. All spins in Normal mode starts with only the bottom reel section (6x3, 729 ways to win) activated. Now, a winning combination in Normal mode triggers the Respin mode and removes ice tiles to unlock additional paylines. The number of symbols per reel included in the winning combination corresponds to the number of symbols cleared from ice in the respective reel, up to a maximum of 7 rows per reel. The Respin mode ends when there are no new respins awarded.
The game also benefits from an Ice Wolf symbol. When it appears on the reels, it triggers a wolfpack that clears away all ice on that reel, leaving a trail of wilds from its position and upwards. It also awards one Respin. Furthermore, a few different reel modifiers may come into play to help you achieve winning combinations and boost your wins. These are only available in the top 6x1 section and won't activate until the ice is has been cleared away all the way to the top. This is what you can expect:
- Wilds - wild symbols on the top section are sticky until the end of the round.
- Multipliers - the multipliers are x2, x3, x5, x10, and x50. Once activated, these will multiply wins regardless of in which reel they are. Multipliers are additive and sticky until the end of the round.
- +1 Spin - this symbol is sticky until used for a respin.
Ice Wolf (ELK Studios): Verdict
Ice Wolf evolves from ELK Studios formula into another stylish reel-expanding adventure that offers a new twist on a familiar set of ideas that can stand on its own alongside its siblings in the Gold-series. So what's the catch? Well, with an unimpressive max win of just 2,500 times your stake, Ice Wolf does not possess the qualities needed to appeal to most hardcore gamers. In other words, don't expect to see it get hyped up in the casino community or make its way into any big win compilations. But, having created several slots this year specifically made to appeal to this circle jerk of players, it's not all that surprising to see ELK go back to something of a more standard nature so to speak.
It's not only the combination of high risk (volatility) and little reward that might scare some players away. With no bonus to trigger it can also get a bit monotonous and repetitive. Activating Respins and unlocking paylines as you make your way towards the modifiers in the top does offer some excitement, but after a few failed attempts having to start from the bottom again, it's easy to give up and move on.
Ice Wolf could have benefited from better max win potential, but at its core, it’s still a decent slot.