ELK Studios is an innovative slot developer based in Stockholm, Sweden with a fiercely loyal following. Players have anxiously awaited each new game since they launched The Lab in October 2013. Their latest slot, Hidden will be rolled out on September 13. It is also their 13th release. They have kept players up to date on the slot’s development since the first version was highlighted on their website with an estimated 1,400 hours of work remaining to be done.
With an average of only three slots coming to market each year, ELK Studios makes painstaking efforts to ensure that each game is as good as or better than the last. Hidden is no exception.
From the first preview that revealed the locale and setting of Hidden, players knew they were in for more than just another Egyptian based slot theme. This one would be approached from the modern perspective of an explorer. The first tease-line was captivating: “The sun falls on the pyramids and the heat makes the air vibrate. It is almost as if the pyramid come alive as you squint with the eyes due to the bright light. Suddenly…”
There was no pay table released and the pay lines didn’t seem to make sense. Carefully analyzing winning combinations on the five reel, four position (5×4) game screen yielded 178 ways to win, or 178 virtual connecting pay lines.
When they revealed more elements in the second version ELK let on about added symbols and announced that scatters had been activated so they were moving along to the bonus game and polishing the reels to perfection. Players were invited to give it a spin and see the progress as anticipation built. There was still no information about where the game could be found once launched, but with a little exploration of their own, hungry players set out to far corners of the internet in hopes of finding the game at Dream Jackpot Casino or Red Queen Casino. Players from Finland should be able to find it at Karjala Casino.
The third version was finally released in demo mode with the focus shifted from the base game to the Treasure Room Free Spins bonus game. Players were asked to try it in mobile mode, as: “Being Mobil First! functions, features and animations need to fit perfectly in our player’s hands,” read the exposé along with another tease that read: “Lost in time, hidden in a chamber far away from the public eye, untouched treasures are waiting discovery. Not least the massive golden top-stones that once adorned the Great Pyramids.”
One unique feature of ELK Studios’ games is a toggle switch that allows certain bet strategies to go into effect, even in auto-play mode. The strategies are built into the games and can be turned off after any spin. Betting strategies allow players to automatically raise their bet after any win up to 10x original bet; raising the bet after 5 concurrent losing rounds; a bet Booster after losses; and an Optimizer that automatically changes bet level up or down a set percentage based on total bankroll balance.
The nitty-gritty data on Hidden reveals that the game is responsive to the device it’s being played on and optimizes itself for whatever device is delivering it. The theoretical return to player percentage (RTP) is set at 96.4%. It’s a very high variance game with a volatility factor of 8:10. This means wins are few and far between but when they happen they can be large. The hit frequency is 24%, so only 24 out of 100 spins, on average, will be a winner – that, along with the high variance tells us the next number is likely to be huge. There it is – the max win on Hidden is 215,000 euro! With bet levels ranging from 0.20 to 100 euro per spin we find the max win is 2,150x total bet for the winning spin regardless of bet size.
On September 13, 2017, the not so-well hidden game will be exposed in all its glory to be judged by players who have been spoilt by ELK Studios. The blocks fall as they may.