Although the Micro Knights game falls outside of ELK Studios’ usual wheelhouse, the studio has nonetheless decided to enter the cluster payments market. The end product has a flavor in between Rabcat’s Treasure Heroes and Relax Gaming’s Snake Arena. Micro Knights looks and plays like an iOS or Android app when viewed on a mobile device. The grid, like everything else, is extremely little and detailed. You won’t see any difference in portrait mode, but switching to landscape mode will cause the grid to shrink, allowing more of the scenery to be seen. It’s a tiny grid, compared to others you might encounter. It’s a blessing that today’s smartphones have such sharp displays. A few years ago, all you’d see would be a pixelated smear. The knights next to the grid and the dragon resembling Toothless the Night Fury from How to Train Your Dragon participate in the fight occasionally.
Each spin causes 49 symbols to randomly fall into place on a 7×7 grid reminiscent of chess. Five or more identical symbols that land next to one another in Micro Knights trigger a reward. When that happens, the symbols that formed the winning combination are taken out of the grid and replaced by new ones. A typical strategy that can produce multiple consecutive victories with a single spin. It’s also how many of the game’s features are implemented in Micro Knights.
Traditional betting allows players to place wagers ranging from 20 c/p to $/€100 each spin, either manually or automatically. For those who prefer a more methodical approach, ELK has offered its standard four betting strategies: the Jumper, the Booster, the Leveller, and the Optimiser. Symbols, like those in most grid positions, are often created from the ground up for each individual game. Meat on the bone, water wells, arrow targets, and mushrooms are all used as low pays in Micro Knights. Bunnies, frogs, goats, and bulls command the highest prices. Twenty or more bulls in a cluster pays off at a maximum of 250 times the initial investment. The golden chalice serves as the section’s final special symbol, and it is a wild that can replace any other symbol (except the bonus symbol).
The rate of return to players is above average, coming in at 96%. A medium/high variance mathematical model produces a mix between smaller, one-off wins and larger, feature-fueled ones, but the overall potential is nothing to get too excited about because ELK has decided to cap its game once again.
Features from ELK Studios’ Micro Knights
Micro Knights has the potential for long winning streaks, as any respectable grid slot should. By far, these are the greatest times, and you’ll want to utilize all of the available options. It may take a few spins to get the hang of things, but if you’re familiar with other grid slots like Reactoonz, you’ll have no trouble picking this one up.
The Queue is both a widely-used feature and a very difficult one to describe. To the left of the reels is the Charging Knight who randomly sprints over the grid, pushing one row off. This line drops below the belt, and the signs form a line.
Matching symbols are grouped together. Let’s pretend there are two groups of three bunnies on the grid, and two bunnies are next in line. All possible winning clusters on the grid will get symbols from the queue. In this instance, there are two sets of three bunnies. When those symbols are used up, the next ones in line might be used instead. Each new spin clears the stack of waiting icons. In the upper left corner of the board, you’ll find the Smashing Knight. When he enters play at random, he adds one to the counter for every symbol in the queue.
There’s a victory meter to the right of the grid, and it features cluster rewards as well. The meter advances with each winning cluster, and when it’s full, one of the following Feature Flags is activated, in order:
The dragon unleashes an inferno, wiping the board clean of any low-value symbols.
The Extra Wilds feature randomly inserts 3–15 Wilds into the playing area.
Drops a large symbol onto the grid, up to 4 squares in size.
Cost – adds two to five symbol rows to the queue.
In an epic charge, all the symbols are shifted into the queue at once.
In order to create winning combinations, Boosted Queue will use all of the symbols in the queue.
As long as new clusters form, the meter will continue to fill and features will be granted. The meter in the main game starts over after each spin.
Finally, if you see three bonus symbols anywhere on the screen, you’ll enter the Bonus Game. In the bonus round, you get 5 free spins with a sticky win meter and a non-resetting queue.
Conclusion: Micro Knights (ELK Studios)
There are a few features in Micro Knights that will make you think of other slot machines. Despite this, it does not feel like a half-hearted attempt to produce something simple. Indeed, ELK Studios has made good use of its skilled artisans, as Micro Knights is exceptionally well put together, from the impressive introduction to the painstakingly detailed visuals. There is a good amount of unique touches and character development to make the experience feel fresh. It’s entertaining and has a maddening “I want more” quality.
The rapid pace of events is a big component of the story’s appeal. This is because a chain reaction of cool features may be set in motion with only one spin. You can see why you only receive 5 free spins in the beginning; it’s much easier to do that during free spins.
Although ELK has reached a respectable grid placement, it is not without drawbacks. The biggest problem is the potential which ELK, for whatever reason, have once again capped at 2,500 times the stake. This alone makes the game far less exciting than the other major grid slot alternatives. You might as well pit Aunt Franny’s Chihuahua against your neighbor’s Pitbull if you try to compare it to one of those beasts. However, unlike hugely volatile grid slots like Dragon Fall or Jammin’ Jars, which can go on and on, this one doesn’t go nearly as insane when the features chain together.
Nevertheless, Micro Knights is a wonderfully crafted game that has plenty of exciting moments and entertaining gameplay. Even if it isn’t quite as potent as the competition, it’s still good enough to try for at least a couple of workouts.