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Last update: 13th January 2020
Our slot of the month for March 2018 is Kaiju, a new release from ELK Studios.
Elk Studios are based in Stockholm and have been making slot games since 2014. Previous games of theirs you may have come across are Taco Brothers, Bloopers and the high variance thriller Wild Toro (which won Game of the Year at the EGR Operators Awards 2017). Kaiju is their second release of 2018 (the first was the piratically themed slot Wild Seas).
Kaiju is a Japanese word that originally referred to monsters from ancient folklore, but its modern meaning is from the world of film; it refers both to a type of monster and to the genre of film in which the monsters appear – the most famous example of both being Godzilla. The Kaiju in the slot game, according to ELK, are “majestic creatures, cursed to grow crystals and gems on their skin…(which) hurt and turn the Kaiju into angry beasts, taking out their frustration on humans”. The release of Kaiju has been nicely timed to coincide with blockbuster Kaiju film Pacific Rim Uprising.
The Kaiju slot has a futuristic city setting redolent of the Blade Runner films. The female cyborg HA-42 fights the Kaiju, removing the crystals and gems from their skins (to be used as trading currency by humans) and returning them to a harmless state of hibernation.
Kaiju is based on a classic 5 x 3 reels array with 243 ways to win, but that is only the start as the Vertical Laser feature adds extra symbols outside the array.
The Vertical Laser is triggered by vertically connected identical symbols. In the base game, three vertically connected symbols fire the laser to create a wild immediately above the top symbol, creating additional ways to win. This can happen more than once on the same spin and when it does, it can create some big wins.
The real excitement starts in the Kaiju Battle bonus round, triggered by spinning three HA-42 symbols (which only appear on reels 2,3, and 4). One of the three Kaiju is then randomly chosen for HA-42 to fight; they differ in the placement of the “hotspots” with the green Kaiju being easiest to beat and the red Kaiju the hardest (but also potentially the most lucrative).
Here, HA-42 is going to fight the red Kaiju.
The player starts the bonus round with 7 free spins and the base 5 x 3 reels array with its 243 ways to win. Whenever the vertical laser fires and creates a wild in the bonus round, the reel expands upwards to include that position for the rest of the bonus round (increasing the number of possible ways to win) and the player gains an additional free spin. The maximum height a reel can expand to depends on “hotspot” placement – the glowing letters K-A-I-J-U. The red Kaiju has the hotspots placed to make all reels a maximum of 6 symbols high for a possible 7776 ways to win; the blue and green Kaiju have the K and the U in lower positions on the outer reels which makes the fight easier to win (as the vertical laser doesn’t have to includes so many symbols) but with fewer potential winning combos.
When the vertical laser creates a wild in a hotspot, all the symbols in the vertical line that created it turn wild before scoring, with the potential to produce huge numbers of winning combos.
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, where it gets really insane is if HA-42 manages to defeat the Kaiju before running out of free spins, by expanding the reels to cover all 5 hotspots. When the last hotspot is covered and all the symbols in the vertical line that triggered the laser turn wild, they also turn sticky – leaving wilds in those positions for all remaining free spins. Even if the bonus round doesn’t progress all the way, it can still get pretty exciting as the reels expand unlocking more ways to win.
Kaiju can be played with stakes ranging from 20p to £100 a spin, and also includes ELK’s Betting Strategies feature which allows players to try out 4 different ways of automatically adjusting stake level. As you’d expect from a slot with such a potentially explosive bonus round, it is high variance, with much of its 96.3% RTP tied up in said bonus round.
A final thing to note about Kaiju is that it has been designed with mobile phones in mind – and specifically to look good in portrait mode for super easy play on the go. This thoroughly modern and exciting slot could prove very popular with players.
Kaiju and other ELK Studios slot games can be hard to find at UK facing sites – here’s a few that definitely have it.