Overview of the Io Slot

ELK Studios’ second video slot to feature their Gravity mechanic, Io, is appropriately named after a planet in the solar system. Cygnus, the first, was another Egyptian-themed mystery slot with an astronomical focus. Io goes further by setting the story in the heavens amid the stars. As well as the Gravity mechanic causing symbols to tumble arbitrarily left or right, players gain a plethora of features to accompany them on their adventure off-world.

Our destination is Jupiter, where we will visit the moon Io. But this isn’t some kind of interstellar diplomatic expedition. ELK describes it as a casino space station exploring the farthest reaches of the celestial system, which sounds a lot more entertaining than it is. It’s like being Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, except your mission is to mine the moon for precious metals. It’s all in good fun, and it helps set a lighthearted tone for what’s to come.

With every spin, 24 symbols are dropped into a grid of 6×4 with 4,096 possible winning configurations. Three or more identical symbols anywhere in view from the first column onwards constitute a winning combination. There are a lot of ways to win because they can show up on any row. Players can place normal bets ranging from 20 p/c to $/€100 per spin or opt for one of ELK’s four betting strategies before each game.

The Avalanche feature causes all winning symbols to disappear when a winning combination is made. As a result, there is a greater chance of forming further winning combinations as symbols naturally fill in the empty spaces. Since the columns are not flush like they are in most slots, symbols that slide downwards can land on the left or right, depending on the direction of gravity.

Avalanches can increase the height by one row, for a total of eight levels. Upon reaching this point, an infinite 262,144 ways to win become active. As the proper symbols fill in the blanks to keep the process continuing, avalanches also mean that winning streaks can go on for quite some time. When there are no more winners, the next spin will begin.

As to symbols, the paytable has 8 regulars, divided between high and low payments. All of the symbols, which include the traditional J, A, royal, star, clover, diamond, and fortunate seven, are depicted on spherical disks. If you get six of a kind with sevens, you’ll win five times your bet; with six J’s, you’ll win just twenty percent. Io’s three wilds—a regular one, the Charged one, and the Forge wild—are useful for piecing together combinations. All wilds have unique functions, but they all share the ability to stand in for other symbols, including the ones that trigger payouts.

A little case of déjà vu came up when analyzing the math model since it is almost identical to the one utilized before. That’s not a negative thing, either, because the resulting statistics support the game in question. The 8 out of 10 rating for volatility indicates a significant degree of uncertainty. The hit rate is up somewhat, to 24.6%, while the return to player (RTP) is down significantly, to 96%. In general, the solid potential and the moderately variable gameplay will appeal to players.

Io Slot Characteristics

In addition to the regular wild, there are two exceptional wilds. The Charged Wild first, and it has four lives to begin with. It stays in place for the duration of the reaction phase and takes damage if a Charged Wild contributes to a victory. After losing all four of its life, it disappears completely.

Following that is a version of the Tahiti Gold or Voodoo Gold symbol that some astute gamers may recognize as belonging to Wild Forge. When a Wild Forge shows up on Io, it generates a multiplier wild to fill the vacant space underneath it. There is no upper limit on how high the multiplier will go up in value with each usage of the Wild Forge. If the Wild Forge lands in the grid’s base, it transforms into a wild multiplier.

In order to reach the riches, or precious minerals as they are known locally, it is necessary to utilize the characteristics. ELK’s Laser function is there to assist you in finding your way. When the laser symbols fall to the ground, they fire a beam of light, obliterating themselves and any regular symbols in their path to make way for new ones. When two laser symbols cross each other, all symbols between the junction point and the point where the beams diverge turn wild.

Keep an eye out for the bonus symbols – 3 or more in view activate the free drops bonus game. Seven free spins are guaranteed at minimum, with a maximum of fifteen for six bonus symbols in view, and the free spins feature can be retriggered during its duration. During the feature, the grid expands to its full 8×8 size, and any Charged Wilds or Wild Forge symbols remain stuck at the bottom of the grid between spins for the full duration.

Io Slot: Conclusion

While we may have explored the far reaches of space, there isn’t much in Cygnus that players haven’t seen before. Jupiter is no longer visible, and there have been minor tweaks to features, but otherwise it’s very similar to its predecessor. The mathematical model is essentially unchanged, barring a tiny decrease in RTP of 0.1%. There has been no change to the potential of 5,000 times the initial investment, so that’s also fine.

If visual quality is a priority, go for the original Cygnus instead of Io because the latter lacks the visual flair and atmosphere of the former. If that doesn’t work, personal taste is the deciding factor. While Forge Wilds can’t make up for the fact that Io lacks the progressive multiplier of the original game, they certainly help. Not to mention sticky wilds during free drops which can deal some major harm.

The Gravity mechanics series is shaping up to be similar to the Gold series in certain respects. It’s fine to keep the game’s fundamentals while tinkering with its features and setting. There’s no reason why Kane can’t continue using the same strategy he’s had success with in the Gold series with in the Gravity range.

The most notable dissimilarity is in the overall treatment of the subject matter. Io has a more humorous history than Cygnus, and it is entertaining to imagine that you are a dealer at a space casino on an exotic moon in search of rare minerals. Of course, a slot’s story is nothing if the game itself is boring or has little potential. Thankfully, Io succeeds in these areas, making what isn’t exactly a novel experience a rewarding one nonetheless.

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