Games like Cygnus show that developer ELK Studios isn’t afraid to aim high; they’ve done similar things in the past. Sure, there was a starry sky, but give us a little leeway here. Visitors is a far more lighthearted take on space travel than Cygnus. This time around, ELK has opted on the lighter side with a game that has a flavor reminiscent of Rick and Morty. The accompanying plot and the bizarre extraterrestrial behavior contribute heavily to the overall irreverent tone.
The storytellers in Visitors take it to the next level by introducing a spiel about alien invaders who have discovered a hidden village. Few will have seen this coming, but these extraterrestrials like nothing more than pulling practical jokes and kidnapping cows. We don’t get it either, but it’s wonderful to have a comically disrespectful time slot.
The game takes place in space, with the player gazing down on a city from above on a 5×5 grid, reminiscent to SimCity. Although the aliens in Visitors have a rather cartoonish appearance, their gray skin makes them look quite menacing. Their sparkling eyes don’t exactly make them cute, however the color does play a role in shaping some of their other, less notable characteristics. The game’s charming visuals and its quirky sound design make for an entertaining diversion.
Visitors, playable from 20 p/c to $/€100 each spin, may appear like a Simpsons episode featuring Kang and Kodos, but it’s just as dangerous as those tentacled invaders. This is represented by the somewhat high potential but highly unstable mathematical model (8/10). The RTP of 96.1% is significantly over average, while the hit rate of 22.6% (about a win per four spins) helps moderate the experience. Since the bonus game is when things get crazy, it would be interesting to know how often you get free spins.
On a grid of this size, it’s a comfort that visitors use a higher than average number of win methods. Instead of paylines, Elk utilizes a 3,125-way winning structure. Any combination of three or more symbols in a row, beginning with the first reel, will result in a payout.
In terms of icons, there are 10 constants, five each from the minimum and maximum salary brackets. The low payouts are depicted by 10-A card images, but ELK has given them a new, alien appearance, somewhat unlike runes unearthed from a cave. High payouts feature an equally out-of-place fountain and four structures, adding to the game’s plethora of head-scratching situations. Values are modest all over, with five premiums netting anything from 0.7 to 15 times the stake. The last sign in this group is the flaming wild, which may substitute for any other normal pay symbol.
Tourists: Slot Functions
ELK’s creative abilities generally come through most brightly in the making of feature films. The success of the composition stems from the expert blending of the two components.
When the aliens arrive on Reels 1 and 5 at the same moment, the jokes begin. When this happens, a new spin is done using two of the three possible tweaks. The modifiers used are determined by the aliens’ eye color. Two of these trigger a respin of the reels:
One normal pay symbol is chosen to remain sticky, expanding to a 2×2 or 3×3 size for the respin, and the game is then reset to green.
Abduction (yellow): Respin with a win multiplier of up to 15x.
Aliens strike in pink, and during the respin, up to five sticky wilds are placed anywhere on the reels.
Keep your eyes out for the bonus game scatter, as three or more anywhere on the reels will launch the Alien Invasion Free Spins bonus game. When the feature is activated, the reels disappear and 25 new tiles appear, all of which feature either silver or gold spacecraft. There are five initial free spins that cannot be retriggered, however more spins may be won during the round.
When a silver ship docks, it awards one extra free spin and draws a border around its landing spot. The initial stake for this position is doubled, reaching x2. With each additional silver spaceship that lands in the frame, the win multiplier increases by 1, with a maximum of 4,096x. Multiple landings are more likely if the frames are touching vertically. All multipliers on the grid are doubled if a golden spaceship lands inside a walled-off area. The bonus will keep going until either all of the free spins are used up or the maximum win is attained.
Visitors’ Opinion on the Slot
The world-building in Visitors is engaging, leading to a promising beginning. The supplementary backstory is hilarious, despite being riddled with gaps and completely ludicrous. The Gold series is a great illustration of ELK’s inventiveness, and Visitors is more of the same. A story isn’t necessary for a slot to be amazing or even decent, but it may add depth to the game and give players something to root for when they press the spin button.
However, some people may be turned off by the extremely offbeat and childlike images. While we’re used to seeing slots with a cartoonish aesthetic, Visitors takes it to a whole new (and not nice) level. The difficulty spikes are so large that it almost feels like you’re playing a game designed for toddlers.
Don’t be fooled by the extraterrestrial story’s kooky cartoonishness; the underlying mathematical model is extremely unstable. The cow flipping antics of these dudes are no laughing matter. Thankfully, the game’s prizes are just as meager. In fact, Visitors is a prime example of one of the ELK catalog’s most promising openings. The studio typically alternates between a 2,500x and a 5,000x win cap, but for Visitors, they went completely bonkers and gave it a 10,000x cap.
Since multipliers can build up to respectable levels during the bonus game, it’s likely that more is achievable at that point. Essentially comparable to games like Money Train 2, albeit far less dangerous. However, Visitors has more going on in terms of elements that complement the bonus game, making it feel less like a life-or-death situation.
The Visitors slot machine may not feel like an ordinary ELK game at first, but that’s not always a negative thing. The studio ditched the seriousness for some funny bits, which are enjoyable but mask the fact that this is a really substantial gambling machine. Overall, it’s a passable slot, albeit its unusual visuals will likely split audiences.