Hit it Hard: Overview
ELK’s latest neon-drenched extravagance is the sixth slot in their Classic Series. It has been about six months since the previous one, Win Win, and while both are classic fruit slots at their core, the extras are satisfyingly different. Hit it Hard has a unique dice game that has players move around a board full of mini-games with the ultimate goal of breaking the bank. Like the fast-paced slot in question, let’s skip the pleasantries and get right to the point of spinning reels.
What initially hits you hard is the soundtrack the blows through the speakers. It’s like every 90s sitcom and game show theme music rolled into one. ELK Studios has gone for the big band vibe with a full horn section and an axeman wailing over the top. The sound effects are quite good too with classic slot bleeps and clicks. Just as successfully as any other game in the Classic Series, ELK has reproduced the modern flat top slot right on your device. The Equalizer like visuals cap off the effect and the result is a retro slot that is a lot more viscerally exciting than many in the genre.
The aim of the game is to get the dice rolling, but first thing is first – selecting bets. Players can stick with stakes of 20 p/c – £/€100 per spin, or pick one of the four pre-programmed bet strategies. These strategies can be activated and deactivated at any time and are an acquired taste. When they go your way they’re amazing, if not, they are the most annoying feature ever created. Player preference for sure. The base game is super simple and involves spinning a 3×3 reel arrangement with just 5 paylines that are worth learning from the paytable.
Continuing the simple rules, winning combinations are made up of 3 symbols only. All symbols are classic icons of the industry and are split into three groups of three symbols each. First up are the low pay cherries, lemons, and watermelons. The mid-table contains green, blue, and red BARS. Finally, the premiums are trios of green, blue, and red 7s worth 10, 25 and 50 times your stake respectively for a 3 of a kind combination. The final common symbol is the wild which only appears on the third reel. If it lands and is not used in a winning combination then that reel is held while the other two are respun for a second chance. Even better, the wild can also come with a multiplier of x2, x3, x4, or x5 attached to up the win rate.
Players will appreciate every multiplier they can get to offset a low hit rate of 15.9% while the volatility goes in the other direction with a high rating of 8 out of 10. RTP is respectable with a figure of 96.3%, and the resulting math model felt quite well balanced overall. It allowed the bonus game to be triggered a number of times during testing which is the main point of this colouful trip back to the 90s.
Hit it Hard: Features
Along with the Wild Respin which we looked at, the other feature is the bonus board game which sits above the reels. First, you will need to trigger it, and this is done when the dice symbol lands on the mid position of reel three. Before starting the bonus game, the dice symbol turns into a x10 wild first, and any wins are paid out. There are 23 game spaces on the board which offer different mini-games, and the dice is rolled randomly to move the player around. The spaces are broken down into these categories:
- Stacked Wilds: get a spin with Stacked Wilds on reel 2, then on reel 3. Then a final spin with Stacked Wilds on reels 2 and 3 simultaneously.
- Wild 10 Spins: get 10 spins with multiplier wilds guaranteed to land on reel 3.
- Quantum Leap: players make a leap around the board which can be much bigger than a dice roll.
- Power Run: this awards every feature you pass on a move. So roll a 6 and playout 6 squares rather than just the final space from the roll.
- Lucky Ballz: a game of pachinko with 4 ball drops to collect multipliers up to 500x the stake.
- Super Ballz: the same as Lucky Ballz except balls continue to drop until 2 land on the same multiplier.
- The key: players collect a key symbol.
- The vault: land here with two collected key symbols to Break the Bank with the maximum win.
- The remaining symbols award free spins with or without multipliers.
Players continue to move around the board as long as each batch of spins that are awarded has at least one winner. If you land on something like Super Ballz where there are no spins, you automatically get another roll of the dice.
Hit it Hard: Verdict
So will fans of ELK’s Classic Series appreciate what they’ve done with Hit it Hard? Sure will, with its familiar looks and feel, yet brand new features, it is another worthy addition to the Series and will undoubtedly entertain fans. ELK’s stated aim with Hit it Hard was to take players back to the neon-filled 90s. And they have nailed that objective. It has that Equalizer vibe to it, but with toned down rules and gameplay. The extra features are well executed, not to mention being as fun as they are tense when in play. Speaking of features, the board game triggered surprisingly often, and its rounds lasted good lengths of time too. Winning combinations seemed to land more frequently when the dice game was in operation, which helped extend its duration. So yes, there is plenty for fans to get excited about.
As well as its good points there are a few criticisms to go along with them that let Hit it Hard down. For one, potential is half of what is possible with Win Win on 2,500 times the stake. The hit rate is also down by around 3%, which is surprising since this game is all about hitting it hard, although with a higher volatility rating that is to be expected. On the positive, the RTP is slightly higher this time around.
To sum up, Hit it Hard is a fine addition to the Classic Series and it showcases everything that the range is all about. Simple, retro gaming married with modern aesthetics and features. The result is a pacey slot that is capable of doling out plenty of fun moments. Just a shame that it is outperformed by other slots in the series when it comes to key stats.