Alpha Eagle: Slot Overview
Take flight with casino games developer Hacksaw Gaming in Alpha Eagle which follows on from a previous slot called Buffalo Stack'n'Sync and shares a number of similarities. For instance, it's set in a stunning outdoor location populated with numerous wild animals and makes use of a Stack'n'Sync feature. There are plenty of dissimilarities as well, though, including two different bonus rounds and a completely different vibe. If you're keen to see if Alpha Eagle is worthy of its name or is more deserving of beta status, come take a look.
Here's something fun to do. When you load up Alpha Eagle, try it with the speakers on your device muted. Then, take in the view, the majestic mountains, the soaring peaks, the falling snow, alpine trees, cold blue clouds, the whole wintery scene, and imagine what sort of music would match the view. Panpipes? Some sweeping classical score? Now turn up the volume to bathe in an uplifting track that could have been used in any number of feel-good movies from the 80s. The track change for the Eagle Link bonus round is good too, where the music switches to something more modern, which should please fans of synthwave. Maybe we rambled on about the tunes a bit, but they just worked so unexpectedly well with the artwork to create an unusual yet surprisingly satisfying atmosphere.
Moving on, we get to the nuts and bolts of Alpha Eagle, which is driven by a highly volatile math model, producing a variety of RTPs depending on how you play the game. Simply picking a regular bet of 10 p/c to $/€100 per spin and hitting the spin button comes with a default return value of 96.26%. Any device may be used to play Alpha Eagle, where its action takes place on a 5-reel, 4-row game grid, with 20 fixed paylines for landing winning combinations for three to five of a kind across.
Ten symbols are used as the regular pays in Alpha Eagle. Half of them are lower value 10-A card royals worth a payout of 2-3x the bet when five create a winning line, while the premiums are feathers, fish, owls, birds coming out of eggs, and eagles. Hitting a five premium symbol winning line is worth 7.5-25x the bet. The 'W' symbols are wild, present on all reels and able to substitute for any normal pay symbols. If five wilds create a winning line, it'll pay 25x the bet.
Alpha Eagle: Slot Features
While braving the wintery north, players can look forward to triggering features such as the Stack'N'Sync, free spins, the Eagle Link, or accessing a bonus buy menu.
The Stack'N'Sync feature is triggered by landing an S'n'S symbol. The reel where the S'n'S landed is copied onto up to four other reels, and these reels are stacked with one sort of symbol - this can be normal pays, wilds, or FS symbols. One respin occurs where the stacked reels synchronise with each other, all stopping at the same position. If an S'n'S symbol lands on the respin, another respin is awarded with additional reels stacked. The chosen stacked symbol, as well as the stack amount, is indicated at the top right of the reels. Each of the 4 stars surrounding the stacked symbol represents a quarter of the reels. Depending on how many stars are active, it is possible for a quarter, a half, three quarters, or all of the reel to be stacked.
Golden S'n'S Symbol
Landing a golden S'n'S symbol triggers the Stack'N'Sync feature with all five reels stacked. Only high pays or wild symbols can be stacked by the golden Stack'N'Sync. In addition, the golden S'n'S comes with a multiplier which is applied to any wins from the respin. The multiplier appears in the upper left corner and can be x2, x3, x4, x5, x10, x20, x25, x50, or x100.
FS symbols are only available via the Stack'N'Sync feature, and at least 3 of them are needed to trigger free spins. The number of free spins awarded equals the number of FS symbols in view. During free spins, there is an increased chance of landing S'n'S and golden S'n'S symbols.
Landing 3 Eagle Claw scatters in the base game triggers the Eagle Link feature. This is played in two parts. In the first part, the collection phase, only Eagle symbols, Golden Eagle symbols or valueless symbols appear. Players get 3 spins, and when Eagle or Golden Eagle symbols land, they stick in place and reset the spin count. Golden Eagles activate the Eagle Link feature. The Eagle Link connects Eagle symbols vertically or horizontally adjacent to Golden Eagle or Eagles already connected to the Eagle Link. When spins in this phase end, play moves to the payout phase, and any unconnected symbols are removed from the grid. Now, the payout phase also starts with 3 spins. During these spins, Golden Eagle symbols are sticky, and each one that lands awards +1 extra spin. Lastly, the payout phase makes use of a win multiplier equal to the number of stuck Golden Eagles.
The bonus buy button leads to four ways of tackling Alpha Eagle:
- Bonus Featurespins (RTP 96.27%) - doubles the cost of each spin, making the two bonus games 3 times as likely to trigger and is highly volatile.
- S'n'S Featurespins (RTP 96.34%) – each spin costs 10x the bet to guarantee a Stack'N'Sync to hit and is highly volatile.
- Free Spins (RTP 96.28%) – 100x the bet and is highly volatile.
- Eagle Link (RTP 96.44%) – 200x the bet and is extremely volatile.
Alpha Eagle: Slot Verdict
When all is said and done, Alpha Eagle did end up being more alpha than beta. Buffalo Stack'n'Sync, whilst good, felt a little traditional by Hacksaw Gaming standards, whereas the combination of elements in Alpha Eagle pushed it a bit further into unconventional territory. The game has a great look, and while wilderness slots are common as pie, Hacksaw has managed to inject a measure of originality resulting in a chromed, eagle, Trans-am, retro, 80s in the mountains type thing – reinforced by the dreamy soundtrack. The contrasting audio-visuals shouldn't work this well together, but somehow, they just kinda do.
Fortunately, Alpha Eagle isn't all flash, no substance, because its features aren't half bad either. The Stack'N'Sync has potential, but it proved tough going when activated from the bonus buy menu, rarely returning a positive result. No doubt the Stack'N'Sync can create a thrill or two, though major gains from it outside free spins proved to be elusive. Not as elusive as the golden Stack'N'Sync symbol, which makes sense since hitting one of them with its up to x100 multiplier could well lead to some nail-biting action while all five synced reels do their thing. The two bonus rounds tended to be relatively fruitful as well, yet don't forget this is a Hacksaw piece, which is well equipped to slap down anyone without any qualms whatsoever.
Players who like to dip French Fries into their shakes before eating them may well appreciate the seemingly contrasting graphics and sounds that converged to create Alpha Eagle. The same goes for players who enjoyed the style of entertainment offered by Buffalo Stack'N'Sync. It's hard to say whether the Buffalo game is better than the Eagle one or vice versa, but if you're interested in working out the answer, Alpha Eagle is well worth spending the time it takes to figure it out.
Alpha Eagle combines several disparate elements into one coherent and highly enjoyable whole.