Cursed Seas

(Hacksaw Gaming) Slot Review

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Cursed Seas: Slot Overview

It's time to metaphorically affix a hook, let Polly out of its cage for a bit and wander around muttering 'yo ho ho me hearties'. Yep, in other words, Cursed Seas from software designers Hacksaw Gaming invites for some pirate time. Now since this is a Hacksaw game show, Cursed Seas is either going to be a cute as a button bounce along the waves while looking for buried treasure or something meaner, darker, and more serious. Hopefully, you're in a serious mood then because Hacksaw Gaming has chosen to go heavy for this one producing a psychologically thrilling tale of beasts, booty, and betrayal.

Cursed Seas takes place on a pretty awful day for sailing; hopefully, you've got some anti-motion sickness pills to hand. The waves are rough, and the sky dark, as if a storm is firmly on the way. It's a nicely drawn scene, though, so take a moment to soak it all in if naval art is of personal interest. Clearly, Hacksaw Gaming wasn't in the mood to make a cute game when it designed Cursed Seas. Instead, it sits more comfortably alongside previous Hacksaw Gaming slots like Wanted Dead or a Wild, Hand of Anubis, or Stormforged, in atmosphere that is, though some of the features may feel familiar as well.

Cursed Seas slot
Cursed Seas slot - base game

Swabs brave enough to board the boat can do so by picking a bet of 10 p/c to $/€100 per spin, while also having access to three bonus buy options. Grab a guard rail to brace for a potentially bumpy ride as the game's maker has rated its volatility as 4 out 5, while the default RTP clocks in at 96.22%, though lower models are available. Cursed Seas' active gaming area is a 5-reel, 4-row grid matrix with 26 fixed pay lines.

Across those paylines, winning combinations must start from the leftmost side of the grid, land on adjacent reels and contain at least 3 matching pay symbols. Starting on the lower side, Cursed Seas has an anchor, star, flag, pistols, and skull 'n crossbones, then 4 character symbols as its high pays. A winning combination made up of 5 matching symbols pays 1-1.5x the bet for the lows and 3-10x the bet for the highs. The game has a regular wild symbol and a Cursed Chest symbol; both are able to substitute for any regular pay symbol.

Cursed Seas: Slot Features

Cursed Seas slot
Cursed Seas slot - Dead Men Tell No Tales free spins

The Cursed Chest is also linked to a Cursed Area feature and is joined by the Sunken Treasure bonus game, Dead Men Tell No Tales bonus game, plus the feature buy options.

Cursed Chests

Landing a Cursed Chest creates a Cursed Area from its position to the top of the reel. This occurs if the Cursed Area would include one or more winning combinations. The opened Cursed Chest reveals a multiplier of x2 to x200, which is applied to the Cursed Area on its reel. All winning lines that include the Cursed Area are multiplied by the multiplier value. If more than one multiplier apples, the multiplier values are added together first.

Sunken Treasure Bonus Game

Landing 3 lantern scatter symbols triggers this bonus round with 10 free spins. During this feature, landed Cursed Chests are always opened to create a Cursed Area that remains in place until the feature ends. The Cursed Area grows if a Cursed Chest lands below it. All Cursed Multipliers from Cursed Chests are added to a Total Multiplier, which affects all Cursed Areas. All winning lines going through Cursed Areas are multiplied by the Total Multiplier. Landing 2, 3, or 4 lanterns retriggers the round with an additional 2, 4, or 6 free spins, respectively.

Dead Men Tell No Tales Bonus Game

Hitting 4 lantern scatter symbols in the base game triggers this feature with 3 free spins. The only symbols which can land in this round are Skull or Kraken symbols. Above each reel is a multiplier that starts at x1. Landing a Cursed Skull reveals a multiplier which is added to the multiplied above its reel and creates a Cursed Area from its position to the top of the reel. The Cursed Area grows if a new Cursed Skull lands below it.

Cursed Skulls can have values of x1 to x500. The Tormented Skull reveals a multiplier of x2 to x25, which multiplies the multiplier above its reel where it landed. Kraken symbols land with values of x1 to x500 that is added to the multipliers above all reels.

Landing a new symbol resets the spin count to 3. When spins run out, the multiplier values at the top of the reels are added to each position in Cursed Areas, added up, and awarded.

Feature  Buy

Opening up the feature buy menu gives players a chance to activate any of these options:

  • BonusHunt FeatureSpins – 3x the bet where each spin is 5 times more likely to trigger a bonus game. Very highly volatile with a maximum RTP of 96.21%.
  • Sunken Treasure – 100x the bet, highly volatile with a maximum RTP of 96.26%.
  • Dead Men Tell No Tales – 200x the bet, highly volatile with a maximum RTP of 96.33%.
Cursed Seas slot
Cursed Seas slot - feature buy menu

Cursed Seas: Slot Verdict

If you like the way Hacksaw Gaming comes up with an idea, then tinkers with it, pulling it this way, pulling it that way, trying slightly new alterations as the original concept morphs into something else, then it's worth putting Cursed Seas through its paces. It's got a bunch of gaming ideas in it which have been seen before, or at least seem to have been seen before elsewhere, but have gone through the evolution process laid out in the previous sentence. Things like the Cursed Area have a connection to Portals to Muspelheim from Stormforged, and the Dead Men Tell No Tales bonus round is classic Hacksaw Gaming in style. Cursed Seas doesn't so much as launch out into brave new waters as cleverly remix what's come before into one moody brew.

Moody it is, so players who prefer the studio's sunnier releases might want to keep warm and dry far away from Cursed Seas. Those up for the challenge, though, will find some pretty decent gaming on offer here. As mentioned, the features aren't roaring with originality, yet there are moments. For instance, Dead Men Tell No Tales is a simply sparse round; there's not much to it really other than land 3 types of symbols. But within the simplicity, it is able to fire a wide range of emotions, including delight when a good amount of space is taken up by Cursed Areas, and the multipliers above the reels are steadily building up. In some ways, adding multipliers to each position in a Cursed Area felt a little magnanimous for a Hacksaw Gaming slot and could add up to decent results. How decent? At full blast, Cursed Seas has max potential of 12,500x the bet. As always, the going might be tough, yet potential rewards are here for salty sea dogs to power their way to or attempt to at any rate.

Hacksaw Gaming is highly skilled at crafting creepy game worlds, which Cursed Seas is closer in spirit to. It's not exactly Rotten or Bloodthirst, but it's closer to them than Pug Life or Frank's Farm, for example. It's like the studio has two distinctive personalities or two teams, one focused on the chipper side of life, the other bent on evoking despair. Both approaches have their time and place, and for players after a heavy pirate game, Cursed Seas could be a choice option.

Great

It might not to anything majorly different to previous Hacksaw releases, but Cursed Seas is still a solid slot that positively drips with style.

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