Dark Summoning: Slot Overview
Hopefully, you're feeling brave, players, because software developer Hacksaw Gaming appears to have been in the mood for something spooky when it came up with the diabolical online slot Dark Summoning. What's interesting is the last Hacksaw Gaming slot we reviewed was Xmas Drop; before that was the bloodied vampire slot Immortal Desire, and before that came the cartoon bear game Eye of the Panda. Clearly, the casino game maker is perfectly comfortable leaping from light to dark and back again as the mood strikes. If you are in the mood for something dark, that's good cos Dark Summoning is up there with the likes of Print Studios' slot Darkness, so hopefully, you've got your big boy or big girl undies on for this.
Dark Summoning is one of those Hacksaw Gaming slots, like RIP City, where gamblers are joined by characters on screen next to the gaming grid. In Dark Summoning's case, the entity on the left looks a bit like a cultish version of the skeletal guy from Mayan Stackways, while the entity on the right is a stone demon, or something. What's clear is Dark Summoning's attention to detail, with animations and other clever touches adding density to the infernal atmosphere. One exception is the little bleeping sounds winning combinations make. It's a classic Hacksaw Gaming noise, but one that doesn't fit Dark Summoning and spoils the mood a titch.
Wedged inside a mysterious rock formation is Dark Summoning's gaming grid made up of 5 reels, 6 rows of symbols, and 24 paylines. The math model's volatility has been rated 4 out of 5 by the studio, meaning a medium-high setting, while the RTP value is 96.36% - though lower models are available. The bet range is 10 c to $/€100 per spin with three features being available when opening up the feature buy menu.
Winning combinations of 3 to 5-of-a-kind are possible, starting from the leftmost reel on the grid. The pay symbols include 10 to A card ranks, bloody scissors, a fly, a crow, a pyramid, and a goat face as the premiums. When a winning combination of 5 matching low pays hits, the payout is 1 times the bet. When it's made of high pays, the reward is 2.5 to 10 times the bet. Since wilds are present on all reels, they can create 5 wild symbol winning lines worth 30 times the bet, or they may be used to replace any pay symbol.
Dark Summoning: Slot Features
Dark Summoning doesn't just have a cascade mechanism; it has a super cascade mechanism, as well as wild multipliers, Will of the Order, Unholy Summoning, two bonus rounds – Trial by Hellfire and Rise to Salvation, plus the buy bonus.
When a winning combination hits, all symbols of the winning type are highlighted and removed from the grid after wins have been awarded. New symbols cascade in to replace the removed symbols, creating another chance to win.
There are two variants of wild symbols – blue wilds and red wilds. Blue wilds appear in the base game and in the Rise to Salvation feature. The red wild appears in the Trial by Hellfire bonus. There is no functional difference between the two. When wilds hit, they may do so with a multiplier value of x2 to x100, though wilds cannot have multipliers in the Rise to Salvation bonus. If more than one multiplier is part of the same win, the values are added together before being applied.
Will of the Order
When an Order symbol lands, it replaces itself and 1 to 9 other symbols with wild symbols. These wilds may or may not have multipliers. If more than one Order symbol lands at the same time, Will of the Order is triggered once for each Order symbol.
Any Unholy symbol landing with at least one winning combination is collected in the corner of the grid and saved for the round. If 3 Unholy symbols land at the same time, they are immediately collected regardless of any winning combinations.
Trial by Hellfire Bonus
Collecting 3 Unholy symbols in a base game round triggers 10 free spins in this bonus. During this bonus round, all winning positions are marked with Hellfire. When an Unholy symbol lands, it activates the Fires of Hell sequence. At the start of the sequence, the Unholy symbol and all symbols in positions marked by Hellfire are replaced with wilds, which may or may not have multipliers. All Hellfire is then removed. The Fires of Hell sequence lasts until the next cascade. While Fires of Hell is in play, new wins do not create Hellfire.
Rise to Salvation Bonus
Collecting 3 Unholy symbols in the same base game round and an Order symbol is present when the third Unholy symbol is collected means 10 free spins in the Rise to Salvation bonus are awarded. During this bonus, symbols drop and cascade upwards instead of downwards. Lost Soul symbols appear in this feature, which are persistent, staying on the reels until they Ascend or the round ends. Lost Souls move upwards with other cascading symbols to fill gaps created by removed wins. When a Lost Soul reaches the top row, it Ascends and is removed.
There are two types of Lost Soul symbols – Global Multiplier Lost Souls and Cash Prize Lost Souls. When a Global Multiplier Lost Soul Ascends, it adds x2 to x100 to the global multiplier. The global multiplier applies to all winning combinations. When the Cash Prize Lost Soul Ascends, it awards a cash prize of 10 to 666 times the bet. Cash prizes are also multiplied by the global multiplier. If 3 non-winning spins occur in a row, 3 to 5 random low or high pay symbols are removed from the grid on the third spin.
From the feature buy menu, players are able to play the game in these three ways:
- BonusHunt FeatureSpins – 3x the bet where each spin is 5 times more likely to trigger a bonus game. Very highly volatile with an RTP of 96.33%.
- Trial By Hellfire – 130x the bet for 10 free spins in this feature. Very highly volatile with an RTP of 96.36%.
- Rise To Salvation – 250x the bet for 10 free spins in this feature. Highly volatile with an RTP of 96.42%.
Dark Summoning: Slot Verdict
If, after games like Bloodthirst, Rotten, or Hand of Anubis, you still weren't sure whether Hacksaw Gaming really had an interest in the darker side of life, those doubts should be put to bed by Dark Summoning. What's funny is each time the studio releases a game like this, their cutesy, woodsy games also come bubbling to mind. Think of Fruit Duel, Double Rainbow, or Dork Unit as a baffling contrast. Are all those games really from the same people? Or maybe when visiting Hacksaw Gaming HQ, one side of the office is where the candy floss machine, a collection of adorable Gonks, and the fruit bowl can be found, while the other side of the office is scrawled in esoteric markings, the lighting doesn't work, and the workers there shuffle about in robes, deeply hooded so you can't see their faces, gripping grimoires, emanating a disconcerting eldritch aura.
No second prize for guessing which side of the office Dark Summoning would have spawned. What's nice is the gameplay to be uncovered in Dark Summoning is practically as imaginative as the cover it comes wrapped in. Particularly the Rise to Salvation round, with its rising up, ascending concepts matching the unusual but enjoyable way symbols cascade and drop upwards rather than down as they normally do. That round provided the most entertaining sequence of events during the test round, such as Ascending cash prizes, which were multiplied by the win multiplier. However, the game info does make clear Dark Summoning's max win of 10,666x the bet is not only possible in the Rise to Salvation feature but also in the Trial by Hellfire Bonus, as well as in the base game.
Whilst not as wildly irreverent as some of Nolimit City's theme choices can be perhaps, Dark Summoning is an ambitious title and goes to show that Hacksaw Gaming is one of the more magpie-minded slot makers out there when it comes to picking subject matter to colour its games – then filling them with thrilling gameplay.
Dark Summoning’s unsettling subject matter has been well-matched by thoughtful gaming elements.