Santa Express

(Stakelogic) Slot Review

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Stakelogic

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Santa Express: Slot Overview

Ho ho ho, hey we go, folks, it's another Christmas slot to thicken the stocking as the holiday season rolls around. This one's called Santa Express, and it comes from the team over at Stakelogic. Kind of surprisingly, Santa Express doesn't appear to be a copy, clone, or rejig of a previous slot, or if it is, apologies, as the original must have swung by without leaving a major blip on the radar. In some ways, that's a good thing because it means we can load up Santa Express, smash out a few spins, and see what makes it tick without the taint of copy-and-paste bias. If you can handle another dose of Xmas cheer, feel free to take a look.

Speaking of biases, and this is something of an aside, it is kind of interesting to note the northern hemisphere preference prevalent in the Christmas slot industry. While northern parts of the world experience the colder weather of winter, the south bathes in sunshine as summer has its turn down there. We just don't get too many beach BBQ Christmas celebrations in slots; maybe there's a gap in the market just waiting to be plugged? Anyway, back to Santa Express, which is held in a part of the planet that gets its share of snow. A spindly-looking bridge spans the screen from one side to the other, while snow-covered houses and snow-covered trees make up the foreground. The midground is taken up by more snow-covered objects, hills this time. It looks cold but cosily so and should help reinforce the pleasure of being indoors next to a roaring fire while spinning Santa Express, should players choose to do so.

Santa Express slot
Santa Express slot - base game

Another choice is bet selection, and there are two elements to this conundrum. The first is picking a base bet, from 20 p/c to £/€100, and the second is whether to activate the Super Stake or not. Doing so doubles the bet while also doubling the chance of triggering free spins. In both cases, Santa Express is highly volatile no matter how you bet. Stakelogic slots are typically available in several RTP versions so, if possible, go for the 96.17% version which is the max setting.

The action itself takes place on a 5-reel, 20-payline game. Three to five-of-a-kinds are possible with ten Xmas related pay symbols to work with. Leading them off are decorated 10-A card rank symbols paying 0.5 to 1 times the bet for five-of-a-kind, then baubles, gingerbread men, hot drinks, elves, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as the premium symbols. Five symbol premium wins pay 1.25 to 10 times the stake. Also, wilds substitute any pay symbol or are worth up to 20x the bet for a winning line of five of themselves, but they only appear from the Collapsing Wild Symbols feature, covered next.

Santa Express: Slot Features

Santa Express slot
Santa Express slot - free spins

One of Santa Express' main features is its cascading wins system which is tied directly to the Collapsing Wild Symbols features. When a win hits, the winning symbols are taken off the board, and in one of the random empty spaces, a wild symbol appears. After the wild symbol has been placed, the remaining empty spaces are filled with symbols falling down from above. Cascades continue like this until no new win is formed. In addition, with consecutive wins, new wilds may be added, or the wild symbols may move, and they increase their individual multipliers from 0 up to x10 at the most.

Free Spins

Santa is the scatter and landing 3, 4, or 5 them awards 1.5x, 2.5x, or 25x the bet, respectively, plus a random number of 8, 10, 12, or 15 free spins. Free spins come with a random win multiplier of x2, x3, x5, or x10, which stays for the full duration of the feature. Moreover, one random high or low pay symbol is selected to be the Chosen symbol that pays double during free spins. Also, collapsing wild symbols remain active in the bonus round. The feature can be extended by landing 3 scatters to win 2x the bet plus 5 free spins, 4 scatters to win 10xx the bet and +8 free spins, or 5 scatters to win 20x the bet plus +10 free spins.

Buy Bonus

Where applicable, eligible players have the choice of buying free spins. The choices are:

  • Normal – 8 to 15 free spins with a win multiplier up to x10 for 100 times the bet.
  • Deluxe – 15 free spins with a win multiplier up to x10 and a guaranteed high pay chosen symbol for 250 times the bet.
  • Random – a 50/50 chance of getting the Normal or Deluxe for 175 times the bet.
Santa Express slot
Santa Express slot - feature buy options

Santa Express: Slot Verdict

There had been a bumper crop of Christmas slots the year Santa Express was reviewed, coming in all manner of shapes and forms. Even so, Santa Express did enough to poke its head out from the crowd and make itself noticed. Not in a dramatically unmissable way, mind you, but just enough to make it somewhat memorable once the snow had settled and everything had been said and done.

We're certainly not insinuating Santa Express is in any way radical. Players pining for a traditional Christmas setting will still find that if they decide to give the game a whirl. Stakelogic has ensured Santa Express is chock full of the sorts of sights typically associated with the season – snow, decorations, elves, Santa, and even Rudolph is in there. Rest assured, if you want the Christmas card experience on the day, Santa Express will shovel that on in earnest.

It's the gaming which kind of stuck out. Again, not in a radical way as such, but there were a few memorable moments. Cascades creating wild symbols had a faint Moon Princess 100 ring to them, with the exception that in Santa Express, they have the ability to toss multipliers into the run of things. The wild symbol itself, too, is there something a little cheerfully Grinch-ish about it? Not sure, but the wild added something unexpected to the mix in more than one way. Max win is nothing to be sniffed at either, and if all those multipliers can pop, fizz, and do their thing, Santa Express is capable of producing wins as high as 20,000x the bet.

So, another Xmas slot wedges its way onto the considerably long shelf for players' consideration. Santa Express didn't come across as a Christmas classic, but there are a number of potential heart-warming things about the game to experience from both a thematic as well as gaming perspective.

Good

Santa Express isn’t exactly the be-all and end-all of Christmas slots, though a few things help make Santa Express stand out from the crowd.

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