Shifting Seas: Slot Overview
According to science, the face of the planet has changed a lot over the millennia as land masses have formed, shifted, and moved across it. Since humans popped onto the scene, one constant has been our desire to travel between these land masses, across seas, and sometimes plunder on them. Shifting Seas from Swedish software provider Thunderkick is an online slot that explores some of these concepts of change. It's a pirate-themed game played on a dynamic, shifting reel set, offering Avalanches, Shift Wins, three Special Wild features, and a Wild Reel bonus round.
Part of the reason for pirating's enduring romanticism has got to be the gorgeous weather and exotic locations that often accompany it. Shifting Seas is a prime example which is set in a dream-like place, where mountainous islands slope down into sparkling turquoise water and blue skies, lightly dusted with clouds hanging over the top like a loose-fitting cotton shirt. Characteristic of a Thunderkick slot, a cartoon element enters the game in the form of its pirate crew symbols, creating an inviting scene for a bit of keyboard swashbuckling.
Not just keyboards; any device may be used to play Shifting Seas on where stakes of 10 p/c to $/€100 per spin may be selected. Operators can choose from four RTP settings, maxing out at 96.15% at the most before dropping down to 94.18%, 92.13%, or 90.16%. In all four return settings, players get a highly volatile math model.
On the front end, one of the first things you notice about Shifting Seas is its unusual, though not unique, grid matrix made up of 6 reels, laid out in a 4-4-3-3-2-2 pattern. Wins are created when matching symbols land in adjacent reels from the left-most side. Reels can grow, too, up to 7 symbols high, where 117,649 ways to win become active. At the lower edge of the paytable are 9-A card rank tiles paying 0.5-0.8x the bet for a six of a kind, then 1.2-1.8x for the three premium pirate symbols, and 5x the bet for six treasure chest symbols. Wilds have the same value as the chest and can replace any normal symbol except the scatter.
Shifting Seas: Slot Features
Shifting Seas bases a lot of its action around a Shift Win/Avalanche feature combo, with three Special Wild features and a Wild Reel bonus round on top.
The Shift Win feature is triggered when you land a winning combination. The rightmost reel is removed, and a new reel is added to the left-most side of the grid. On each Shift Win, each new reel increases in height by +1 symbol, up to a maximum of 7 symbols high.
In addition to the Shift Win, the symbols that were used to make the winning combination are removed from the reels by the Avalanche feature. New or existing symbols drop down from above into the empty positions. Avalanches continue as long as new pay way wins hit.
When a Special Wild feature symbol is used in a win or pushed off the game area, its respective Special Wild feature is activated. If more than one Special Wild feature is triggered, they play out in this order – Boost Shift, Symbol Rush, and Wild Surge:
- Boost Shift – triggers an extra reel shift, enabling a new reel to be added to the left-most side. All symbols on the previous left-most reel are copied to the new reel.
- Symbol Rush – randomly transforms 4-8 symbols into new identical symbols.
- Wild Surge – randomly transforms 1-3 symbols into wild symbols.
Free Spins Bonus Game
When players manage to Shift Win the bonus symbol off the grid, 8 free spins are awarded. If during the bonus round the bonus symbol is shifted off the board, an additional +4 free spins are awarded. In free spins, a Wild Reel may appear with a starting multiplier of x1. After a Shift Win, the Wild Reel moves one position to the right. If the Wild Reel is moved off the board by a Shift Win, it reappears on the left-most reel, increasing its multiplier by +1 and awarding an additional free spin.
Shifting Seas: Slot Verdict
Swashbuckling is one of those slot themes that comes around again and again, yet the good thing about it is, for whatever reason, developers often do something unusual with it. From Relax Gaming's Dead Man's Trail to Yggdrasil's Pirates 2 Mutiny to Foxium's Boom Pirates. Shoot, look at the Branded Megaways franchise that followed on from Iron Dog's Pirate Kingdom Megaways. Not always, but there is something about the salty tang, warm wind on skin, or the sniff of treasure in the air that inspires certain studios to get creative.
Some blue sky thinking certainly went into Shifting Seas' list of features, growing reels, rows, and ways. There's a hint of Infinity Reels/InfiniReels going in, what with the way new reels are added. However, instead of growing reels, the shifting symbols off the right side of the grid play nicely into several feature triggers. Doing things this way creates a snowballing effect which works hand in glove with the Avalanche mechanic as well. Special Wild symbols and their trio of effects add variety, and the increasing Wild Reel multiplier is the icing on the cake. Shifting Seas brings everything together to create a next-level interplay of several different parts. The loot part is taken care of, too, theoretically speaking, where wins of up to 15,000x the bet are technically possible, making Shifting Seas one of Thunderkick's higher potential slots. Having said that, epic Thunderkick wins are quite rare to see on social media so a more realistic aim should be around 500-3,000x.
At times, Shifting Sands multiple parts might seem like piecing together scattered shreds of a map for a chance to find treasure. That may be the case, but like Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'It's not the destination, It's the journey.' And there is plenty in Shifting Seas to enjoy along the way. Still, despite what the aphorism might say, making it all the way to Shifting Seas' ultimate destination wouldn't be too shabby at all.
Shifting Seas piles on a heap of moving parts to deliver a dynamically potent, pirating game.