Smuggler’s Cove

(Pragmatic Play) Slot Review

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Smuggler's Cove slot

Smuggler’s Cove: Slot Overview

Following in the spirit of Yin & Yang, light would have no meaning without dark, day separates night, and cold is defined by not being hot. So, it is in the gaming world. If we didn’t have a march of average slots, how could we recognise stunners amidst the so-sos? As such, players should be thankful for games like Smuggler’s Cove from developer Pragmatic Play, which is hard not to label as average. For one, it uses a regular pirating theme and common features while giving off a strong 9 Masks of Fire vibe. However, Pragmatic’s devs have done a good job with the unimaginative ideas flung at them from the creative team, and the end result is a solid enough slot, all things considered.

Played using 5 reels and 3 rows, Smuggler’s Cove’s bright graphics start things off nicely, possessing a positive glow about them. Several piraty/smuggler characters appear on the screen, but they look like they are trying to be bad rather than are actually bad. Several even seem like they’re engaging in a competition to see who can raise a single eyebrow the highest – the winner arguably being the chap in the stylish ruff collar. Smuggler’s Cove’s action takes place next to a deep blue sea on a clear deep, blue-skied day, by a cave where the loot might be stored. It makes you wonder about the levels of paranoia or mistrust that must have permeated a crew when treasure was being buried or recovered. Then again, there is apparently only one recorded instance of pirates burying treasure. This was William Kidd, who hid rich stuff on Long Island before sailing into New York around the 17th century.

Another of Smuggler’s Cove’s positives is the set of numbers the game comes equipped with. The default RTP is good at 96.5%, though it can be found as low as 94.5%, so is something to be on the lookout for. Potential is a highlight as well, while volatility has been rated 5 out of 5 by the game’s maker. If it all sounds ripe for buccaneering, Smuggler’s Cove is playable on any device where stakes of 20 p/c to £/€100 are available. Hitting the optional Ante Bet feature increases the stake by 25%, thereby doubling the chance of triggering free spins.

The real loot might come from scatter wins, but regular payouts occur when normal symbols land in combinations of three to five across the 20 active paylines. On the lower value side are diamonds, spades, hearts, and clubs, then higher value golden, blue, red, and green pirates/smugglers. Values are quite tempting, maxing out at 10 to 100x the bet when landing five premium symbol combinations. One final symbol, for now, is the ship’s wheel wild. It is worth the same as the top premium and also replaces any of the regular symbols to complete a line win.

Smuggler’s Cove: Slot Features

Smuggler's Cove slot
Smuggler’s Cove – free spins wheel

Smuggler’s Cove doesn’t exactly smuggle in a heck of a lot of innovation, relying instead on rock steady features such as scatters wins and free spins.

Treasure Bonus

To activate this bonus, at least 5 coin symbols need to land in view during the base game. The greater the number of scatters hit, the greater the cash prize. So, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, or 15 coins translates to a win worth 1x, 2x, 5x, 20x, 50x, 100x, 100, 500x, 500x, 500x, or 1,000x the total bet.

Smuggler’s Cove Free Spins Bonus Round

Keep an eye on the skull ‘n crossbones scatter, which appears on reels 2, 3, and 4. Hitting 3 of them activates the free spins bonus round. Step one is spinning a prize wheel to collect 8, 10, 12, 15, or 20 free spins plus a win multiplier for the round. The big change in free spins is that the prizes awarded from the Treasure Bonus dramatically increase. Now, when 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, or 15 coin symbols land, the rewards are 1x, 2x, 5x, 20x, 50x, 100x, 500x, 1,000x, 1,000x, 2,500x, 2,500x, 2,500x, or 10,000x the bet. Extra time is going to help here and hitting 3 scatter symbols during the feature wins an additional 8 free spins.

Smuggler’s Cove: Slot Verdict

On paper, Smuggler’s Cove might not sound super original, and in action, well, it’s not overly original either. It’s not an instant write-off, though, as the game has been executed to a high standard, which helps you go along with it. The features are right out of Gameburger Studios‘ playbook (amongst others), so there’s nothing new to see. However, for a pirate-themed scatter win slot that keeps surprises to a minimum, it might appeal.

Where it loses a point or two is the fact you have to be in free spins to have a chance of chasing the top prizes. Contrast this with 9 Masks, or the multitude of slots from Just For The Win‘s Gold range where the max win can be achieved on any spin. Some of these games make it easier, in a way, during free spins such as in Western Gold, where money symbols accrue during a streak respin bonus round. This doesn’t mean it’s technically tougher to win the larger prizes in Smuggler’s Cove, however, as evidenced by both a respectable default RTP value and reasonable max win odds of around 1 in 1.6 million. In short, it depends on how players want to chase scatter wins, and for some, Smuggler’s Cove is sure to be a tempting alternative.

Finding innovation in Smuggler’s Cove is like looking for buried treasure without a map. However, the search itself is a scenic one, populated by features that have proven their popularity. So, for a swashbuckling, higher value, more volatile version of 9 Masks of Fire, you might want to consider popping Smuggler’s Cove on your have-a-crack list.


The features and theme might be overdone, but a jaunty production and juicy payouts help pique interest.

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