Stick ‘Em (Hacksaw Gaming): Overview
Hacksaw Gaming is a relatively new company that has brought together a talented group of developers from Malta and Stockholm. We are not sure what they put in the water of the Swedish capital, but it seems to do wonders for producing original games. If you have heard of Hacksaw Gaming already, it is probably in conjunction with online Scratch Cards of which they have around 30 varieties under their belt already. Now, we get their first foray into slots with the quirky game Stick ‘Em. Not only do we get a new game, but we are also introduced to Canny the Can, a friendly container who guides us through the jolly Stick ‘Em world. Okay, maybe he doesn’t do too much, but he is fun to have around, a lot like Clippy the paper clip that used to show up on Windows operating systems.
When you load up Stick ‘Em the graphics are a little underwhelming at first glance. You can never judge a slot solely on looks though, so let’s give the game a chance. Hacksaw Gaming has gone with a grid made up of 5 reels and 4 rows, and has foregone paylines as such. Instead, players simply need to land combinations of 3 of a kind anywhere on the reel (left to right) to string together winners. The setup is rather simple, but in this case, simple is good and Stick ‘Em is great for some relaxed, yet fun gaming.
To be honest, the top money is going to come courtesy of the bonus features which we will look at shortly. A quick browse of the paytable reveals that the symbols on their own are not very valuable. What we did like about them though is that they are all unique – there are no card suits or symbols here. What isn’t so great is that at the top of the paytable five money bags are worth a paltry 3x the stake. This might be enough to put some players off but give the game a crack in free play before completely dismissing it. Hacksaw Gaming has created a slot that is far more than the sum of its parts.
Examples of this are the music and sound effects which are incredibly infectious and make spinning its reels a real treat. Of course, no player is going to part with their hard-earned cash simply for a soundtrack no matter how foot-tapping it might be. Fortunately, when you combine the charming looks with the gameplay package, the result is surprisingly pleasing. Toss in some well-crafted extra features, and you get a fine slot indeed.
Stick ‘Em (Hacksaw Gaming): Features
Staying with the quirky theme are several extra features that have been given an original twist. First up is the ‘thumbs up’ symbol – always a good sign. Land three of these upbeat icons and they stick to the grid while the reels respin. This process continues as long as at least one ‘thumbs up’ lands on a respin. While it does so, players can still hit winning combinations along the way as well, adding to the total win. Fill the reels with the thumbs, and you have won yourself a substantial 2,048x your total bet which is a sweet payout indeed. This is known as the Sticky Win Spin feature.
As always, Free Spins are at the top of every player’s wish list, and the ‘free spins’ symbols trigger this bonus. When two land, players are treated to a nifty animation on the fifth reel to build even more tension. For their troubles, players are awarded a number of free spins in proportion to the number of free spins symbols that appear:
- 3 scatters are worth 5 free spins.
- 4 scatters get you 10 free spins.
- 5 scatters return 15 free spins.
Free spins run automatically until they are gone and bonus game symbols do not show up during this section.
For good measure, Hacksaw Gaming has popped one final cherry on the top in the form of Bonus Game symbols. Land three of these elusive icons to launch the bonus wheel and win up to 1,000x your stake. As you can see, individual symbol combinations might be somewhat on the low side, but they are seriously boosted by the juicy menu of extras.
Stick ‘Em (Hacksaw Gaming): Verdict
While Hacksaw Gaming’s first slot offering won’t revolutionize the gambling world, it still has plenty to offer players looking for something new. Stick ‘Em is a slot that will appeal to a wide range of players. For example, if you only know Hacksaw from their scratch cards, then Stick ‘Em is a perfect way to ease yourself into playing slots. It’s light, it’s breezy, and yet, it also has a top prize that can make spinning its cutesy reels well worth the effort.
If you are a player who needs high adrenaline slot with cutting edge 3D graphics then Stick ‘Em isn’t the ticket. But looks aren’t everything, it is personality that wins out in the end, and Stick ‘Em is guilty on that count. Don’t be surprised if we see Canny the Can make another appearance in the future. He doesn’t do too much, he usually just hangs out in the corner, but the cute wee guy has the potential to make his mark in future releases for sure. Hacksaw is to be commended for crafting a slot that gets the basics right - which is crucial. And on top of a well-balanced foundation are several intriguing extras that spice up the game nicely.
Stick ‘Em is a respectable, if not ground breaking debut effort. It does more than enough to make Hacksaw Gaming a company to watch in the future. The only problem they face now is dealing with the pressure of following up a original slot with something even better. We have high hopes.