The Cursed King

(Backseat Gaming) Slot Review

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The Cursed King: Slot Overview

Hacksaw Gaming sibling studio Backseat Gaming has dusted off its archaeology kit and trudged to Ancient Egypt to design the online slot The Cursed King. Doing an Ancient Egyptian-themed release in one form or another is almost an inevitability in the slots biz. Sooner or later, a good chunk of casino game makers end up there eventually, often doing a Book of Ra number with expanding special symbols and all that. The Cursed King does feature expanding symbols, but these are growing wilds which sometimes walk. There's no pay anywhere expanding symbol action involved, so a 'book of' slot this ain't.

It most definitely is an Ancient Egypt slot, though, and the subject matter is never in any doubt. This means things like a flaming brazier, stone buildings, statues, carvings, an exotically flowing soundtrack, all that. Hieroglyphs adorn the walls, but there's something a little amateurish about them, as if they were hastily scratched into the stone like ancient graffiti rather than being meaningful messages laid down for eternity by royal artisans. A small thing, just mentioning. Locked in a stone frame is The Cursed King's 5-reel gaming matrix, where each reel holds 5 rows, and the grid has 19 paylines for wins to be evaluated.

The Cursed King slot
The Cursed King slot - base game

Winning combinations are made up of at least 3 identical symbols landing on consecutive reels from the leftmost reel onwards. Available in two RTP configurations, the default return value is 96.31%, and on both models, the volatility is medium-high (4/5) with a hit rate of 26.02%. Gamblers are able to stake 10 c to $/€100 per spin, while the feature buy menu offers three optional ways of playing the game.

Scrolling down to the payouts section of the table turns up info on the 10 to A card rank lows, which award 1 to 1.5 times the bet when a winning combination of 5 OAK hit. The high pays are a little harder to decipher but include what looks like a swirling jewellery item, a version of a scorpion, a scarab object, a jar-type thing, and a winged bird. They look nice whatever they are and pay 4 to 10 times the bet for a 5 OAK result. Wilds substitute for all regular pay symbols and may hit anywhere, awarding 10x the bet for a 5 wild symbol winning line.

The Cursed King: Slot Features

The Cursed King slot
The Cursed King slot - free spins

Features are a little on the light side, consisting of Cursed King Wild Reels, a free spins bonus round, and the feature buy options.

Cursed King Wild Reels

When a Pharaoh symbol lands on the reels, and there is at least one winning combination on the grid, it expands into a Cursed King Wild Reel with a multiplier of x2 to x100. Cursed King Wild Reels substitute for all other symbols on the paytable. Any winning combination that includes a Cursed King is multiplied by the multiplier value, and if a win includes more than one Cursed King, the multiplier values are added together before being applied.

Free Spins Bonus Game

Hitting 3, 4, or 5 scatters in the base game awards 3, 4, or 5 free spins, respectively. When Cursed Kings are in view, respins are awarded, which do not count towards the number of free spins. All expanded Cursed King Wild Reels in view move a step to either the left or right to an adjacent reel on each respin. If 2 Cursed Kings move into each other, they merge and combine their multipliers. If a Cursed King moves off the left or right edge of the grid, it is removed from the reels. Scatters do not appear in free spins.

Feature Buy

Clicking the Buy Bonus button is how players can access these three buy options; all are highly volatile:

  • BonusHunt FeatureSpins – 2x the bet where each spin is 3 times more likely to trigger a bonus game. RTP 96.3%.
  • Cursed Kings FeatureSpins – 50x the bet where each spin guarantees at least 1 Pharoah symbol lands. Respins as long as any Cursed King remains on the grid. RTP 96.29%.
  • Bonus Game – 125x the bet buys a free spins round triggered by 3, 4, or 5 scatter symbols. RTP 96.26%.
The Cursed King slot
The Cursed King slot - feature buy menu

The Cursed King: Slot Verdict

The Cursed King is another one of these Backseat Gaming slots which is actually pretty good but is missing a certain something that could well have made it great. The studio has a knack for making attractive slots in a variety of genres, picking a good feature or two to go with them, but tending to lack a killer punch that might have pushed them from being average-above average into excellent territory. However, The Cursed King does possess a host of positive factors. Expanding wilds with multipliers is a sweet extra that has the potential to make even a single base game spin explode - something that has served both Pragmatic Play and Hacksaw Gaming well in mega hit releases Zeus vs Hades and Wanted Dead or a Wild, respectively. Moreover, giving Cursed King Wilds the ability to roam about the grid at certain points is even better. Since respins are awarded when a Cursed King is in view during the bonus round, an initially awarded 3-5 free spins can be stretched to last much longer than you might have feared.

And yet, not sure, it felt like something was missing from The Cursed King which might have helped it find further greatness. Not sure what, though. Extra side features, the way Stakelogic did in Gods of Death, which also had a walking wild full reel feature? A more stand-out use of theme? Not that anything is wrong with the Ancient Egyptian presentation here. Maybe because of the association of Backseat Gaming with Hacksaw Gaming (same UI, for example), there's an expectation of being dazzled by the ingenuity on display in a Hacksaw slot, so the more straightforward action found in a game like The Cursed King has the tinge of disappointment about it?

Not to say The Cursed King is a bad game by any measure. It looks like the business; its 12,500x max win is achievable in all game modes, and the features are perfectly fine as they are. Perhaps we might have been greedy in hoping for more from The Cursed King because Ancient Egyptian enthusiasts and/or fans of full reel walking wild should be pleased with the outcome.


The Cursed King might lack that killer punch or a sneaky side jab to really push it over the top, but the stacked walking multiplier wilds mechanic is a solid addition that brings a layer of excitement and anticipation to the game.

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