Hacksaw Gaming are back again, and they're taking their latest release back to the primal basics, removing the bells and whistles to bring us a clean, crisp game in the form of Born Wild. Hacksaw crept quietly onto the scene in September 2018, beginning their journey into the iGaming world with online scratch card design. The cards in question had maximum jackpot prizes on offer up to an impressive €500,000. Moving into slot design, and Hacksaw Gaming have produced some stellar games already, including Chaos Crew and the more recent Stack ‘Em. Across the portfolio of games available, impressive maximum wins are on offer, reaching heights of 10,000x. Born Wild takes that maximum win capability and laughs in its face. No maximum ‘x-win' is technically on offer in this slot. Instead, players who can fill the entire grid space with wilds will be treated to a phenomenal €10million. RTP takes a hit as a result of this however, coming in at 93.80% in this extreme volatility release.
Born Wild Base Features
Visually, Born Wild continues the simplistic theme that Hacksaw Gaming have firmly established through releases like Chaos Crew. Set upon a dark, patterned backdrop, gameplay takes place upon a 5×4 reel space, with 20 fixed win lines. Audios are funky, yet bearable, making this a rare edition wherein the backing audios don't become grating after a few hundred spins. Forming wins is as simple as the style of this slot, requiring 3 or more matching symbols across any of the win lines on offer.
10 symbols are on offer to form wins, beginning with 5 lower paying symbols. Hacksaw Gaming, as usual, have chosen to steer clear of the classic “9, 10, J, Q, K and A” that we often see at the lower end of pay tables, perhaps for ease of understanding. Instead, Born Wild offers animal sounds, with Howl, Claw, Hiss, Grr and Roar all paying 0.10x bet for 3 of a kind, up to 1x bet for 5 of a kind. At the higher end of the pay table, the animals responsible for these noises are on offer, with Wolves, Rhinos, Gorillas, Tigers and Cobras paying between 10x bet and 25x bet for 5 of a kind. Bear and Lion symbols bring up the rear as the symbol needed to trigger features.
Finally, neon green wild symbols substitute all aforementioned symbols, paying 250x bet for 5 of a kind. With 20 win lines on offer, this does mean that the maximum “regular” win on offer is more accurately 4,750x bet, measured by 19 win lines of 250x bet, as filling the entire screen with wilds does award the jackpot of €10million.
Born Wild Bonus
Two separate features are on offer within Born Wild: Free Spins, and Lion's Roar. Landing 3 Bear Free Spin Symbols awards 10 free spins. During free spins, any wilds that land on the reels stick for the duration of free spins.
The second feature on offer, and inevitably the feature we will see more frequently is Lion's Roar. The reason we will undoubtably see Lion's Roar more frequently than Free Spins is due to the feature buy on offer. There is no buy offered for 10 free spins, and instead Hacksaw have opted to offer 1 feature buy at a cost of 129x bet for Lion's Roar, where RTP takes a slight dip to 93.78%. For players in regions without feature buys, 3 lion symbols landing in the base game triggers the feature.
During Lion's Roar, all symbols are removed from the reels except Lion symbols, much like the bonus available in Chaos Crew. The feature begins with 1 spin, and each time a Lion lands anywhere on the reels, another spin is awarded. Any lions that do land stick in their place until no spins remain. When the mode ends, all lions will be converted to wilds, and one final spin is awarded. Filling all spaces with Lion symbols rewards the player with €10million.
Hacksaw Gaming have taken the volatility players have come to expect from their releases, and blown it out of the water. The result is an extremely volatile release, reserved for the most established of players. That's not to say casual players can't have a pop at Born Wild, and as always there will be some lucky players who land the early bonuses. However, our experience definitely did confirm the extreme volatility tag attached to this release, with extended periods of “dead play” – more so than we expected. It is clear that Born Wild is capable of firing out some huge hits, but so far unclear how common this will be for the average player. With RTP having taken a slight dip below 94%, to 93.80%, players should be prepared for a somewhat rocky road in this release.
The two features on offer do carry high risk, but the rewards are high too. Players capable of buying the feature at a cost of 129x bet should be aware that the extreme volatility on offer does carry into these features, with the first feature we bought at a €5 stake (€645) returning a total win of €1 – 0.20x bet. However, the next feature we purchased at the same cost returned 512x bet, providing two juxtaposed experiences within a period of a few moments. This is sure to be a game where one bonus can cover 10 others, but be cautious – Born Wild, like the animals represented within, is ferocious.
When one player does manage to fill the grid with wilds, triggering a €10million win, it will be a moment like no other, and a cause for celebration beyond any we have seen so far. Until that moment, we'll have to settle for some decent hits scattered amongst agony in this release, which goes past any level of volatility I've experienced before. Overall, a memorable, and somewhat fascinating release from Hacksaw Gaming, capable of changing lives and ruining moods simultaneously.
*The screenshots taken of games reviewed on this site are taken from Demo Play, as reviews are often written before games are released for real play.