It is said that only 5% of the ocean has been explored by humans, with the rest remaining uncharted. There's something quite frightening about these waters, particularly given their depth and the fact that they are home to some of the eeriest creatures we know of. But what about the creatures we aren't quite sure of? If we haven't explored 95% of the ocean, do we know for sure that the kraken doesn't exist? Okay, it probably doesn't, but that hasn't stopped the team at Hacksaw Gaming from exploring the idea. That's right, Hacksaw Gaming are leaving behind another common phobia from Fear the Dark, and taking us on a trip in treacherous waters, alongside a cursed captain who simultaneously hunts sunken treasure and avoids a terrifying kraken, in Cursed Seas. With RTP options up to 96.22%, this highly (4/5) volatile release can produce wins up to 12,500x bet.
We're at sea today, amongst deep teal waters that rock a large sailing ship back and forward on a cloudy evening. Pirates, captains, guns, flags, compasses, anchors, skull and crossbones, and lanterns fill the reels to help make this one of the most enticing releases this team have produced in while. Other than that, the reels kind of look like old, faded paper, with a kraken sitting above them, and an eerie soundtrack tying it all together.
Cursed Seas Base Features
Taking place across 5 reels, wins are formed on Cursed Seas by matching at least 3 symbols on adjacent reels, beginning with the leftmost reel, across 1 of 26 fixed win lines. Symbols available begin with non premiums, with anchors, compasses, flags, guns, and skull and crossbones, awarding wins between 0.10 and 0.20x bet for 3 of a kind matches, increasing to values between 1 and 1.50x bet for 5 of a kind wins. At the premium end, we have four characters – a pirate, a woman, some sort of dead creature, and a captain, by the looks of it. Land 3 of a kind of any premium to see wins between 0.50 and 2x bet, increasing to values between 3 and 10x bet for 5 of a kind matches. Finally, Wild chests substitute for all symbols and produce wins of 50x bet for 5 of a kind matches.
There's only one real feature in Cursed Seas, but it is a good one – Cursed Chests. When Cursed Chests land on the reels, they open and create a Cursed Area from their landed position to the top of the reel they have landed upon, provided this Cursed Area would include at least one symbol that is involved in a winning combination.
When Cursed Chests are open, they reveal a Cursed Multiplier which will be applied to the Cursed Area on the reel. All winning combinations that include at least one symbol in the Cursed Area will then be multiplied by this value. If more than one Cursed Chest has landed and a winning combination involves symbols within two Cursed Areas, their Cursed Multipliers will be added together before being applied to the win.
Possible Cursed Multipliers are – 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 10x, 15x, 20x, 25x, 50x, 100x, or 200x.
Cursed Seas Bonus
Land 3 Lantern Scatter symbols to trigger the Sunken Treasure Bonus Game, in which 10 free spins are awarded. During this feature, any Cursed Chests that land on the reels will always open and reveal a Cursed Multiplier, regardless of any wins that have or have not occurred. The Cursed Areas that will be revealed by any Cursed Chests that land will then persist for the duration of free spins. The Cursed Area on a reel will grow if a new Cursed Chest lands below it.
All Cursed Multipliers will be added to a Total Multiplier above the reels, which affects all Cursed Areas. Any winning combinations that involve symbols in any Cursed Area will have this value applied to them.
Land 2, 3, or 4 Lantern Scatter symbols during the Bonus Game to trigger an additional +2, 4, or 6 spins respectively.
Land 4 Lantern Scatter symbols to trigger the Dead Men Tell No Tales Bonus Game, in which 3 refilling lives are awarded. Each life is the equivalent of 1 spin. During this feature, only non-winning symbols can land on the reels, or special Skull and Kraken symbols.
Above each reel is a multiplier value, which starts at 1x and can be progressively increased through special symbols. Each time a special symbol lands, lives are refilled back to 3. At the end of the Bonus Game, the multiplier value above each reel will be added to all Cursed Area positions on the respective reels. The sum of all multipliers will then be multiplied by the bet, awarding the total win.
Possible special symbols are as follows:
- Cursed Skull Multiplier – creates a Cursed Area from its landed position to the top of the reel, or grows an existing Cursed Area, and adds a multiplier to the total reel value. Possible multiplier values are 1x, 2x, 5x, 10x, 15x, 20x, 25x, 50x, 100x, 150x, 200x, 250x, or 500x.
- Tormented Skull Multiplier – reveals a value that multiplies the total reel value. Possible multiplier values are x2, x3, x4, x5, x10, x15, x20, or x25.
- Kraken Symbol – reveals a multiplier that is added to the total value of all reels. Possible multiplier values are 1x, 2x, 5x, 10x, 15x, 20x, 25x, 50x, 100x, 150x, 200x, 250x, or 500x.
Players in appropriate regions can take advantage of the following Buy Bonus options:
- Bonus Hunt FeatureSpins (5x more likely to trigger a bonus) – 3x bet (96.21% RTP)
- Sunken Treasure Bonus Game – 100x bet (96.26% RTP)
- Dead Men Tell No Tales Bonus Game – 200x bet (96.33% RTP)
The volatility for both Bonus Game options is high, whilst Bonus Hunt FeatureSpins have a very high rating. The RTP options above are based upon the 96.22% RTP setting.
The maximum win available in Cursed Seas is 12,500x bet. If the sum of a single game round exceeds this, the game round will end and 12,500x bet will be awarded.
We're sticking on the dark side of Hacksaw Gaming in Cursed Seas, and even though there's only one feature to carry the weight, it does it well. In the base game, Cursed Multipliers up to 200x help to keep things moving forward, at least until one of two Bonus Games are triggered.
Both of these Bonus Games bring a completely different experience. On the one hand, Sunken Treasures will probably appeal to more players, given that it's a free spins feature offering a progressively increasing total win multiplier, but on the other Dead Men Tell No Tales will be regarded as the ‘super bonus', coming in at twice the cost to buy – which might lead to it being the more sought after of the two. In either instance, wins are possible up to 12,500x bet when the right combinations land.
Finally, maths is highly (4/5) volatile, and RTP options are available up to 96.22% (96.33% feature buy), so as always it's worth checking this. If you're a fan of Hacksaw Gaming, particularly their penchant for using big multipliers or refilling lives in their features, Cursed Seas was made for you.
*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.