Everyone knows what an octopus is – an ocean creature with 8 legs, but did you also know they have 3 hearts? Octopuses are normally drawn in a pretty friendly way, but when you actually google pictures, they're pretty frightening looking. Imagine then how frightening it would be to see a colossal octopus, like the legendary Kraken, rumoured to appear off the coast of Norway. Pragmatic Play tried their hand at bringing this legend to life in their 2020 title, Release the Kraken. Now the team are revising this to bring us Release the Kraken 2 – a highly (4/5) volatile release, with an RTP of 96.5% at its highest, and wins available up to 5,000x bet.
Visually, we're under the sea – but it's quite colourful, with coral and various other plant life lining the bottom of the screen. Reels are set upon brass borders with sea horse embellishments, and a variety of fish make up the symbols – made to look much friendlier than their real life counterparts. Music and sounds tie the whole thing together nicely, producing something that gives a light impression of a pretty fearful legend.
Release the Kraken 2 Base Features
Taking place across 5 reels, wins are formed on Release the Kraken 2 by matching at least 2 or 3 symbols on adjacent reels, beginning with the leftmost reel, across 1 of 20 fixed win lines. Symbols available begin with non premiums, with 10s, Js, Qs, Ks, and As, awarding wins between 0.20 and 0.30x bet for 3 of a kind, increasing to values between 1 and 2x bet for 5 of a kind. At the premium end, we have electric eels, anglerfish, and pufferfish. Land 3 of a kind of any of these creatures to see wins between 0.50 and 2x bet, increasing to values between 3 and 5x bet for 5 of a kind. Rounding off our aquatic creatures are sharks, which also pay for 2 of a kind. Land 2, 3, 4, or 5 sharks to see wins between 0.50, 2.50, 5, and 10x bet, respectively. Finally, Kraken Wilds are available to land on every reel, substituting for all symbols except Octopus Bonus symbols. Land 2, 3, 4, or 5 Wilds across a win line to see wins of 0.50, 5, 10, or 20x bet, respectively.
The first thing to cover in the base game is the Ante Bet. By betting an additional 25%, the chance of triggering Free Spins naturally is increased, and the Buy Free Spins option is disabled. Just how much the chance of triggering a bonus is increased by is not specified.
There are 3 features which can land randomly in Release the Kraken 2, beginning with the Wild Respin. If 4 or more Wild symbols hit, the game will go into respin mode after paying wins. Wilds remain on the screen and move to a random position whilst all other symbols respin. If at least one more Wild hits, another respin will be awarded. All winning combinations are paid after every respin. Wild Respin ends when no more Wilds hit.
Next up are Shifting Stacked Wild symbols, which can appear on reels 2-4. When this symbol lands, it will nudge fully into view, covering its entire reel. For each position a Wild nudges, a multiplier will increase by +1. After all Stacked Wilds have moved fully into view, all wins will be paid, multiplied by the sum of all multipliers.
Finally, it's the Guaranteed Win. Randomly, in a spin that results in no win, the Kraken can come onto the screen. The Kraken will then change symbols around, until an outcome of between 20-50x bet has been achieved. Alternatively to this, after a spin that results in no win, an explosion can appear, awarding 3 Bonus symbols, triggering the Free Spins feature.
Release the Kraken 2 Bonus
Land 3, 4, or 5 Bonus symbols to trigger the Free Spins feature. Before Free Spins begin, players will play a mini bonus game to win a combination of Free Spins and Starting Multiplier for the subsequent round. Depending on the number of Bonus Symbols triggering the feature, different combinations are possible. I wont list each of the 16 combinations for each trigger, but instead these lows and highs are possible:
- 3 Bonus symbols – 4 Free Spins x2 multiplier – 15 Free Spins x4 multiplier
- 4 Bonus symbols – 5 Free Spins x2 multiplier – 20 Free Spins x6 multiplier
- 5 Bonus symbols – 6 Free Spins x2 multiplier – 20 Free Spins x10 multiplier
This mini game works as we've seen in variations of Deal or No Deal or Pirate Pays Megaways, where players remove 4, 4, 3, and 3 boxes, being awarded a Kraken Offer after each round of picks. The offer can then be accepted or players can go to the very end, either revealing their box value or opening the remaining box.
During Free Spins, 40 fixed win lines are in play. Alongside this, any win achieved in Free Spins will be multiplied by the multiplier value awarded through the mini bonus game. Any Wild symbols that land will remain on the reels for the duration of the feature, moving to a new position before each spin.
Whilst normal Wild symbols can continue to land, it is now possible to land a Golden Wild symbol. If a Golden Wild symbol hits, the multiplier will increase by +1, with all future wins then being multiplied by this value.
Release the Kraken 2 Free Spins cannot be retriggered.
Finally, players have the following two options to buy the feature:
- 100x bet – Standard Free Spins, with 3-5 Bonus symbols landing randomly
- 250x bet – VIP Free Spins, with 5 Bonus symbols guaranteed.
The maximum win available in Release the Kraken 2 is 5,000x bet. If the sum of a single game round exceeds this, the game round will end and 5,000x bet will be awarded.
Release the Kraken proved popular for the team, but it had its negatives too – one of these being that the ‘random' pick for Free Spins seemed to just always reveal the same amount of spins. This is the most obvious improvement in Release the Kraken 2, wherein players will now play a mini bonus game to determine their spins and starting multiplier. This can of course reveal some pretty poor combinations, but with the right amount of Bonus symbols, it's possible to trigger up to 20 Free Spins with a x10 starting multiplier – although this is only possible when landing 6 Bonus symbols, or buying VIP Free Spins.
3 base game features help to keep things moving forward until you do make it to the bonus, and when Free Spins start things are much what you'd expect if you're a fan of the original – sticky, roaming Wilds, and a chance to increase the multiplier, although this is now done through Golden Wilds. This seems a fair trade as we now start with an increased multiplier, so Golden Wilds are a good way of balancing these elements. If the right combinations land, Release the Kraken 2 can produce wins up to 5,000x bet – an impressive amount, but less so when remembering that its predecessor seemingly had double this potential.
Maths is highly (5/5) volatile, and RTP at its highest is 96.5%, although settings of 95.5% and 94.5% are available, so as always it's worth checking this. However, this is now I think the third review of a Pragmatic game recently with some continuity issues in the information provided. 4/5 volatility and RTPs between 94.5 and 96.5% is the information provided in the overall information, but within the actual game, RTP is 96.03%, and volatility is rated 5/5, so it's all a bit confusing. Either way, it seems RTP takes a slight dip when using Ante Bet, but a slight increase when buying VIP Free Spins.
Aside from the decreased win potential, Release the Kraken 2 makes sense as a sequel, and should please fans of the original.
*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.