If you're an adventurer, you might be the sort to think there's nothing as nice as a good hike. If you're particularly adventurous, you might also stay the night at your destination by settling down in a camp site nearby. I've never been the sort to like camping – sleeping on the ground with no showers isn't my thing, but there are plenty that love it. It's maybe this demographic that Relax Gaming are planning to appeal to in their upcoming release, Wild Hike, wherein you can follow the heartbeat of Mother Nature deep into the woods, lit only by moonlight. With a fixed RTP of 96.09% (up to 96.54% feature buy), this highly (5/5) volatile release can produce wins up to 20,000x bet.
It's quite dark and almost mysterious in Wild Hike. We're in the middle of the woods, with a campfire crackling to the left of the reels, and a dense collection of trees in the background. The moon in all its splendour serves as the only light in the background, and aside from this the rest of the focus is on the reels. There is a backpack sitting to the right so presumably there is a camper around somewhere – I actually thought he was the hooded figure beside the backpack, until I realised that was just a deceptive rock. Audios are subtle and quite tranquil, with sounds of animals and the fire breaking things up a bit.
Wild Hike Base Features
Taking place across 6 reels, wins are formed on Wild Hike by matching at least 3 symbols on adjacent reels, beginning with the leftmost reel. Each reel will hold 4 symbols, producing 4,096 ways to win. Symbols begin with non premiums, with 10s, Js, Qs, Ks, and As, awarding wins between 0.20 and 1x bet for matches between 3 and 6 of a kind. At the premium end, we have owls, deer, warthogs (an unconventional choice), and bears. Land 3 of a kind of any premium animal to see wins between 0.40 and 1x bet, increasing to win values between 1.80 and 4x bet for 6 of a kind matches. The highest paying symbol is the wolf, which awards wins of 2.50, 3.50, 5, or 10x bet for 3, 4, 5, or 6 of a kind wins.
In classic Relax Gaming style, there's only one main feature in Wild Hike and it's one fans of Iron Bank might recognise – Expanding Wild Re-spins. On any spin, if a Wild symbol lands on reel 3 or 4 and forms part of a win, it will expand to cover the entire reel and trigger a re-spin. On each consecutive re-spin, the multiplier attached to the Expanding Wild will increase by +x1. Re-spins continue until no new wins are formed.
If there is an Expanding Wild on reels 3 and 4, their multiplier values will be multiplied together before being applied. Wild symbols also exist on reels 2 and 5, but they do not expand and do not have multipliers. Normal Wilds and Expanding Wilds substitute for all symbols except Free Spin symbols.
Wild Hike Bonus
Land 3 or 4 Free Spin symbols to trigger 7 or 10 Free Spins, respectively. During Free Spins things continue in much the same way as the base game with a couple of enhancements. Firstly, any Free Spin symbol that lands during the feature will award an additional +1 spins.
Secondly, all Expanding Wild multipliers will stick during Free Spins. Each time re-spins have ended, the last multiplier on reels 3 and 4 will be stored at the top of the reels. When another Expanding Wild triggers re-spins, the multiplier will pick up where it left off.
If Free Spins were triggered during the Expanding Wild Re-spin feature of the base game, any multipliers associated with reels 3 and 4 will carry over into Free Spins.
Players in appropriate regions can skip straight to the action with two Buy Feature options:
- Free Spins (7 or 10 spins) – 75x bet (96.51% RTP)
- Wild Free Spins (7 or 10 spins and a guaranteed win on double Expanding Wilds) – 150x bet (96.54% RTP)
The maximum win available in Wild Hike is 20,000x bet. If the sum of a single game round exceeds this, the game round will end and 20,000x bet will be awarded.
There's nothing complicated about Wild Hike, and you wouldn't expect there to be either, given that this is the work of Relax Gaming. At its core it is, as we said above, one of the bonus options from Iron Bank. There's nothing wrong with that of course, and for a huge amount of people this was their favourite of the 3 bonus options, so it makes sense that this mechanic has now became a game in its own right. Visually, I'm undecided. Relax are never going to put anything out that doesn't look great, but I don't think it has quite the same appeal as their other releases. I guess the closest thing to compare it to in terms of theme is Print Studios' Huntress Wild Vengeance, and it doesn't have quite the same picturesque feel, in my opinion. That said, the longer I looked at Wild Hike, the more I started to like it – it grows on you.
Gameplay is fine, and there's plenty of opportunities in the base game to see huge wins with Expanding Wild Re-spins. Free Spins are where things get really interesting though, with Expanding Wild Multipliers that pick up where the last ones left off. It felt a little contrived though, particularly in Wild Free Spins, which guarantees a win on double Expanding Wilds. I guess this is the hazard of a simple concept and lucrative win values with multipliers – you don't open the door to a great deal of possibilities whilst keeping wins on the lower end. Out of around 15 Buy Feature attempts at Wild Free Spins, I think around 10 paid more or less the 150x bet cost back, with 3 paying more than this.
The return wasn't the problem, but it seemed that with this option you really don't get Wilds as often – you get your guaranteed double win, and it dies pretty quickly – in my experience, at least. Normal Free Spins, on the other hand, felt like they had more variety and more Wilds appearing, although maybe not together. Regardless though, for the players who do see top end potential, there won't be any complaints, and when the right combinations hit wins are possible up to 20,000x bet. Finally, maths is highly (5/5) volatile and RTP is fixed at 96.09% (up to 96.54% feature buy).
There isn't a great deal more to say. There's nothing groundbreaking here but Wild Hike is a solid release and a great start to the year for Relax Gaming, particularly if you're a fan of Iron Bank – and of course, a fixed RTP above 96% gets some bonus points.
*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.