Hacksaw Gaming have established their approach towards slots in a clear and direct way from the start, offering high volatility, with high reward. By their own admission, they offer “disruptive gaming”, with “mobile friendly, innovative concepts and strong themes.” Beginning with Scratch Cards, Hacksaw made their move into online slots with the release of Stick ‘Em in 2019, the prequel to this month's release, Stack ‘Em. Considering both slots side by side, it's clear to see the leap Hacksaw Gaming have made both in design and execution. Stack ‘Em brings players an immaculately designed user experience, packing a huge punch with potential, and turning those volatility levels up even higher that we have come to expect.
Canny the Can makes his comeback for Stack ‘Em, sitting alongside the grid, but this time bringing his friend Mona the Mouse along for the ride. Visually, this new release can best be described as an antique, yet unique, early 1900s Disney-esque feel. RTP is a fair 96.20%, and the maximum win sits at a generous 10,000x, similar to other popular Hacksaw editions like Chaos Crew, and the more recently released Frutz.
Stack ‘Em takes place on a 5×6 grid, waving goodbye to the simplistic design of Stick ‘Em, instead treating players to a host of unexpected, yet brilliantly eccentric symbols. Adopting the cluster pays mechanic, wins are formed by connecting 5 or more adjacent symbols horizontally or vertically. At the lower end of the pay table, A, G, E, R and T symbols pay out between 0.1x for clusters of 5 or 6, up to 25x for 25+. Clusters of leaves, birds, skulls or snakes trigger wins between 0.25x and 100x bet, and thumbs up symbols rewards players up to 200x bet for clusters of 25 or more. Finally, a W wild symbol is in play to help facilitate wins, substituting for all symbols except the Free Spins symbol.
Stack ‘Em Base Features
High volatility takes on a whole new meaning within Stack ‘Em, and players should be prepared for extended periods of play with not only no big wins, but potentially no wins at all. That said, when clusters are formed to make a win within the base game, there's a chance to form some pretty huge wins with the cascade style mechanic in play, offering players the chance to Stack Your Wins! When a cluster win is formed, all non-winning symbols are removed from the board, winning symbols drop to the bottom, and new symbols fall in place from the top, thus giving a chance for the cluster win to become bigger.
During this process, multipliers will show underneath the reels containing winning symbols. The multiplier correlates to the amount of winning symbols on the column above, meaning if 3 winning symbols are in view on reel 4, the multiplier below reel 4 will be x3. After the cascade in which no more winning symbols fall into place, the multipliers underneath the respective reels will be added together, and the cluster win will be multiplied by this amount. With a 5×6 grid, multipliers of up to x6 are available under each reel, giving the potential for a total multiplier of up to x30.
Stack ‘Em Bonus
3 FS Free Spins symbols triggers free spins, where players begin with 5 hearts above the grid, indicating 5 lives, and a x1 multiplier. Operating much the same way as the base game, clusters of 5 or more symbols are required to form wins during the free spins feature. When winning clusters are formed, the multiplier at the top of the grid is increased by the same number as the number of symbols involved in winning combinations on the reels. This means one cluster win of 5 symbols will increase the win multiplier by 5. During free spins, the “stack your wins” feature is not in play, and non-winning symbols will not be removed from the grid to allow for more wins.
Two new symbols are in play during free spins, which helps us to understand the multiplier available:
- ? Symbol: A “mystery” symbol, offering extra free spins, or an increase to the multiplier. The following outcomes are possible:
- 2-5 additional lives (spins)
- Adds 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 or 50 to the total multiplier
- Multiplies the total multiplier by 2, 3, 4 or 5.
- X Symbol: Any winning clusters that connect with the X symbol will have the total multiplier applied to the win. Any ? symbols in play will be revealed first to increase the multiplier before it is applied.
Free spins continue until no more hearts remain, and regardless of how many hearts you can have boosted, you can never have more than 5 spins at any one time. This, naturally, can be frustrating if you have 4 hearts and are given 5 extra from the ? symbol, as you will only make use of one of them.
For players in jurisdictions which allow feature buys, Stack ‘Em offers a feature buy at a cost of 129x, the same price as we have witnessed before in Chaos Crew, another popular Hacksaw Gaming release. RTP remains 96.20% during the feature buy, where players can continue to try their luck for wins of up to 10,000x.
Hacksaw Gaming are becoming pros at releasing original games, not like anything we've seen before, and Stack ‘Em is no different. Of course, it is the natural follow-on from Stick ‘Em, but remains unlike anything we've seen on offer from any other provider, whilst offering wins nearly 5 times as lucrative as it's predecessor – a clear insight into how this provider continues to grow and transform. The addition of the total multiplier in Free Spins being activated by the X symbol is reminiscent of the multiplier symbol available in Chaos Crew, and players will know all too well that landing just one symbol can take the bonus from a measly 40-50x to a whopping hit, far beyond anything expected.
It is always a mark of bravery to continue to produce unique games, especially with such interesting styling, in particular when you don't have too large a catalogue of games under your belt. Hacksaw Gaming seem to be setting themselves apart as a provider with little to no interest in continuing to produce the same “quick” games available elsewhere, and that in itself gets a huge tick from us. With an RTP of 96.20%, and a maximum win of 10,000x, Stack ‘Em will inevitably produce impressive wins for players of all stakes, even though it may take a few spins to fully understand.
*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.