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The name ‘Hellcatraz’ definitely inspires a number of rather daunting visuals: prison isolation, a hellish environment and a place bereft of hope. However, what you’ll actually witness upon firing up this slot couldn’t be more contrasting.
Although Relax Gaming’s use of pixelated artwork and cartoon-like character symbols delivers an impressive aesthetic, it does make you wonder how the game’s name actually came to be. Hellcatraz is indeed themed upon its infamous namesake, but none of the fear factor seems to be present. Instead what you get is a fun and colourful slot that’s only ability to instill any worry lies within figuring out how best to spend your winnings if you land the enormous top prize.
Visuals aside, what’s more important is that you’ll discover the game has two separate modes to choose from – Mixed or Lockdown. These are essentially volatility settings with respective RTPs. Choosing either will result in high variance gameplay, but the latter is even more volatile.
All of the usual buttons are located below the reels so you’ll easily be able to configure any settings you choose to. You’ll also find any other necessary information relating to the paytable or game rules within the submenu in the bottom left-hand corner of the display.
Ultimately, Hellcatraz is a game that’s high risk. It can often result in some frustrating sessions, but can also deliver payouts that will make you wonder if you’ve somehow committed a crime worthy of being sent to Alcatraz itself.
In similar fashion to most modern slot games, Hellcatraz has a number of special features to keep gameplay interesting and they’re definitely worth checking out.
Relax Gaming hasn’t gone overboard by including too many, but those that are available can certainly enhance your spinning session. They’ve also cleverly implemented a Super Free Spins mode, which becomes available when you’ve collected enough Golden Keys.
Core to the gameplay is the cascading symbols mechanic. At the start of every spin symbols will drop into position on each individual reel. If any win is formed the symbols used in the combination will shatter and disappear, leaving space for new symbols to fall into place. This can potentially lead to multiple cascades and numerous wins as they will continue to occur until no more wins are created.
Each spin during the base game will drop in a number of Mystery Symbols, which have a counter attached to them. Each winning cascade during the spin sequence will reduce the counter by 1 until it reaches zero. Upon the counter reaching zero, all Mystery Symbols will reveal the same symbol for potential wins.
One thing to bear in mind is that the game mode you choose has an impact on how the Mystery Symbols behave.
Mixed Mode: Two individual values are assigned to any Mystery Symbols in view – these can be the same.
Lockdown Mode: All Mystery Symbols will have the same countdown value.
Whereas many online slots utilise Scatter symbols to trigger various bonus features, Hellcatraz instead uses a Golden Key collection system.
On the left-hand side of the reels, you’ll see a Key Collector. On any spin Golden Keys can be attached to regular symbols and will be added to the Key Collector when they appear. Each Golden Key awards between 1 and 10 towards the counter.
When 2,000 Golden Keys have been collected the Super Free Spins on Hellcatraz will be triggered.
Once you’ve collected 2,000 Golden Keys the main Hellcatraz bonus will begin and you’ll receive 5 Super Free Spins.
During Free Spins any Mystery Symbols will reveal as soon as they land, no cascades are required to reduce to counter to zero.
Golden Symbols are also present during the feature, which reveal another symbol as normal but also add one extra Free Spin after two cascades occur.
Be aware that Free Spins will play out at the value of your average bet size during the Golden Key collection period.
If you don’t want to wait until you’ve accumulated 2,000 keys (it is a rather large amount), or want to simply escape from the base game entirely, you can also buy entry into the Free Spins mode using the optional ‘Buy’ feature.
This will give you instant access to the free games at the cost of 200x your stake. The price can be reduced if you choose to trade in the keys you have already collected.
Note that this feature is restricted in certain jurisdictions.
Although there are two different available modes to play, Hellcatraz is a highly volatile online slot regardless of which you pick. This means you’ll undoubtedly experience spells of non-winnings spins, but when the wins do land you can expect them to be of a decent value.
Each mode comes with the following Return to Player (RTP) percentage:
Mixed Mode: 96.46%
Lockdown Mode: 96.30%
The game is played on 6 Reels, 6 Rows and features a cascade mechanic across 46,656 fixed Ways to Win on every spin.
As we’ve already touched upon, Hellcatraz doesn’t allow for as large a bet per spin as a number of other slots. However, new customers shouldn’t be affected as the min bet of €0.10 still offers conservative play.
It’s those of you who prefer playing with much higher stakes that may potentially be put off as the max bet is limited to €20 per spin. Whilst this is still a large amount to risk, it’s nowhere near what some other online slots allow you to wager.
There are, of course, many other staking options in between these limits if you prefer to find some middle ground.
One of the standout features of this release, if not the standout feature, is how much you potentially stand to win whenever you spin the reels.
Standing at 51,840x your stake, the Hellcatraz maximum win is one of the largest we’ve seen outside of some sort of progressive jackpot. Regardless of how much you wager, if this lands you’ll be in for a serious payout. Simply keep in mind that the volatility of this game means this prize is unlikely to land very often.
Although the inmates of Alcatraz wouldn’t have been able to play this new slot on mobile, Relax Gaming have made sure that all new players can certainly do so.
This game is fully optimised for the smaller screen, meaning that regardless of whether you’re playing via an iOS, Android or Windows device you’ll get the same great experience that you would on desktop.
It’s definitely worth grabbing a deposit bonus at one of our recommended casinos to see if you can walk away with all of the loot – just keep an eye out for any wagering requirements!
As we can remember the time when pixelated characters were amongst a number of our gaming heroes, Hellcatraz definitely strikes a nostalgic chord right from the start. However, the appeal of this online slot definitely isn’t limited to players from that era. We believe Relax Gaming has done a wonderful job in blending a retro feel with modern mechanics to deliver a game that everyone should love.
Even if Hellcatraz didn’t combine these elements the game would still be able to stand on its own. The special features and huge potential of this slot make for a game that’s exciting with each spin of the reels and also gives you a sense of progression as you search for the Golden Keys to unlock the Super Free Spins.
However, the game isn’t perfect. There are two details that we feel could alienate certain players. First of all the maximum bet is rather low, which could result in a number of high rollers looking to other slots for greater risk versus reward gameplay. Secondly, aside from the ‘Buy’ feature, there’s no other way to trigger the Super Free Spins other than collecting 2,000 Golden Keys. This could potentially be laborious and frustrating if the keys don’t appear – some sort of Scatter trigger wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Nevertheless, if you enjoy high variance gameplay this is a slot we can strongly recommend. When the features trigger they can certainly be rewarding and the 51,840x maximum win is more than enough to keep every spin of the reels as tantalising as the last.
This particular release reminds us of Thunderkick’s Flame Busters – similar retro graphics and fun features that have the potential to generate great payouts. If you want to stick with a familiar feel then we definitely suggest starting there.
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