The ups and downs of a pirate’s life, especially when it came to fame, were legendary. It was all yours, or nothing at all. Certain types of people (mostly men) found piracy to be appealing despite the dangers involved, the violence, and the constant pursuit by foreign government forces. You could have fame and fortune right away if you were willing to put in the effort. It was up to the men of that age to either mope around at home or set sail for other regions in search of treasure. Is it too much of a leap to find comparisons between that life and playing slots? No, let’s just use that. The prevalence of slots with a pirate motif suggests they share some characteristics. Quickspin has released their newest game, Skulls UP.
Quickspin is known for experimenting with conventional layouts, and Skulls UP is no exception. In contrast to Golden Glyph’s fixed 7×7 grid, Skulls UP’s reels can extend to accommodate additional symbols. The design is vintage Quickspin, with the trademark orange user interface and 5×3 reel configuration. We’ll explain how the additional features can rapidly alter this situation. Developers typically take one of two approaches to the pirate theme. They can make the pirates either lovable cartoon characters or sinister antagonists. Quickspin went with the former, and the game is full of happy pirates and lovable critters as a result.
Don’t let the nice vibe deceive you though. This is a highly unpredictable game (4.5/5), so you could experience dry spells or surges in fortune. We will discuss the degree of controversy surrounding the amount of glory you will obtain in the final analysis. No complaints here; the RTP of 96.26% is par for the course for Quickspin games. A player can place a minimum wager of 10 p/c every spin and a maximum wager of 100 $/€. The standard 5×3 layout in the main game offers 243 ways to win. Three identical symbols in a row, beginning with reel 1, will result in a win. When all available rows are used, the number of possible winning combinations increases to 1,944.
Quickspin has maintained a somewhat consistent aesthetic throughout the game, with the exception of the standard 10-A royals at the bottom of the pay scale. On the plus side, Quickspin has fully embraced the swashbuckler genre, and the game now features monkeys, parrots, an eye-patch-wearing pirate, and a female captain. A combination of five of a type with this pirateess is worth 20 times the bet. Symbols are neither very valuable nor repulsive; they fall somewhere in the between. Two types of wilds, each appearing on reels 2, 3, and 4, round out the payouts. Aside from the wild card, the game also uses a scatter symbol to help you get to the better parts of the game.
Quickspin: Skulls UP – Specials
Skulls UP’s features are tailored for pyromaniacs because they all involve fire. Let’s start with the Flaming Respins which combines the Flaming Skull Wilds. The Skull Wild that isn’t on fire acts like any other wild by standing in for other symbols. When a Flaming Skull Wild lands, however, it triggers the Flaming Respins function.
Any Skull Wild or Flaming Skull Wild that appears before the reels respin will add an extra symbol above their place. When the number of rows above the middle three reels reaches its maximum of six, the wild symbols remain in place. If a player gets a win during a respin that includes a Flaming Skull Wild, the flame goes out and the Wild reverts to a regular Skull Wild. The respins will continue as long as there are any Flaming Skull Wilds on the reels. When no more respins happen, the total amount won is calculated and the reels are reset to their original position.
The golden chest acts as a scatter. If you get three of these, you’ll get eight free games with flaming wilds. The Flaming Respins mechanic and all other rules from the main game are carried over to the bonus spins round. The first is an additional two free games added if a reel has six symbols on it. Furthermore, any rise in reel height due to Flaming Respins during a free spin will be maintained. When a Flaming Respin ends, the reels remain at their current height rather than returning to their normal height.
Positive Spin on the Skulls: The Verdict
Quickspin delivers a serviceable product with Skulls UP. It’s encouraging to see a creator taking risks, and the nautical motif is a nice touch, but the game still doesn’t go quite as far as Golden Glyph did in terms of innovation. Flaming Wild Skull symbols trigger features whenever they appear, which keeps things moving along nicely. Even though Quickspin didn’t invent the extending row function, they did a great job of incorporating it with the pirate theme. The most thrilling situations occur when multiple features are active at once, such as during Flaming Free Spins when the rows remain fixed following a Flaming Respin.
The main problem with this game is that the maximum payout is just 3,650 times the initial wager. It’s not terrible, but we were hoping for more given the theme, growing reels mechanism, and high volatility. Still, Quickspin has created something that will appeal to anyone who likes pirates or growing reels. When Skulls UP is in a nice rhythm, it can deliver a fun gaming experience.