When a creative group had a breakthrough year, expectations for the next year are sky-high. More notoriety brings with it more scrutiny, and not necessarily in a good manner. When the general population gets even the slightest hint that an individual can’t handle things anymore, they quickly turn against them. Nolimit City has released their own challenge, San Quentin xWays, to directly confront this issue after a great 2020. The studio has been dropping hints and teases for quite some time now. Now that the beast is free, we may never look at slots the same way again.
You’ve certainly heard the term “San Quentin” before, since it’s one of the most well-known prisons in the United States. It’s full with guys you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley. Nolimit City has developed a suitably perilous game for this topic. When San Quentin xWays arrives on screen, it brings some gloomy visuals with it. Behind the safety of concrete walls, barbed wire, surveillance cameras, and guard towers, a 5-reel, 243-pay-way action area awaits. Caged spots above and below the reels can be unlocked at strategic times to reveal additional ordinary and special symbols, increasing the number of possible paylines.
Any player, on any platform, may escape out of prison with wagers ranging from 20 pence to £/€32. This establishment is very volatile, with a rating of 10 out of 10, meaning that it may be either terrible or incredibly lucrative, with winnings of up to 150,000x. There has probably never been a slot machine with a higher potential outside of a jackpot than what we have right now. The standard return on investment (RTP) for San Quentin is 96.03%; however, a 94.11% RTP variant is also available. The hit frequency is fairly high at 34.25 percent, but the percentage of straight-line victories is low, therefore the game mainly relies on its perks. San Quentin xWays, when they work, are spectacular.
Beefy Dick, Loco Luis, Heinrich the Third, Biker Bill, and Crazy Joe are the five main characters in San Quentin xWays. You wouldn’t want to get in trouble with these dudes, let alone having to share a tiny cell with them. Since the grisly five make up the higher paying premium symbols (worth 2.5 to 5x the wager for five of a kind), they are slightly more desired as symbols. Following this group are a series of Punk Rocker–inspired symbols based on common jail objects including bars of soap, lighters, makeshift weapons, handcuffs, and rolls of toilet paper.
There are 2 wilds that can be used to supplement winning combos. The first type of wild can replace any number of symbols. As for the other, it’s a Split wild. Split wilds double the amount of pay symbols on a reel by splitting the symbols above and below them. So what? Well, buckle up now because San Quentin’s warp drive is about to kick off.
xWays Slots in San Quentin: Game Features
Lockdown Free Spins, which are sure to explode highlight reels, are just one of several San Quentin-exclusive features that keep the main game exciting. There are fixed Enhancer Cell placements around the outer edges of each reel. When opened, they can reveal a high-paying icon, a wild, Razor Splits, or an xWay sign at random. If there are Razor Splits on both Enhancer Cells, every symbol on that reel will be multiplied by two. All four of the xWay symbols display the same pay sign.
Scatter symbols are the guard tower emblems, and they can appear on any reel during the main game or during free spins on reels with unopened Enhancer Cells. When 3, 4, or 5 scatters appear, you’ll enter Lockdown Spins, where you can get 1, 2, or 3 Jumping Wilds to start with (more on those below). The duration of the opened Enhancer Cells on the triggering reels is increased by the trigger. In the event that one or two scatter symbols appear, they will transform into wilds and activate their corresponding Enhancer Cells.
The quantity of free spins is set before the bonus round begins. One, two, or three more turns are revealed in each open Enhancer Cell. Then, a multiplier is assigned at random to one of the prisoner symbols.
After everything has been settled, Lockdown Spins will begin. They function similarly to regular spins, with the exception of leaping wilds and the prisoner symbol’s multiplier. In addition to substituting for other symbols and repositioning themselves at random on each spin, leaping wilds can also have multipliers attached to them, which greatly increases their potential payout. When a wild appears on a reel with a Razor Split symbol, the multiplier for that wild is doubled, up to a maximum of x512. Like Monkey’s Gold, it doesn’t increase your payout but is still counted as a wild symbol. Any bonus symbols that appear during the feature add an additional leaping wild (up to a maximum of 3) and grant additional free games.
There are two aspects about San Quentin that are sure to spark debate. The first is its potential, and the second is the ability to acquire more features. Players, if given the choice, can select from the following three options: Lockdown Free games with 1, 2, or 3 expanding wilds triggered by 3, 4, or 5 scatters. The corresponding costs are 100x, 400x, and 2,000x the bet. The return to player percentage improves from 96.26% to 96.26 or 96.95% if you choose to purchase 3, 4, or 5 more extra features. The maximum win during simulation was attained with 5 scatter bonuses, so that’s what you’ll probably need to hit the jackpot. The potential in the 3–4 scatter bonuses is still substantial, but it’s not 150,000x.
Slot Conviction in San Quentin xWays
Because of the high standards to which we have grown used, it is difficult to refrain from giving Nolimit City releases an even deeper listen than usual. With an eye toward criticism, I’d like to point out a few minor issues. Unlike other Nolimit games like Punk Rocker, San Quentin xWays doesn’t immediately thrust you into the action. Similarities between San Quentin and Punk Rocker’s design and aesthetic make their initial effects less striking.
In addition, the core gameplay isn’t always that engaging. The victories are not few, but they are on the low side. It took over 500 spins in testing to win more than 15 times the amount, so patience is definitely a virtue. The tempo is always changing because to the combination of Enhancer Cells and Split Wilds, yet San Quentin is frequently quite calm. It’s not hard to see how the game is a metaphor for incarceration. A great deal of continuity exists across successive days, but in an instant, everything may shift. All hell breaks loose when marked inmates are stabbed in the kidneys with a makeshift shiv or an agitated inmate hits a jail officer.
However, San Quentin xWays slots allows you to get to locations where no other slots have gone before. The manner Nolimit has handled the subject matter contributes to the song’s rapid endearment. Although a prison setting has the potential to be gloomy, the cartoonish, hilarious meme-like style greatly brightens the mood while keeping an edge, especially after you’ve seen what San Quentin can accomplish.
The real action begins during the free spins round, which is where the leaping wilds come into play. Having one wild jumper in action is exciting, but having three of them exponentially increases the destruction of San Quentin. During testing, a nice 12,415x win happened when three leaping wilds appeared, one of which carried a multiplier of x16. An impressive number in any game, but in San Quentin it’s only a fraction of what it might be. In contrast to Deadwood and Punk Rocker, the free spins feature has a lot more possible wins. Winnings of up to 150,000x the stake in the 5 scatter bonus are available when all cylinders are firing, and this occurs once every 1.83 billion spins. If San Quentin reaches this point, Lockdown Spins will terminate immediately.
Once the frenzy of free spins ends, players must return to the main menu and wait for the next outbreak to begin. That is, unless you can use the bonus purchase option. The 750x bonus purchase in Deadwood got folks talking; San Quentin will do the same. The 2,000x top-level wager is shockingly brazen, and the four bonus symbol option is already nerve-wracking enough. Take extreme caution with this one.
This brings up an important aspect with regards to bonus spins. Numbers like volatility, average return, and potential vary depending on whether you play with 3, 4, or 5 bonus symbols. The greater the number of symbols that serve as triggers, the better. When scatters appear during free spins, they not only award more leaping wilds, but also “level up” the current round to the next higher stat level.
Some people believe that inmates in prisons will naturally form a pecking order from the most senior inmates to the newest arrivals. San Quentin is the cornbread-loving new man at the slammer who takes down the biggest, nastiest con artist there. The game has a poor reputation for following the rules and is a true monster with some of the largest non-jackpot payouts available. It will be fascinating to see how other teams react to the stunning start that Nolimit City has made to the new year. Is a new weapons race on the horizon?