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By Dale Shelabarger, Updated:
As well as keeping any eye on developments in the iGaming sector, our team at Inside Casino also pays close attention to the best slots currently doing the rounds. So, to keep you in the picture, we’ll be offering our insights into the most popular games via regular slot of the month articles. For the first entry in the series, our gaze falls upon San Quentin - a feature-laden slot from up-coming casino game developer, No Limit City.
San Quentin was released in early January 2021 and is proving extremely popular at the moment. It’s a five-reel game with a max-win potential of 150,000 times your stake as well as a raft of bonus features. These include a lockdown spins round, a free spins bonus round and a split wilds mechanic. It has an RTP in the range of between 96.03% and 96.95%.
The game is of course inspired (for some reason) by San Quentin State Prison - one of the United States’ most notorious prisons. As well as accommodating death-row inmates, this grim California lock-up as also played host to concerts by the likes of Jonny Cash. So it’s only natural that an online slot game should be developed in its honour!
The 5 x 3 reel set is set against a cartoon-rendering of barbed-wire prison walls, with watchtowers looming in the distance. On either side of the reels stand CCTV cameras. Play is accompanied by an industrial hip-hop ditty complete with plunking Latino guitar.
The reels are populated by a gaggle of unfriendly inmates as well as various objects one might associated with prison-life. For once, playing card symbols aren’t used as low value symbols although their inclusion might quite appropriate in this instance.
Instead, low value symbols are signified by a toilet roll, handcuffs, shivs (knife/razor combo), a lighter and a bar of soap.
Medium to high value symbols are represented by the inmates: Crazy Joe Labrador, Biker Bill, Loco Luis, Heinrich the 3rd and Beefy Dick (yes really). Of these cupcakes, the latter character is the most lucrative, paying out 5 times your stake if he appears five times across a pay-line.
A watchtower serves as the bonus symbol – during the base game if one or two appear on any of the reels it becomes wild and opens the enhancer cells. These are barred reel positions that sit above and below the main reels. Once opened, they can reveal the following premium symbols: a Wild, Razor Split or X-Ways symbol.
The Razor Split splits all regular symbols in standard positions. If you manage to land it at the top and bottom of a reel, the regular symbols are quartered. As a result, the pay-lines increase to 13,189,257,216. The x-Ways symbol reveals the same paying symbol and is stacked.
Split wilds are also in play during the base game which split all symbols on a reel, potentially generating as many as 46,656 ways to win.
In order to access the Lockdown spins round, three, four or five prison tower bonus symbols will be required. Manage this, and you’ll receive one, two or three police badge jumping wilds which move to random reel positions on each spin.
For the Lockdown spins round, a special symbol multiplier is chosen at random from the triggering reel. The number of spins you receive will be determined by the total values revealed in the enhancer cell positions. During the round, all enhancer cells stay open.
It’s also possible to buy access to the Lockdown Spins found, unless of course you’re based in the UK - the Gambling Commission put a stop to these types of features a while back. Anyway, those based oversees have the option to choose one, two or three jumping wilds. Keep in mind though that if you decide to buy three, you’ll have to part with 2000x your stake.
To conclude, it’s safe to say that San Quentin is one of the more complicated slots that we’ve come across recently. There are many, many features to get used to. And for the Lockdown Spins mode, it’s hard not to feel like a spectator at times. The game is also highly-volatile and therefore suited to big-budget players willing to hold out for the big win.