Fear The Dark

Fear The Dark Slot Review

Slot Provider: Hacksaw Gaming

RTP: 96.25% | Variance: Medium | Maximum Win: 5,000x

Our Score: 8.2

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About Fear The Dark

Reviewed by:

Published Date: 29th June 2023

How We Review Slot Games

We test and rate all slot games across 5 criteria, assigning a score out of 10 for each and an overall score that is an average of the 5. To build an accurate assessment of each game we gather information from the supplier and play in real play or demo mode. Find out more.

Fear the Dark is a ghost-themed Cluster Pays slot from Hacksaw Gaming with a medium variance and a top payout of 5,000x. It’s part of the Pocketz series of games designed for mobile play. It was released to UK slot sites in April 2023. The highlight of the game is an unusual two-stage free spins round which moves to a shrinking grid that can be re-set only by landing more scatters.

Fear The Dark Game Information

  • RTP: 96.25%
  • Variance: Medium
  • Maximum Win: 5,000x
  • Progressive Jackpot: No
  • Reels: 6
  • Rows: 6
  • Paylines: Cluster Pays
  • Minimum Stake: £0.10
  • Theme: Ghosts
  • Features: Symbol Multipliers, Free Spins

What We Liked

  • Fun, cartoon ghost theme
  • Two-step bonus round
  • Lots of symbol multipliers
  • Multipliers as high as 100x
  • Full Moon brings up extended avalanches

What We Didn't like

  • Became monotonous quite quickly

Fear The Dark Review Scores

  • Theme and Design 9
  • RTP and Variance 8
  • Maximum Win 8
  • Symbols and Paytable 8
  • Features and Gameplay 8

What Our Reviewer Says ...

"A ghostly caper with the chance to land big symbol multipliers - don't be afraid of the Darkness Spins!"

Overall Score: 8.2

Theme & Design

Our Score 9

Those expecting another horror slot from Hacksaw in the vein of Rotten or Cursed Seas will be disappointed with Fear the Dark’s style. It is more humorous cartoon than Hollywood gorefest – RIP City meets Scooby Doo perhaps. But rightly so in fact, to fit with the more comfortable, mid level variance as well as the house style of the Poketz series which includes Gronk’s Gems, another light-hearted cartoon slot.

Put it this way, though the game is set in a graveyard if you’re old enough to play this slot then you shouldn’t be too scared by those ghouls and zombies on the grid!

RTP and Variance

Our Score 8

What is RTP?

RTP (Return to Player) refers to the amount a game will pay out in cash prizes expressed as a percentage of all the money wagered on that game. For example, a 96% RTP means a game will pay out £96 for every £100 wagered. This is an average number and will vary from one session to the next.  Read more here.

What is Variance?

Variance refers to how far a game will deviate from its RTP over time. High variance games deviate a lot and produce uneven win distributions and unexpected windfalls. Low variance games provide a more stable and even distribution of wins. Read more here.

Fear the Dark has four available RTP settings – 96.25%, 94.33%, 92.36% or 88.25%. The top setting of 96.25% is about average for a UK slot but which setting you play at is at the discretion of your casino. We verified the RTP for Fear the Dark at five popular UK slot sites. This is what we found:

For the optimum RTP setting your best option is to play at MrQ, a site which performs consistently well in this test.

Fear the Dark is a medium variance slot like Frank’s Farm or Fruit Duel by the same provider. That should make it a more palatable slot than Hacksaw’s high variance games like Itero and Hand of Anubis. Expect a more even distribution of wins.

Maximum Win

Our Score 8

What Is Maximum Win?

Maximum win refers to the maximum amount a player can win from one spin. It is expressed as a multiple of the stake. For example, where the maximum win is 100,000x, from a £1 stake, the maximum win would be £100,000.  

The maximum win in Fear the Dark is 5,000x. This is about average for a mid-variance Hacksaw slot. If you are looking for a higher potential at the same variance you could try Gronk’s Gems or Pug Life, both of which are capped at 7,500x.

Explore Games With Similar RTP, Variance and Maximum Win

Like the numbers? Here are some more games you might want to try.

Slot SiteSupplierRTPVarianceTop Payout
Born WildHacksaw Gaming96.28%Medium2,500xPlay Here
Fruit DuelHacksaw Gaming96.3%Medium3,333xPlay Here
Frank’s FarmHacksaw Gaming96.31%Medium5,000xPlay Here
Pug LifeHacksaw Gaming96.33%Medium7,500xPlay Here
Aztec Gems DeluxePragmatic Play96.5%Medium22,519xPlay Here

Symbols and Paytable

Our Score 8

Fear the Dark is a cluster pays slot played out on a 6 reel and 6 row grid. The objective is to land ‘clusters’ of 5 or more identical symbols linked horizontally, vertically or diagonally. There are no fixed paylines.

Fear the Dark Paytable
Fear the Dark’s Paytable

Symbol values start low but build to a decent size when the clusters are 14 or more in size. And remember, this being a Hacksaw Gaming slot, there are plenty of multipliers available to drive up your wins.

The low value symbols are the black and white stairwell, gravestone, cup, cube and cross. These start at 0.1x for 5 in a cluster and increase up to 28x for 14 or more crosses in a cluster. The premiums are the scary characters – ghosts, melting faces, pig masks, clown and zombie. These are valued at from 0.5x for five in a cluster up to 120x for 14 or more zombies in a cluster.

There are no wilds in this game, but there are two scatters to unlock special features as explained below.

Features and Gameplay

Our Score 8

It doesn’t take long to figure out what is happening in Fear the Dark. Like most Hacksaw games, it’s pretty simple stuff.

Full Moon Feature

During the base game, you should be looking out for the Full Moon scatter. This symbol only needs to land once on its own to trigger the Full Moon feature. Between 2 and 5 symbol multipliers now become active, displayed at the top of the grid.

These multipliers can be 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, 8x, 9x, 10x, 15x, 20x, 25x, 50x or 100x.

These multipliers will be applied to any winning clusters made up of the corresponding symbols in the current cascade. But they also extend the cascade because when no more winning clusters are formed, then the symbol multipliers are removed one by one from left to right. And each time one is removed, corresponding symbols AND all low payers are removed from the grid, which may create more winning clusters for you, and so on.

The round will only end when ALL symbol multipliers have been removed.

Alone in the Dark And Darkness Spins Bonuses

The free spins round in Fear the Dark has an interesting two-part format. To trigger it you need to land at least 3 free spins candle scatters. 3 scatters gets you 10 spins and 4 gets you 15 spins. You can add a further 4 spins during the round for each scatter landed.

During Alone in the Dark you have more chance of triggering the Full Moon feature.

However, there is a twist. During free spins, candles burn around the grid. Once your spins are used up, the candles are all extinguished and the Darkness Spins are activated, starting with 2 free spins.

Before each Darkness Spins the grid shrinks in size, first to 4×4, then to 2×2. However, if you can trigger Full Moon, then the grid will return to 6×6 and you’ll start with 2 Darkness Spins again. And … you can re-start the whole round by landing another candle scatter, re-setting the grid and starting Alone in the Dark Spins.

All this madness only ends when you run out of Darkness Spins and no scatters – Full Moon or Candle – land.

The Final Verdict

There is no doubting the fun factor in Fear the Dark. This is very much a Hacksaw slot with classic retro cartoon stylings, a humorous edge and simple features built around multipliers and free spins. However, we struggled to stay entertained whilst waiting for those free spins to drop – it’s a game that become monotonous very quickly due to its repetive, simple gameplay.

But wait … a peak at the bonus round through bonus buy on the Hacksaw site showed us what we were missing. Thanks to the extended avalanche wins when the Full Moon feature is active, and the two-step format of this bonus, free spins stretched out to an epic 4 minutes 33 seconds with countless cascades, re-triggers and symbol multipliers. It seems that for those patient (and lucky) enough, Fear the Dark could deliver some special moments, its just a shame that we couldn’t get close in our 200 test spins.

Compare Fear The Dark With Similar Slots Picked By Us

Here are more games like Fear The Dark compared on configuration and features. Click through to read a review of each one.

Slot GameProviderThemeMin. StakeMax. RTPVariancePaylinesTop PayoutJackpot
Hacksaw GamingAfrican£0.1096.3%High2010,000xNo
Hacksaw GamingAncient Egypt£0.1096.24%HighCluster Pays10,000xNo
Hacksaw GamingAncient Greece£0.1096.18%High2010,000xNo
Hacksaw GamingAnimals£0.2096.28%Medium262,500xNo
Hacksaw GamingCartoon£0.10%High2010,000xNo
Hacksaw GamingAnimals£0.1096.31%MediumScatter Pays5,000xNo
Hacksaw GamingHistory£0.1096.31%High1010,000xNo
Hacksaw GamingAnimals£0.1096.26%High2010,000xNo

Who Made Fear The Dark?

  • Name: Hacksaw Gaming
  • Established: 2018
  • UK License: 54059
  • Total Games: 50 +
  • Known For: Dark, high variance output and bonus rounds driven by combining multipliers
  • Popular Slots: Hand of Anubis, Itero, Gladiator Legends, Break Bones
Find More Hacksaw Gaming

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