San Quentin xWays

San Quentin xWays Slot Review

Slot Provider: Nolimit City

RTP: 96.03% | Variance: High | Maximum Win: 150,000x

Our Score: 9.6

Play at Casumo Casino

WHY YOU CAN TRUST THIS REVIEW: The information and opinions on this page are the result of an comprehensive process of information gathering and live game testing by the gambling experts who work at Find out more here.

About San Quentin xWays

Reviewed by:

Published Date: 1st July 2021

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.

Nolimit City’s rise to fame has been swift and built on a series of quite astonishingly good high risk slots that blazed a trail through online slot sites in 2020, leaving many breathless in their wake. Games like the excellent Tombstone, Punk Rocker, and recent El Paso Gunfight xNudge have showcased this Australian studios fabulous skills at building eye-catching slots with slick graphics and animations backed up by original gameplay and record-breaking top payouts.

So, heading into 2021 we were excited to get our hands on San Quentin xWays, a new slot release that sets itself in the blistering heat of the prison yard of one of the USA’s most infamous jails, home to vicious felons. So it’s no wonder San Quentin xWays slot has a dangerous vibe, immersing players in the atmosphere of California’s most-feared maximum-security prison. The dramatic backdrop is helped along by the menacing inmates on the reels, the heavy metal and rap music interludes during the sensational Lockdown Spins round where you can hit some titanic wins.

As you enter the world of San Quentin, you are met with the guard towers and barbed wire on top of the prison walls, but during Lockdown Free Spins, the background switches to become an exercise yard, complete with basketball hoop and prisoners cheering on the action. Meanwhile, there are also some caged extra reel positions, which can open up drop more features onto the reels as the game progresses.


In this video we tested San Quentin xWays at Casumo with a 20p real money stake. Highlights include TWO Lockdown Spins feature bonus rounds, including one with an £84.26 win from a 20p stake! The round starts at about the 2 minutes 45 seconds mark.

San Quentin xWays Game Information

  • RTP: 96.03%, 94.11%
  • Variance: High
  • Maximum Win: 150,000x
  • Progressive Jackpot: No
  • Reels: 5
  • Rows: 3+
  • Paylines: 243
  • Minimum Stake: £0.20
  • Theme: Action and Adventure
  • Features: Enhancer Cells, Lockdown Spins, Multipliers, Free Spins, Feature Buy, Wilds

What We Liked

  • Stylish prison theme with top soundtrack
  • Massive 150,000x stake top prize
  • Splitting cells increase paylines
  • Symbol stacks
  • Walking, multiplier wilds

What We Didn't like

  • Theme can be slightly gruesome
  • Too volatile for some

San Quentin xWays Review Scores

  • Theme and Design 10
  • RTP and Variance 8
  • Maximum Win 10
  • Symbols and Paytable 10
  • Features and Gameplay 10

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.

In San Quenin xWays there are 243 ways to win with 5 reels and varying rows of symbols. One of the key features is the Split Cells which can double the number of icons on any reel, pushing the number of paylines in play up significantly.

The RTP here is 96.03%, whilst the minimum bet is 20p and the volatility rating is (of course) extreme. You can expect a hairy ride on these reels, so a good bankroll is preferable before you risk a trip to San Quentin – the wins will be uneven and it is possible to sit through a frustrating sessions of play before anything of any note happens. However, the payoff is that the maximum potential payout of 150,000x is truly fantastic – certainly one of the best you’ll find on a non-progressive slot.

The question is whether that potential payoff is worth the vicious volatility – that is up to you!

Symbols and Paytable

Our Score 10

The symbols in San Quentin xWays include 5 inmates – Crazy Joe, Biker Bill, Loco Luis, Heinrich 3rd and Beefy Dick – along with soap, lighter, razor blade and screwdriver, hand cuffs and loo roll. Gold Sherriff badges are Wild symbols and guard towers are the Scatters.

The prisoners pay from 2.5x to 5x stake for 5 of a kind and the other symbols award from 1.5x to 2x stake for 5 matches. The Sherriff badge Wilds come in 2 varieties: the regular Wild, substituting for the other symbols in the game, and the Split Wild, which splits the symbols above and below to create more ways to win. Guard tower Scatters can launch the Lockdown Spins.

If you manage to win the maximum 150,000x stake, you’ll trigger the Psycho Manhunt feature and a voice announces that a killer has escaped the mental infirmary!

Features and Gameplay

Our Score 10

Where San Quentin xWays comes into its own is in the features which, like their trademark xNudges, are all carefully thought through and executed to produce some exhilarating moments. One of the best things we like about this slot is the way that each one is built around the theme of the game. This is how they all work:

Enhancer Cells

The caged Enhancer Cells run along the top and bottom of the reels. When randomly triggered, they can reveal high-paying symbols, Wilds, Razor Split or xWays symbols. The Razor Split splits all the symbols into 2, while landing Razor Split symbols at the top and bottom of the reels will split them twice. The xWays symbol will create Stacked Symbols for more ways to win.

Lockdown Spins

Landing at least 3 Scatters will trigger Lockdown Spins with up to 3 Jumping Wilds. The Enhancer Cells can add extra Wilds, while more Scatters will trigger additional Free Spins. You’ll also receive a Multiplier, which will be revealed in the Enhancer Cells. This can be doubled if it lands on a Split Symbol, resulting in a Multiplier of up to 512x – though this multiplies the number of Wilds in the position, rather than multiplying your payout.

Feature Buy

If you like the look of the bonus features, you don’t have to wait to trigger them from the base game – you can splash the cash and buy a bonus feature. Lockdown Spins can be bought for 100x, 400x or 2,000x, depending on whether you want 3, 4 or 5 Jumping Wilds. The biggest payouts will arrive from 5 Jumping Wilds, boosting your RTP to the max 96.95% and bringing that 150,000x stake top payout a step closer!

The Final Verdict

Since it’s release San Quentin xWays has become one of Nolimit City’s biggest games. And spending some time spinning the reels, it’s not hard to see why. It is, of course, massively volatile. It also boasts some complex but really rewarding bonus features and an involving theme. The prison setting might sound grim, after all, we’re talking about one of the USA’s most notorious institutions with California’s only death row facility and the imagery gets a bit raw when you hit higher payouts, including black and white photos of a grinning convict in a straight-jacket. However, Nolimit City manages to inject enough humour and style to carry the potentially macabre theme into entertaining territory. The design is top notch but the best part of the game is the incredible 150,000x stake top prize, which is the best out there for a non-jackpot slot. In short, that amount of swag is surely worth a few days in ‘the hole’!

Who Made San Quentin xWays?

  • Name: Nolimit City
  • Established: 2016
  • UK License: Remote 052097-R-329532-005
  • Total Games: 50 +
  • Known For: Super high variance, super high maximum wins, adult themes, irreverent humour
  • Popular Slots: San Quentin xWays, Mental, Book of Shadows, Tombstone RIP
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