About This Slot
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.
RTP, Variance and Top Payout
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 Graphics
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!
What We Like
Stylish prison theme with top soundtrack
Massive 150,000x stake top prize
Splitting cells increase paylines
Walking, multiplier wilds
What We Don't Like
Theme can be slightly gruesome
Too volatile for some
Gameplay and Features
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:
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.
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.
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!
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’!