Santa’s Stack Review

From Relax Gaming

Santa’s Stack is an original, high risk, super-fun Christmas slot from Relax Gaming with a Cluster Pays mechanic, two simple but slick features and bags of potential. The action plays on an 8x8 grid with festive, retro 8-bit graphics including Santa, Rudolph and snow-topped Christmas trees. Wilds, Free Spins, Mystery Symbols and Respins drive payouts up to a massive of 20,000x stake!

OUR RATING:

Score
9.0

Name:  Santa’s Stack

Developer:  Relax Gaming

Paylines:  Cluster Pays

Reels:  8

Rows:  8

RTP:  96.27%

Variance:  High

Top Payout:  20,000x

Jackpot:  

Release Date:  

Features:  

About This Slot

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again when every developer is rolling out the festive slots with a mixed bag of results. It is unusual to find a game that builds on an original engine and maths model – most of these Xmas treats are simply re-works of existing games. And why not? Studios are reluctant to invest resource into games that are only played for a few weeks of the year. Fortunately for us, this time around Relax Gaming have chosen to buck that trend by releasing a true original Cluster Pays grid game with a super-fun retro design and some of the best high risk gaming we’ve yet seen in an Xmas game.

Indeed, Santa’s Stack is full of the fun of Christmas with a festive atmosphere invoked in the snowy street background. As mentioned, the imagery has an 8-bit computer graphic feel, making it look attractively retro, if a little low budget. Think Flame Busters by Thunderkick and you’ll know what we’re talking about. Overall the approach works especially well with the 8×8 grid layout, which lends itself to simpler imagery to avoid looking too cluttered.

Those familiar with gird slots will know that the Cluster Pays mechanic means you need to find at least 5 matching symbols in a cluster instead of on a payline with Santa himself the symbol to watch for the biggest wins. This one is live at all the best UK slot sites from December 2021.

RTP, Variance and Top Payout

The first point to mention here is that Santa is no push over in this game – don’t expect the gifts to come flying off the sled too often. This is one seriously volatile slot with the potential to frustrate – expect plenty of sessions with little or no return before hitting any of those big wins. The RTP is set at 96.27% but can rise to 97% if you take advantage of the Bonus Buy feature outside the UK. Overall, the 10p minimum bet means that the game is playable despite its ruthless maths model and we recommend starting at a low stake to ensure you budges stretches through the lean spells.

The maximum payout is set at 20,000x stake and is yours if you manage to fill the grid with Santa symbols while activating the 2x Multiplier.

Symbols and Graphics

Like all good Relax Gaming slots, the graphics here are first class. The symbols in Santa’s Stack are all festive in theme and include Santa, Santa’s wife, elves, reindeer and colourful Christmas lights. The top payout comes from Santa with 60 tiles filled awarding 10,000x your bet. The second-best symbol here is Santa’s wife who can award up to 4,000x your bet, followed by the elf who awards up to 3,000x your bet and Rudolph the reindeer who can pay up to 2,000x your bet. The Christmas lights can pay from 750x to 1,250x your bet for 60 symbols.

Meanwhile, useful Wild symbols can substitute for the other icons in the game, whilst also helping to trigger the Respin feature.

What We Like

  An original Xmas Slot format
  Secret Santa Respins
  Massive 20,000x top payout
  Free spins with multipliers
  Cool retro vibe

What We Don't Like

  Too volatile for some

Gameplay and Features

Santa’s Stack is not a feature-packed game but it doesn’t need to be. The Cluster Pays mechanic and clever use of Mystery Symbols means the gameplay is interesting at all times, even in the dryer spells. And of course, with handy multipliers, there is the potential to win really big too!

Cluster Pays

This is standard grid slot stuff. You need to land at least 5 matching symbols on adjacent positions in a cluster to receive a payout. The highest paying cluster needs 60 symbols with Santa the best combination in the game.

Secret Santa Respins

When a Wild symbols lands as part of a winning cluster, you will receive a Respin. The winning symbols convert into mystery symbols and remain held in place for the Respin. If a new win occurs sitting adjacent to the mystery symbols, the symbols also convert and you’ll get another Respin. This continues until no new winning clusters occur adjacent to winning clusters or no new wins occur featuring a Wild.

Free Spins

Landing at least 3 bonus symbols will trigger the Free Spins round. You receive 5 Free Spins plus extra spins for extra bonus symbols. Wild symbols are guaranteed to land on each Free Spin, which can trigger the Secret Santa Respins. The number of Wilds increase on every Free Spin. Plus, landing more bonus symbols during the round will award an extra Free Spin, a 1+ Multiplier – or both!

Bonus Buy

You can buy guaranteed Free Spins for a cost of 100x your bet. This will increase the RTP to 97%. This feature is NOT available in the UK.

Our Verdict

Santa’s Stack is a nostalgic slot with a retro feel that ties in perfectly with Christmas, and we give bonus points to Relax for producing something truly original in both design and gameplay at this time of the year. The format is simple with the 8×8 grid and Cluster Pays but the extra features drive things along nicely and give you some serious potential to aim for. And all against the backdrop of a   peaceful scene with snow falling at dusk onto a deserted street lit up by colourful Christmas lights.

In terms of the maths, it’s great to see high-paying regular symbols with Santa awarding up to 10,000x your bet for a screen filled with the bearded guy. The best chance of hitting the bigger payouts, which are capped at 20,000x your bet, comes with the free spins and you’ll want to find the Multipliers while hitting lots of Santa symbols on the reels to reach this.

A word of warning though – be prepared for the massive volatility, which can become a plod when there are many losing spins in a row. If you can put up with that and you enjoy festive slots and retro graphics, Santa’s Stack will definitely appeal. In fact, we suspect we might see this game format appear on standard, non-festive slot in the future too.

Good luck!

Useful Resources

Relax Gaming Slots List and Profile Pages

Useful Guide to Slots Variance