Shifting Seas Review

From Thunderkick

Shifting Seas is a pirate-themed video slot with 6 reels and up to 117,649 win lines. It’s a high-risk adventure with a 96.15% RTP and 15,000x top payout. Utilising a clever trick of dropping reels from the right and adding bigger ones to the left, Shifting Seas has potential to deliver crazy sequences of progressive action as Cascading Reels, Shifting Reels, Expanding Paylines and Wilds all combine to electric affect!



Name:  Shifting Seas

Developer:  Thunderkick

Paylines:  Up to 117, 649

Reels:  6

Rows:  Up to 7

RTP:  96.15%

Variance:  High

Top Payout:  15,000x

Jackpot:  No

Release Date:  August 2022

Features:  Shift Wins, Expanding Reels, Free Spins, Wild Reels, Multipliers, Free Spins, Avalanche Wins

About This Slot

Thunderkick return to the theme of one of their very first slots – 1429 Unchartered Seas – as they take to the high seas once again, this time on board with a troop of jolly pirates! The pirate slot is not a new phenomenon of course. There are plenty of games of this type, including Quickspin’s Pirate’s Charm, NetEnt’s Hook’s Heroes and Treasure Skyland by Just For The Win. So Thunderkick’s challenge is to build something original in a crowded space. And we think it’s fair to say that they have done just that.

Shifting Seas builds towards a whopping 117,649 paylines during gameplay (yes, Megaways™ fans, that is the same number of lines as you will see on most classic Megaways slots like Bonanza or Twin Spin Megaways™) with a clever trick that we haven’t seen before as events on the grid cause the left most reel to disappear and be replaced by a larger one on the right. It’s expanding reels, a bit like Infinity Reels as well as Megaways, but with a new twist! Everything revolves around this interesting mechanic, and with Avalanches thrown in and plenty of wilds too, Shifting Seas has the potential to become a popular game for fans of the pirate slot.

It’s landing at slot sites in the UK from 10th August, so get ready to don your best pirate hat and sharpen your cutlass!

RTP, Variance and Top Payout

Shifting Seas has an RTP of 96.15%. For an online slot, this is about average payback. Theoretically, that means for every £100 staked in the game would result in £96.15 in payouts, though in reality every spin is random and unique. Meanwhile, the other key setting behind the scenes tells us that this is a high-risk game, with a high volatility rating shown in the game information provided by Thunderkick. So, you can be expecting some long periods of dry spins before hitting pay dirt.

The top payout on offer is 15,000x which is good but far lower than that offered by other high variance games right now. If you are looking for better potential you could try No Limit City’s San Quentin X-Ways (150,000x) or Tombstone RIP (300,000x) for example.

Spins start at 10p per play.

Symbols and Graphics

The action here takes place in an idyllic-looking Caribbean (?) archipelago with little islands with sandy beaches sitting under pale blue skies. The transparent reel set has an original layout too. From left to right the number of rows is 4-4-3-3-2-2, though that will change as the spins start landing, as we will see.

In terms of look and feel this is a classic Thunderkick game from a slot provider who has built a reputation for creating quirky-looking games with a distinct artistic style and original features.

The low value symbols are represented by the cards, Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10 and 9. These pay at 0.5x to 0.8x your bet. There are mid-range symbols represented by the Parrot, the Pirate, the Buccaneer and the Captain set at 1x to 8x for six on a payline. The Treasure Chest is the highest paying icon at 5x.

This is a scatter-pays game with Pirate Ship scatters unlocking the bonus round AND paying up to 5x for six on a line. And finally, there are 3 wilds which have additional properties too as we shall find out – they are Wild Surge (green), Symbol Rush (purple) and Boost Shift (blue).

What We Like

  Original Shift Win feature
  Wild Reels with Multipliers for big wins
  Features combine in win sequences
  3 Wild Variations
  Free Spins re-triggers

What We Don't Like

  Top payout low for high risk slots
  Wins are irregular due to high varaince

Gameplay and Features

So, we are about to explain the gameplay of Shifting Seas. You’ll see its original, clever and should provide some pretty entertaining gameplay. Central to action is the Shift Wijn. Here is how it works:

Shift Wins – After any win the right-most reel drops off the end and a new reels is added to the left. Each new reel is one higher than the last, up to a maximum of 7 rows, giving a maximum of 117,649 paylines.

Avalanche Wins – After each win, as well as the Shift Win occurring, winning symbols are removed from the reels and new ones drop in to replace them. If a new winning combination occurs, the process repeats. Until no more wins land.

Special Wilds – If one of the three wilds appears in a win OR if it is pushed off the grid by a Shift Win, then it is activated and one of the following happens:

  • BoostShift– Same as a Win Shift – lose a reel from the right, add one on the left. BUT this time, the reel added has the same symbols as that of the previous left-most reel.
  • Symbol Rush – between 4 and 8 symbols on the reels are transformed into new, identical ones.
  • Wild Surge – between 1 and 3 symbols are turned Wild.

Free Spins – watch out for the BONUS SYMBOL. When this drops off the reels in a Shift Win situation, then Free Spins are triggered. That gets you 8 spins, with 4 added each time another bonus symbol drops off the reels.

During free spins random WILD REELS may land with 1x multipliers. This is important because each time a Wild Reel drops off the right of the grid, it comes back in on the left, this time with its multiplier increased by 1x. AND another free spins is added!

This is a great feature with potentially huge exponential rewards – imagine 2 or 3 wild reels on the board, each with 2x or 3x multipliers generating more free spins and bigger payouts each time!

Our Verdict

This is another thrilling slot from a game provider that we are very familiar with and whose team, whilst not always on the mark, has still produced some stone-cold classics over the years. They know how to take a classic slots style and do something original with it – just check out their take on 4,096-win ways games, Pink Elephants, for proof of that.

Shifting Seas contains many changing elements, but everything starts with the Shift Wins, the rolling reel formation that all other features interact with. In testing we found that whilst this is a high risk game, and therefore not built to pay out regularly, there were still lots of events happening on the reels with most spins. The trick is to get a run of progressive events that accumulate win potential – more 7 row reels, giving more win lines, mixed with plenty of Avalanche action, and Wild Reels with 3x or more multipliers. In those scenarios, Shifting Seas could be a real joy ride, with the potential to deliver the kind of win sequences that drive your adrenaline rush!

This game will suit Megaways™ fans who have become tired of that ubiqitious game model but still want an Expanding Reels-style game. It will also suit any fan of high risk games that enjoys the sugar-rush of feature combinations.