Shifting Seas

Shifting Seas Slot Review

Slot Provider: Thunderkick

RTP: 96.15% | Variance: High | Maximum Win: 15,000x

Our Score: 8.6

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About Shifting Seas

Reviewed by:

Published Date: 4th August 2022

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.

Shifting Seas is an exciting high variance pirate slot from Thunderkick with fun and sophisticated gameplay. Shift Wins cause the reels to expand to the left with every win, whilst Avalanche Wins refresh the reels, potentially triggering further wins. This repeating process can bring up to 117,649 paylines into play. In addition, Boost Shifts clone a reel, Wild Surges add extra wilds at random and Symbol Rushes cause lines of identical symbols to appear randomly on the grid. There is also a bonus round with Wild Reels and Progressive Multipliers.

The maximum win in Shifting Seas is 15,000x and spins start from 10p.

Shifting Seas Game Information

  • Release Date: August 2022
  • RTP: 96.15%, 94%, 92%, 90%
  • Variance: High
  • Maximum Win: 15,000x
  • Progressive Jackpot: No
  • Reels: 6
  • Rows: Up to 7
  • Paylines: Up to 117, 649
  • Minimum Stake: £0.10
  • Theme: Pirates
  • Features: Shift Wins, Expanding Reels, Free Spins, Wild Reels, Multipliers, Free Spins, Avalanche Wins

What We Liked

  • 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 Didn't like

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

Shifting Seas Review Scores

  • Theme and Design 10
  • RTP and Variance 8
  • Maximum Win 9
  • Symbols and Paytable 9
  • Features and Gameplay 9

What Our Reviewer Says ...

"An innovative slot with an original take on expanding reels and potential to deliver stunning win sequences with combining features!"

Overall Score: 8.6

Theme & Design

Our Score 10

Shifting Seas is a great looking game. It is set in an idyllic-looking archipelago with little islands with sandy beaches sitting under pale blue skies. There is a pirate theme here with treasure chests, girls in pirates hats, ship mates, old sea dogs and cutlasses represented on the reels too. There is a lot of important animation in the game as well as the reel set expands and shrinks and it is all very well executed with slick movement and smooth edges.

Shifting Seas by Thunderkick
Shifting Seas has an idyllic Caribbean setting

In terms of overall artistic style this is a classic Thunderkick game and easy to spot if you are a fan of theirs. They are well-known for quirky-looking games with a distinct artistic style and original features and that is exactly what you get here.

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.

Shifting Seas has four RTP settings – 96.15%, 94%, 92% or 90%. The optimum level of 96.15% is good value, but the lower levels are to be avoided. We verified the RTP at 5 well known UK casinos. This is what we found:

We recommend you play at Casumo or MrQ where the optimum RTP setting has been chosen by the operator. This will give you the best chance of positive return for your wagering.

Shifting Seas is also a high variance slot like most of Thunderkick’s best games. It can be unpredictable but there is room for some big payouts in the free spins round.

Maximum Win

Our Score 9

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 top payout in Shifting Seas is 15,000x which is higher than most other Thunderkick games. It means for a £1 bet you can win up to £15,000. If you like that kind of potential you should also check out our list of the highest max win slots.

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
Cursed SeasHacksaw Gaming96.22%High12,500xPlay Here
Beast BelowHacksaw Gaming96.29%High10,000xPlay Here
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Wild Falls 2Play n Go96.2%High15,000xPlay Here
HyperburstYggdrasil Gaming96.2%High12,800xPlay Here

Symbols and Paytable

Our Score 9

Shifting Sands has an unusual and interesting reel and pay model.

To start, the 6 reels are set up with rows of 4-4-3-3-2-2. On each spin, wins are scored by landing 3 or more identical symbols on adjacent reels, regardless of their position.

As we shall see, with successive wins, the reel set expands to the left, adding more reels with more rows and expanding the number of paylines until it reaches the magic 117,649.

Shifting Seas Paytable
Paytable for Shifting Seas

The values in the paytable are not all that high, but you can score big wins when more paylines are in pay and when multiple wilds and other features come into play. 

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.

There are also 3 wilds which substitute for all other symbols to form wins and have additional properties too – they are Wild Surge (green), Symbol Rush (purple) and Boost Shift (blue).

And then there is the Pirate Ship scatter which unlocks the bonus round AND pays up to 5x for 6 on a line.

Features and Gameplay

Our Score 9

Every Win Triggers an Avalanche and Bigger Reels

Shifting Seas is all about the expanding reels and avalanche wins combining.

First, every win is an Avalanche Win. Here, 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.

At the same time, with Shift Wins, the right-most reel drops off the end and a new reel is added to the left. Each new reel is one higher than the last, up to a maximum of 7 rows high.

Once all 6 reels are 7 rows high you have 117,649 paylines.

Shifting Seas Fully Expanded Reels
Reels can fully expand to 7 rows high to create 117,649 paylines

Wilds Have Special Powers

Wilds are super-important here too. Outside of free spins they are your best ticket to bigger wins and I got some tasty payouts with these extra features.

First, 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 three events occurs.

In a Boost Shift, the reel added to the left side of the reel set will clone the previous left most reel to give you more chance of completing lines.

In Symbol Rush, between 4 and 8 symbols on the reels are transformed into new, identical ones.

And in Wild Surge, between 1 and 3 symbols on the reels are turned Wild.

Wild Surge in Shifting Seas
In Wild Surge 1 to 3 Wilds Are Added at Random

Free Spins With Wild Reels and Progressive Multipliers

I love the free spins round in Shifting Seas. Its clever and builds beautifully with a combination of re-triggers, reel expansions and progressive multipliers for the chance to really kick out some big payouts.

To start, you’ll need to find a BONUS SYMBOL on the reels. If you do, and it drops off in a Shift Win situation, that’s your Free Spins trigger.

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!

Now, imagine 2 or 3 wild reels on the board, each with 2x or 3x multipliers generating more free spins and bigger payouts each time! That’s to dream of …

The Final 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. As testing shows, you don’t need to hit the bonus round to have fun because there are 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 match the best high volatilty slots out there.

Indeed, this game may best 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.

Compare Shifting Seas With Similar Slots Picked By Us

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

Slot GameProviderThemeMin. StakeMax. RTPVariancePaylinesTop PayoutJackpot
NetEntGems£0.1096.1%Medium99, 22510,000xNo
Red TigerPirates£0.1096%HighUp to 200, 70410,489xNo
Big Time GamingPirates£0.2096.23%HighUp to 117, 649104,400xNo
Pragmatic PlayMagic£0.2096.09%HIghUp To 117, 64940,000xNo
Blueprint GamingWildlife£0.4096%High4,09610,000xNo
Yggdrasil Gaming£0.1096.2%2512,800xNo

Who Made Shifting Seas?

  • Name: Thunderkick
  • Established: 2012
  • UK License: 40165
  • Total Games: 55
  • Known For: Quirky, eccentric slots with fun features and distinctive designs
  • Popular Slots: Pink Elephants 1 and 2, Flame Busters, Birds on a Wire
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