Following in the footsteps of Hacksaw Gaming’s popular Pocketz line of slots, Xpander is a mobile-optimized slot that can be played on any device. You can’t always judge a book by its cover with Hacksaw, and Xpander offers as many ingenious extras as you’d want plus one of the series’ largest maximum payouts. When everything works together, Xpander may be as enjoyable as any other Pocketz game, but on the commute home from work, it can make you want to throw your phone out the window.
Hacksaw Gaming has taken a throwback-meets-futuristic tack with Xpander. The 7×7 panel’s backdrop color and style may be blue or purple, and it may or may not have generic skyscrapers. While Hacksaw may not be best known for their attention to detail, they are experts at getting the most out of their job. But from a visual and auditory perspective, Xpander isn’t their best slot. Perhaps it’s because the grid is filled with symbols that are at odds with the concept, like traditional slot machines and retro fruit machines. There are some similarities to a hybrid of Hop’N’Pop and Cubes 2. The game’s low-key wind chime atmosphere is further rooted in the 1980s by a soothing Synthwave music, which cranks up when things are going swimmingly during free spins.
Despite appearances, the math model/feature combination of Hacksaw games is what makes them so enjoyable to play. If you’re looking for a more challenging mobile gaming experience with the possibility to win real money, then Pocketz slots might be a good alternative to Candy Crush. This translates to a highly speculative game engine in Xpander, with a potential return value of 96.25% (compared to 96.2% when purchasing the feature).
By connecting 5 or more symbols horizontally or vertically anywhere on the grid, players may win using the cluster payouts mechanism. Cherries, lemons, grapes, watermelons, bells, horseshoes, 7s, and diamonds make up the backdrop image, and the Xpander symbols are about as antiseptic as the rest of the interface. Clusters of 15 or more identical symbols provide payouts of 20x to 80x the wager, making this the optimum outcome. The wild card is a blank deck, and it may be used in place of any other symbol (save the scatter that triggers the free spins).
Expander: Extra Ports in Slots
Xpander is a spinoff of Hop’N’Pop, another game that makes use of the Hopper mechanic during both game modes. While the Hopper in Xpander is conceptually similar to the slot, Hacksaw has altered its operation in a few key respects.
The “tumble” option will be discussed first, as it is responsible for clearing the board of all winning clusters. Because of this, it’s possible for new cluster wins to form when fresh symbols fall into the vacant cells. If no new wins have appeared on the grid after a series of tumbles, the next spin will be initiated.
A 2x multiplier icon appears on top of conventional symbols while the Hopper function is active. It starts off as a 1×1 square and shifts locations between rounds of free play or paid spins. A symbol’s reward in a winning cluster is increased by the Hopper’s current value if it sits atop that symbol.
Multiple symbols that boost the Hopper’s multiplier’s size and value also fall into play. When a Double Up sign appears, the multiplier is increased by 1, up to a maximum of x128. Multiple Double Up symbols can appear in a single spin.
The green arrow represents the Grow Symbol, so keep a look out for that. It is gathered once it has landed. The Hopper’s capacity doubles, triples, and quadruples with the collection of three Grow Symbols during a single tumble. Players receive a respin whenever the multiplier increases. In between monetary spins, the Hopper symbol’s size and worth are reset.
The free spins bonus is activated when the player lands at least three free spin symbols during the main game. The multiplier size and value in this case are both fixed at their maximums of x128 and 4×4, respectively, and never revert to their original values. Players begin with 5 free spins and may win an additional free spin for every 1UP symbol they land on during the round.
Instead of waiting for free spins to activate at random, players can opt to purchase them instead. The price tag is 129 times the wager.
Judgment on Xpanding Slots
Hacksaw Gaming didn’t wait long to develop another popular slot based on the Hopper theme after the success of Hop’n’Pop. While similar, Xpander has a feature that Hop’n’Pop and most other slot machines lack. To be specific, a multiplier icon that, as it moves to different locations, increases in size and value. While the Hopper is reminiscent of the multiplying Gargantoon Wild from Reactoonz 2, Xpander’s simpler methodology means that even the coldest cucumber will start to perspire if they try to reach the highest x128 level.
Like Stack ‘Em, you only receive five quick free spins, which contributes to the overall high level of tension. Hacksaw has messed with the arithmetic, thus there were a fair amount of falls throughout the evaluation to stretch out the bonus round. Just wait till the multiplier has increased a few notches before holding your breath. Also, 1UP icons appeared to be rather common. But when it’s not in the mood, Xpander can be as harsh as anything else Hacksaw has made (maybe with the exception of Born Wild).
The activity on the grid while Xpander is active, however, makes up for the game’s lackluster graphics and drowsy soundtrack. Although the 10,000x it offers isn’t as impressive as some of Hacksaw’s other possible slots, I doubt anybody will complain about it. There’s little question that on its day, Xpander can pop with the best of them, especially after seeing footage of previous Hacksaw releases going crazy, like sister slot Hop’n’Pop. Overall, Xpander is a competent game that exemplifies all the features for which the Pocketz brand is renowned.