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Hazakura Ways [Relax Gaming]


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Title: Hazakura Ways
Developer: Relax Gaming
Reels: 6
Rows: 4
Paylines: 4,096
RTP: 96.37%
Hit Freq: N/A
Free Spins Freq: N/A
Max Win: 50,000x
Max Win Probability: N/A
Volatility: High
Min/Max Bet: 0.15/30
Release Date: January 25, 2022


Now playinghttps://k8.io/games/slots/rlx_hazakuraways



Hazakura Ways: Slot Overview


It's always interesting to learn the various ways different cultures name things that might not even make ripples on the consciousness of others. Much focus is given in Japanese culture to the cherry blossom phenomenon, and if you've played games like Sakura Fortune or Sakura Fortune 2, you'll probably be well aware. Following in this tradition is Hazakura Ways from provider Relax Gaming. In this example, the word 'hazakura' refers to the time when cherry blossoms have dropped their flowers and new leaves are starting to spring up. Into this harmonious part of the growth cycle, players are dropped, amidst feature offshoots such as expanding symbols, free spins, and a couple of extra betting options.




The flowers haven't really begun to drop in Hazakura Ways as the game grid is framed by a structure covered in them. Like Plunderland, which was made available to us around the same time, Hazakura Ways displays a less exciting side of Relax Gaming from an aesthetic point of view, it has to be said. At first, it's easy to get caught up in the game's zen-like nature, like a stroll through a Japanese landscaped garden, admiring the way everything has been laid out just so. However, it doesn't take too many spins to realise that Hazakura Ways is as business-minded as anything else Relax has done. It's just got more flowers than usual covering the fact.

Hazakura Ways might be a rather weak game on the outside, but underneath, it's as wild as it gets from Relax Gaming. Massive potential is paired with a highly volatile math model that swung wildly during our test sessions. From bonus buys which went nowhere, ending up crushed underfoot like a discarded cherry blossom, to other more satisfying outcomes, gear up for an unpredictable ride. RTP is dependable, starting with a standard value of 96.37%, rising to 97% when buying free spins. Stake range isn't huge, which is expected being such a potent slot, where options vary from 20 p/c to £/€20.




Played on a 6-reel, 4-row game grid, wins happen when matching symbols line up left to right from reel one, regardless of position. This method provides 4,096 ways to win and is critical when combined with the expanded symbol feature. Inspecting the paytable, we find low pay versions of diamonds, clubs, spades, hearts, and stars worth 1-2x the bet for six, then swords, dagger pendants, a sensei looking guy, and a female heroine, furthering the Sakura Fortune-ish feel. Landing six matching premium symbols results in a payout worth 3 to 50 times your stake. A blooming, almost magical looking cherry blossom is the wild symbol, substituting all other symbols except the scatter.



Hazakura Ways: Slot Features




To sum up the features, there's a The Falcon Huntress thing going on, but it's not a copy by any means. Free spins and a random base game feature are where symbol expansions come into play, and these are joined by two betting options – where available.


Random Feature
At the start of any main game spin, one pay symbol may randomly be selected to be a special symbol. Any special symbols landing on that spin expand downwards, filling the remaining positions and paying out no matter what reel they are on.




Free Spins
Landing 3, 4, 5, or 6 lantern scatters awards 10, 15, 20, or 25 free spins. Before free spins start, one pay symbol is randomly chosen to be the special symbol for the bonus game's full duration. Like the previous feature, when the chosen symbol hits, it expands downwards to cover all positions and pays from any reel. Landing 3 or more scatters in the feature awards additional free spins.




Mega Bet
Activating the Mega Bet increases the regular stake by 50%. In return, it also increases the chance of triggering free spins and the random feature. It also means that wild symbols expand to cover their reel as well whenever the chosen symbol expands.




Buy Bonus
Lastly, if you're done being zen in the base game, dishing out 80x the stake gains you instant access to free spins. This can be done with the Mega Bet on or off, so the cheaper option is regular free spins. The more expensive option is with expanding wild symbols.





Hazakura Ways: Slot Verdict


Hazakura Ways is another slot from Relax Gaming packing the sort of features that can ignite under the right conditions. The tricky part was deciding whether to go for the Mega Bet, buy the bonus round or chance it in normal mode. Having both wilds and regular symbols expanding might feel like a no-brainer, but wild symbols were a relatively rare occurrence during testing, so they weren't as useful as originally anticipated. Naturally, there were times when wilds came in handy, especially since expanding symbols pay from any reel position. Then there are other times when the Mega Bet is deactivated and a wild hits amongst a bunch of chosen symbols, leaving you counting all the coins you missed out on. So, it goes.


Free spins combine the anywhere paying style of Book of Ra with an added sudoku-like element of complexity. Obviously, there are a ton more ways to win here than in a regular 'book' slot, and it's easy to get caught up in calculating the what-ifs. However, Hazakura Ways was as tough a nut to crack as any high volatile, high reward Relax Gaming slot. Wilds could be rare, chosen symbols often landed in lower positions, thereby reducing their expanding capabilities, or they simply chose not to land much at all. Yet, unicorn spins are here to be had, and expanding symbols can really do a number with all those extra ways. So much so, Relax Gaming has capped Hazakura Ways' max win at 50,000x the bet. The bonus round that cracks the cap is sure to be an expansion bonanza.

Though visually underwhelming, once again the Relax Gaming team has crafted a compelling, well-built slot. Hazakura Ways has more nods to other games than usual from Relax, but the end result is another unique machine for exasperating and/or rewarding players.



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