Hacksaw Gaming look to continue their popular mobile-focused Pocketz series with their newest Hoppers slot, Xpander.
At first glance, this new slot looks like something rather generic, and something that might be akin to their previous release, Hop ‘N’ Pop, but closer examination shows that Xpander has a trick or two up its sleeve to differentiate it from others in the Hacksaw library.

Thus far, Hacksaw Gaming slots have portrayed themselves as a group of games that can give all or nothing. Because of this, opinions will be clearly divided on how they’re regarded. Some regard the likes of Chaos Crew as a god-tier slot and some see it as a cruel and unforgiving money sink. Whatever your opinion on the volatility of these slots, you can’t deny that they have potential.

Let’s delve right into the world of Xpander to see how it stacks up compared to other incredible Hacksaw Gaming slots

Xpander Slot Base

Xpander Slot Theme

The theme for Xpander is actually quite relaxing, with a slow electronic/synth soundtrack and a still and picturesque cityscape background. Some slots from Hacksaw Gaming have succeeded in bringing a unique and gripping theme to the table, while others fail to impress.

Xpander definitely doesn’t stand out too much, especially given the classic fruity symbols on the reel, but it does the job of delivering a crisp and professionally detailed slot.

Xpander: Betting and Symbols

You’ll find a swathe of betting options with Xpander, just like you would with other Hacksaw Gaming slots. The lowest option here starts from £/€0.20 per spin, and the highest option is a whopping £/€100 per spin. There are plenty of different options in between, meaning that Xpander caters to players of all kinds.

When it comes to the symbols, Hacksaw Gaming have opted for a more classic design. Diamond, 7, Horseshoe and Bell are the top-paying symbols, and Watermelon, Grape, Lemon and Cherry are the lower-paying symbols. There is also a Wild Symbol. This substitutes for all symbols except for the Scatter Symbol.

Hacksaw Gaming tends to do something rather unusual with the symbol hierarchy in their slots. The Diamond Symbol stands as the highest paying symbol, but the other high paying symbols are all of equal value. The same can be said for the low paying symbols, which are also identical in their payout potential.

Game Provider Hacksaw Gaming
Maximum Bet 100
Maximum Win 10,000x
Paylines Cluster Pays
Release Date 28/07/2021
RTP 96.25% - 96.20%
Mechanics Pocketz Slot
Volatility Low
Reels 7x7
Minimum Bet 0.2

Xpander: The Base Game and Features

Xpander is a 7×7 grid slot and to win you’ll need to connect at least 5 symbols within a cluster. Winning clusters must connect horizontally and/or vertically, and winning clusters will disappear when formed to make room for new symbols to fall in via a cascade, which creates the opportunity for more winning combos.

Xpander is a hoppers slot, which we’ve seen before in slots like Hop ‘N’ Pop. You will see a multiplier overlaid on a random position on the reel, and between each spin, it will hop to a new position.

If the multiplier overlaps with a winning cluster, then the win value will be multiplier by the multiplier value shown.

The small 1×1 x2 multiplier doesn’t induce much excitement, but this can change dramatically with the help of some of the modifiers.

Xpander Slot Base Game

Double Up Symbols

Double Up Symbols serve to double the current multiplier value up to a maximum of 128x. Multiple of these may land at the same time, and the multiplier will increase regardless of the position of the Double Up Symbols.

The excitement that ensues when the Double Up Symbols start showing up makes Xpander infinitely more exciting than it first seemed, but a 1×1 space can’t do much on its own, which is where the Grow Symbols come in

Grow Symbols

Above the reels and under the slot logo you’ll see 3 ‘x’ spaces.

Collecting 3 of these will grow the size of the multiplier box. You’ll start at 1×1, but it has the possibility to grow to a 2×2, 3×3 and 4×4 as you continue to collect the Grow Symbols. A respin is also awarded once the size grows larger, giving you a chance to hit with your new and improved set-up.

An ideal situation for big winnings is huge multipliers and big areas of effect via the Grow Symbols. 128x with a large 4×4 box would be magical, but it doesn’t come easily. You’ll have much more chance of making such a dreamy set-up reality within the Free Spins round

Xpander Free Spins

At least 3 Scatters are needed to trigger the Free Spins in Xpander.

The concept here is pretty much the same, except that the multiplier value and the size of the multiplier box persist for the remainder of the round.

5 Free Spins are awarded initially, but 1UP symbols now exist on the reels to give you an extra life to keep the momentum going.

Through testing this, it’s clear to see that Xpander is yet another all or nothing slot. Sometimes it did exceedingly well with ample lives, multiplier and multiplier box increases, and sometimes it fell flat with less than exciting figures.

You’ll really need the Double Up, Grow and 1UP symbols to work in harmony here, and if they do then big things may happen.

Xpander Slot Free Spins

Xpander: Bonus Buy

Those who live within jurisdictions that allow it may utilise a bonus buy feature.

This is available for 129x your stake, which seems to be a figure we see regularly from Hacksaw Gaming slots. Anything over 100x could be considered expensive, but the price is definitely reflective of the potential on offer here.

The RTP of Xpander changes to 96.20% if you utilise the Bonus Buy Feature

Xpander Slot Bonus Buy

Xpander Slot: Our Verdict

Xpander builds upon Hop ‘N’ Pop in style with a slot that we think is much better. Both of the games are very similar in some sense, but the Grow Symbol in Xpander makes it so much more exciting.

Once again, the consensus is how unforgiving Xpander may be if it’s not in the mood to payout. We know that the same attribute can be said about just about any Hacksaw Gaming Slot. Chaos Crew is a prime example, as is Hop ‘N’ Pop, Forest Fortune, Cubes 2 and Stack ‘Em. It’s definitely all about risk vs reward, and while some may say that Xpander is yet another wallet drainer, others will say it’s an amazing slot with mind-blowing capabilities.

10,000x is once again the top figure, and 96.25% RTP puts it comfortably above average if you’re concerned about wagering.

Overall, Xpander and its high volatility deserves a place in the Hacksaw library as a thoroughly capable game, but beware of its fierce volatility.