Ah, Hacksaw Gaming, I have so many questions. Who is Gronk? And what is so special about his gems? I think that the developers must have predicted our curiosity here, as the first paragraph of the paytable immediately begins to explain. “They have a cave troll!” it reads - a statement which raises more questions than answers – before introducing our beefy-yet-friendly gem-hoarding cave troll friend: Gronk! Assuming that we are talking about the giant guy standing on the left of the main reel set, I’m not entirely sure just how friendly this guy is; he certainly is on the large side. Gronk’s Gems is a 6x6 grid slot sporting a 96.24% RTP (up to 96.38% when using the bonus buy facility) and has a 7,500x maximum jackpot.
New grid slots have been pouring in rapidly over the past few weeks here at Demoslot, but I was especially excited to try this one. Why? Because Hacksaw is one of the most innovative developers producing slots right now, with a strong reputation for spicing up whatever type or genre of game they try their hand at! Whenever a winning combination is removed from the grid in this game, it will cause the winning symbol to enter a charged state. These “charged” symbols can be activated by landing an epic gem, causing them to transform into the game's highest-paying symbol. The base game has plenty going in already, but the biggest wins are locked away in the Gem Hoarder and Gronk’s Treasure free spin features – more on those later.
If you are ready to meet Gronk, let me give you one piece of advice… this guy is absolutely massive, don’t try and rob him for his gems! With that out of the way, go right ahead and load up our free demo slot of Gronk’s Gems; just don’t say I didn’t warn you!
I probably shouldn’t poke so much fun at Hacksaw over their original character, as he’s certainly much more interesting than yet another Christmas or candy-themed online slot! I wasn’t joking when I said he was enormous though, and the more I look at him, the more I can’t help but think I’ve seen him somewhere before. Maybe it's just my mind playing tricks on me from other games we've reviewed here in the past with similar themes, like The Trolls Treasure or Relax Gaming's Trolls Gold. Either way, I'm suffering from a severe case of deja vu.
Okay, it’s time to get serious now! As this is a grid slot, I will list the payouts for the maximum cluster size of 36 or more symbols and the rewards for smaller clusters of 26-30 or 17-20 adjacent matching symbols. The most valuable red gem will pay 1,500x/400x/200x your bet for clusters of those sizes. Those are all attractive prizes, so it should be no surprise that the red gems do not frequently appear. The star-shaped gem pays 500x/200x/100x, whilst the purple gem is where things start to become slightly more reasonable with returns of 400x/150x/70x. The blue gem steps it down further to 300x/100x/50x for the same cluster sizes (36/26-30/17-20), after which you get on to the smaller gems, which have much lower returns.
Those are some big multiples being shown on the paytable for Gronk’s Gems, although it's worth keeping in mind the 7,500x jackpot cap mentioned earlier when you are daydreaming about the potential of those beautiful gems! If you are playing at the minimum bet of €0.10 per spin, then 7,500x your bet may not excite you too much at the maximum wager of €100.00 per round; however, I suspect your opinion may change slightly. All you need now is the bankroll required to play at such ludicrous stakes!
base game & modifiers
Cronk's Gems slot base game
There’s plenty of fun to be had in the base game of Gronk’s Gems (if the tone of this review hasn’t tipped you off already). The action takes place on a 6x6 playfield, resulting in 36 unique positions where the symbols can land. This means that you need to hit an entire screen of matching symbols to score the biggest wins available in the game.
That may sound like an impossible task, but Hacksaw has included a couple of interesting and unique features which ought to assist you in reaching this goal:
All symbols of the same type as those forming a winning cluster will become charged at the moment the winning cluster is removed from the reels. You can keep an eye on which symbols are currently charged via the “charge bar”, which is displayed above the playfield.
Your charged symbols aren’t particularly useful on their own – what you need is a trigger! That trigger comes in the form of a so-called “Epic Gem”, a 2x2 symbol which can only drop into view as part of the cascade which follows the removal of a winning symbol cluster.
The Epic Gem will wait quietly until all winning clusters have been evaluated to ensure that there are as many charged symbols on the grid as possible. After this, the Epic Gem will activate, causing all charged symbols to transform into the highest-paying red gem symbol.
Better yet, all the charged symbols affected by an Epic Gem will become scatter-pays after their transformation. If you have two or more distinct clusters of winning symbols in opposite corners of the screen, they will all be evaluated as if they were a single standalone group.
The Epic Gem will explode after your winnings have been paid, creating a fresh opportunity for winning combinations to drop in from the top of the screen. They weren’t joking when they said it was epic, were they?
gronk's gems slot bonus features
Cronk's Gems bonus feature
Hacksaw has included two unique bonus rounds in Gronk’s Gems, but they are both free spin-based features under the hood. The bonus buy facility gives us a clue as to which is the most generous of the pair, as the Gronk’s Treasure feature costs close to 50% of the price of the more valuable Gem Hoarder feature.
Cronk's treasure feature
This feature is a typical free spin bonus round, awarding 10 free spins for hitting three Gronk’s head scatter symbols during the base game. The charged symbol mechanic is still active in this mode, and the Epic Gem will drop much more frequently whilst Gronk’s Treasure is in play.
gem hoarder Feature
Here’s the biggie! You’ll need to catch three different gem bag scatter symbols to trigger the Gem Hoarder feature, initially awarding five “refillable” free spins. The refillable part refers to the fact that hitting three more gem bag scatters while the feature is in play will top your remaining spin counter back up to five, similar to how the more common three-spin bonus round works.
I’m not quite sure how things work here, as I managed to re-trigger this feature at least once every time I reached it while testing this game. A re-trigger is extremely valuable in this feature too, as it also includes an ascending multiplier which is retained between spins for the duration of the feature.
The most interesting part of this bonus round is how you increase that multiplier. For everywinning symbolremoved from the playfield, your current multiplier is increased by 1x. This allows you to reach some truly insane multiplier counts, but there is a major caveat, unfortunately, as the multiplier is only applied to winning clusters that intersect with at least one of the special “X-Gem” symbols that only appear in this game mode.
Three options are included as part of the bonus buy facility offered in Gronk’s Gems. The first option costs just 3x the normal price per spin and is effectively a bonus bet which increases your odds of hitting one of the game's two main features by 500%.
The two main features are also available to purchase at the cost of 110x the bet for Gronk’s Treasure or 200x for Gem Hoarder. I’m pretty weary about stating that the 200x cost of the Gem Hoarder bonus is a “bargain” as I really don’t want bonus buy features to get to the stage where 200x is considered an average or reasonable price to pay.
At the same time, however, my results whilst testing this game do suggest that the price of 200x is a bargain, but I say that with the all-important reminder to only ever gamble what you can afford to lose.
gronk's gems slot review final thoughts
This is a fantastic grid slot that really shows off just how in-tune the guys at Hacksaw are with the people that they create for. Gronk’s Gems takes the grid slot genre and gives it a major shakeup by combining first-rate presentation with some great wins and a unique feature set.
The only downside must be the winnings cap of 7,500x your bet, as I can see more than a few players running up against this limit after a lucky session of the Gem Hoarder bonus round. Aside from this one issue, I can’t fault what Hacksaw has produced in Gronk’s Gems.