Play Desert Shark on
Desert Shark is a January 2020 slot release from Fantasma Games and powered by Relax Gaming. As the rather paradoxical title suggests, the theme of this game is, erm, some Sharks who apparently swim on the desert floor rather than in the more familiar habitat of in the ocean. The backstory is also an odd one.
The hero of the game is an Arabian Prince, turned poet, turned pirate who has vowed to travel to the end of the earth to forget his lost love. On his way he encounters the mythical ocean of sand and its incumbent sand sharks which is said to stretch to the end of the earth.
This is a highly volatile game which plays on a 5x4 reel set with 40 fixed paylines. With wins of over 16,000x possible this slot's (shark’s) bite is as big as its bark. Beware of its bite though, because the variance is cranked up enough to eat alive even the hardiest of grinders.
The biggest wins come from a free spins round with a plethora of wild features, including wild multipliers, stacked wilds, scattered wilds and swim wilds. There is also money to be made from Swim Wilds in the base game.
Desert Shark comes with an RTP of 96.33% and is available to paly from €0.20 to €50 per spin.
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Design & Symbols
The game takes place between the fiery sand dunes which are rife with regular looking cartoon sharks leaping high over the sandy ‘waves’ or swimming menacingly towards the board with just their fins visible.
To the left of the reels, a pirate ship looks equally menacing with a shark mouth of its very own. The static scene is as bizarre as the game’s name suggests. As is the soundtrack which is (somehow) a combination of typical Arabian music along with a somewhat ominous sea-shanty. Don’t ask me how that works, but it kinda does?
Low value symbols are silver, gold, blue, and red coins. High value symbols are a gold teapot, a bottle of grog, a compass, a camel and the Arabian Prince. The Prince is the highest paying regular symbol, awarding 5x the bet size for 5 on a payline.
The wild is a golden W and is the highest paying symbol of all, paying 7.5x the bet size for 5 of a kind. All regular symbols and the regular wilds come stack on all reels. There is also a ‘swim’ wild which comes in the form of a golden shark. The scatter is a golden sandstorm. Neither the swim wild nor the scatter appear stacked on the reels.
• Swim Swim Feature
• Free Spins with Dynamite Wilds
Swim Swim Feature
2 or more swim wilds landing on different rows activate the Swim Swim feature in the base game. Wherever the sharks land they swim across the board from right to left, spinning each symbol (even scatters and wilds) they pass on their way. The spinning symbols will either land back on their original symbol, or a wild (or, occasionally, a with a multiplier wild) will spin in its place. If one of the symbols is already a wild, then the upgrade can increase its win multiplier by 1x up to a maximum of 9x. More than one Swim Wild can appear on a row. When this happens, the second Swim Wild can upgrade wilds to multiplier wilds, as well as giving you another chance to make upgrade any symbols the first Swim Wild missed. During free spins only one Spin Wild is needed to trigger the Swim Swim feature.
Free Spins with Dynamite Wilds
3 bonus scatters in the base game activates 8 free spins. Between 1 and 6 Dynamite Wilds are randomly placed on reels 1-3 during every free spin. A Swim Wild symbol landing on the reels in the free spins activates all Dynamite Wilds on the same row. When activated, a Dynamite Wild randomly upgrades between 2-6 symbols to wilds. During free spins only one Swim Wild is necessary to activate the Swim Swim feature.
Our Thoughts on Desert Shark
On the whole I enjoyed playing Desert Shark. It is a quirky slot with some novel features; the Swim Swim feature occurs often enough for you to feel you’re not just spinning the reels endlessly waiting for the free spins.
That being said the volatility of this slot does require a lot of spins for a chance at a big payout, and you can quite easily use up a few of those chances with very little gain.
That’s not to say Desert Shark isn’t a payer, it’s RTP is up there with the majority of slots, just be sure to play within your means and be prepared for a long old wait.
I would put Desert Shark up alongside Medallion Megaways as one of Fantasma’s better slots to date, but I have a feeling they could still do better. Worth a punt if you have the time and resources but you certainly don’t want to be swimming with these sharks if funds are short!