The human thirst for piracy and buccaneering is humored once again in Quickspin’s Skulls UP! slot. The game comes with a heavy dose of ‘ahoy matey’s’ and some interesting high volatility gameplay. This is immediately evident from the grid structure, which offers players 5 reels and up to 1,944 ways to win. I suppose all that remains in question is how easily accessed those riches are. Will we be walking away with the glorious booty, or will our bank balance take a nasty walk down the plank?


  • An enhanced version of the Flaming Respins feature can be triggered during the free spins game
  • Both special features are fairly easily activated
  • Gameplay is quite original, which makes things more entertaining for seasoned players
  • Skulls Up! is available to players in Canada
  • Payouts feel pretty low considering the high volatility
  • The symbols don’t offer high value
  • The RTP is slightly lower than average
TYPE Video Slot
REELS AND PAYLINES 5 reels, 243 - 1,944 paylines
GAME FEATURES Respins, Free Spins, Expanding Reels, Wilds
RANGE OF BET 0.10 - 100.00
MAXIMUM WIN 3,650 x your bet
PAYOUT 96.26%

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Skulls Up! - Theme and Background

There’s no getting around it, Skulls UP! has embraced the pirate theme wholeheartedly, albeit in a fairly cheerful, cartoony way. The slot’s characters are just what you’d expect; a grubby, unwashed lad with an eyepatch, a mischievous monkey, sly parrot, and the token female pirate who always manages to look a lot cleaner than all her compatriots. The backdrop is a sunny tropical island, where a golden beach dominates the scene. The graphics and animations are all expertly designed, set off by a soothing soundtrack that I permitted to play on at low volume.

On this slot adventure you’ll be joined by Biscuit the parrot, Wrench the monkey as well as pirates Smelly, Biggie and No-Beard. Other symbols are covered by low value A, K, Q, J and 10 royals which appear nicely designed up on wooden coins. There’s also a Skull symbol that stands in as the slot’s Wild and can substitute for all symbols except the chest symbol (our Scatter) and Flaming Skull Wild (the second wild in the slot).

Skulls Up! - Gameplay

Confusion isn’t a feature with this slot, as there are only two things to look out for outside of the base game. Here’s what you need to access those bigger wins (don’t worry, it sounds a lot more complicated in theory than it is in practice).

Flaming Free Spins Skulls Up

Flaming Respins

Land a Flaming Skull Wild symbol on the reels to trigger the Flaming Respins feature. As the name implies, the player will receive a respin. Before the respin begins, all Wild symbols will be launched to unlock a new position above the relevant reel. When there are no more positions to open, they will stay in place.

If you succeed at creating a winning combination with the Flaming Skull Wild, the fire will go out and it will turn into a Skull Wild. The Respins will continue as long as there are Flaming Skull Wild symbols in play. This feature expands the gameplay to its full potential of five reels, six rows and 1,944 ways to win.

Flaming Free Spins Skulls Up

Flaming Free Spins

This feature is all about the Treasure Chest symbol. Get 3 of these to trigger your free spins bonus game. That’s 8 Free spins during which the Flaming Respins (described above) can also be engaged.

To make things even more rewarding, engaging Flaming Respins during the free games will allow the increased reel height to remain until the end of the feature. Players will also receive one extra free spin for each reel that expands to 6 symbols in height — making it a potential total of 14 free spins.

Skulls Up - Payouts and Wagering Limits

Skulls UP! offers players 243 ways to win if they can make up winning combinations by matching symbols on any position on adjacent reels, starting at reel 1. Those willing to embrace a pirate’s life should be aware of the slot’s high volatility, which does belie the cute cartoon characters that make up the game’s characters. It gets a 4.5 out of 5 on Quickspin’s volatility ranking. That means that despite all the bonus features of offer, you could just as easily lose your shirt trying to get there.

On the happier side of things, the slots offer a decent top prize of 3,650 x your bet, but I can’t help feeling it should probably be a little higher all things considered. Taking a deeper look into the actual gameplay mechanics you’ll find out that this grand prize only comes about every 1 in 1 billion spins. To soften the blow, the game offers four other win levels, a big win of 15 x, a super win of 40 x, a mega win of 70 x, and an epic win of 100 x. These will come about far more frequently. The symbols themselves aren’t of particularly high value, but the pirate No-Beard does stand in as the top paying symbol, offering players 2, 4 or 20 times the stake for 3, 4 or 5 on a winning payline.

Skulls Up! - Final Verdict

Skulls Up 270 x 218

Final Verdict

Skulls Up!


Looking at things from a theme-only perspective, Skulls UP! is good fun. This does come from a person who is partial to a good pirate storyline, so it won’t necessarily go down the same way with all players. The 3,650 x your bet maximum win does initially sound exciting, but the high volatility gameplay eventually made me feel a little bit like the prize may not be worth the risk. The game’s features activated often, which isn’t all that common with modern slots, and I was rewarded almost every time a Flaming Skull Wild came into the picture.

So what’s the verdict? Go for Skulls UP! if you enjoy a good theme, well-crafted gameplay and the chance for a big prize (if not a life-changing one) — but do watch out for that dicey volatility rating, me hearties.

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