As always, it has been another huge year in Slot Gaming. Hundreds, if not thousands, of new games were released. Reels were spun, bonuses rounds were entered, and virtual coins spilled out from every NetBet screen into our homes. As always, some did well, some failed while others made an immediate impression and became firm favourites. We take a look at some of the most popular games this year.
There can be a tendency for some game-creators to overfill their games with bonuses or features to distract from a weak central concept. But Sweet Alchemy manages to cram in what feels like endless features while at the same time keeping things simple and allowing the game to flow. Instead of reels, the game employs a gravity-based approach to filling the screen with symbols (like Tetris). But instead of solid blocks (like the kind you would encounter in Asgardian Stones below), you have a variety of brightly coloured jelly sweets. As soon as four or more items arrive together, they pop out and new sweets fall into place. This can lead to a chain reaction, or even a series of chain reactions if you make it into the bonus round.
The reels in this game are also gravity based, but that’s where the similarities end. The sound effects are a highlight of this game from NetEnt, with great blocks of granite falling from the sky and landing with a satisfyingly heavy crunch. The atmosphere of the game is also brilliant, with spooky rocks floating on an ethereal lake within view of what must be the mighty city of Asgard. The statues of the gods seem to be inert, but something glimmers enticingly in Odin’s one eye. The stones could be in a range of sizes, from 1×1, 4×4 and even 9×9. If there are any gaps below a larger stone, then a smaller rock may not be able to cope with the weight of it and it may crumble beneath it.
It’s simple to see why Berryburst Max is such a hit with players. It’s an incredibly well put together game that seems both inviting and soothing at the same time. The sheer berry-ness of it makes you think that you are getting your RDA of Vitamin C just by playing it. It’s not clear where the game takes place. Are you immersed in juice, or have you entered into an alternate berry-verse, where everything is juice-based, even the air? Either way, it’s a simple game that makes the most of its features. Wilds turn up, take over an entire column and give you a whole new respin. Cluster pays are also a thing, showing one of the enduring trends for 2018.
Yggrasil have shown themselves to be one of the most innovative, inventive and exciting of the new game-makers out there today. Their games are always bizarre but beautiful, crazy yet compelling and most importantly, fun to play. However, Penguin City, even for them, is absolutely nuts. Let’s deal with the story: a group of nice penguins are being forced to work in a crappy take-away restaurant at the behest of an evil Emperor penguin. Got that? Okay, well it’s not that important. You’ll be having so much fun with this both-ways-pays, 243 payline game that it won’t matter.