With more and more players turning to online casinos for slot machines, it's easy to forget that we're in the midst of a golden age of slot machine design. We live in a “perfect storm” of improved technology, the discovery of new ideas in game design, and a general relaxation of anti-gambling regulations. Below are guides to four of my favorite new slots, created by the most exciting new slot designers in the world.
Batman & Robin Slots by Aristocrat
Just as their games have grown from counterfeit fruit machines to legitimate entertainment, Aristocrat has expanded beyond its Australian market. The company's latest trio of licensed games are currently only available to operators in Oceania. This version included Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle (based on a classic comic), Superman and Lex Luther (also based on an old estate) and Batman & Robin. Of the three versions, only Batman & Robin deserves your attention.
And Aristocrat has pulled out all the stops to fulfill this bonus game. Five different bonus games are available, each triggered by a different symbol appearing on the first, third and fifth reels:
✅The Batman Bonus Game is triggered by the Batman symbol. The small bonus wheel will start spinning and you will receive either a character bonus game or credits. I really hate getting a bonus and then getting credits, but I almost always got a bonus game.
✅The Riddler Bonus game is triggered by the Riddler symbol. It's not very valuable and has little appeal for replay. This is because it pays out every time and also rewards you with the same five free spin bonuses every time.
✅The Catwoman Bonus game is triggered by the Catwoman symbol. It's a standard pick'em game. You choose items round after round until you run out of free choices. Earnings multipliers between 2x and 5x.
✅The Joker bonus game is the most profitable of the five. It awards eight free spins, and the bonus activates a power reel feature that offers the player 432 ways to win during those spins.
✅The Batman and Robin bonus game is activated by the symbol with both heroes. The game takes the form of a spinning bonus wheel. The wheel rewards aren't huge, but the game is triggered fairly regularly and can be re-triggered indefinitely.
House of Cards: Power & Money Slots by IGT
You'll rarely find a licensed game as specific as a specific season of a TV show - but that's exactly what IGT has done with one of two new House of Cards titles in their library. The popular Netflix-produced show casts Kevin Spacey as a political elevator man who (SPOILER WARNING) ends up taking over the White House. House of Cards: Power & Money is based solely on the show's second season.
Monopoly: Prime Real Estate Slots by WMS Gaming
WMS is really proud that their new Prime Real Estate game is "the greatest single-player Monopoly game in history" and after seeing the thing, I can attest to its size. The WMS uses this new angled screen that we saw introduced at various conventions a few years ago and is now slowly conquering the floors of American casinos from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. That means the screen can be absolutely huge, and it is. It occupies your entire field of vision.
Gamblit Lucky Words Slot
Obviously, licensed games are still huge. Each of the four games that have impressed me this year have been licensed to varying degrees. Lucky Words represents the OTHER big trend in slot machine design this year – the inclusion of social and skill-based features. If you're a word junkie, a fan of games that reward skill, or want to enjoy the new social gaming craze, pay attention to Lucky Words. If you're interested in the latest and greatest in technology, Lucky Words is essentially an online slots game on the web. It is the future of the industry.
I'll end with some bold predictions about how the slot machine market will evolve. Here are some things to expect in slots over the next year:
✔High quality licensed games with original content
✔Games with skill elements
✔An increase in video poker terminals
The 5 games described above do a good job of fulfilling all of these predictions. What I would really keep an eye out for is the growing social engagement and operators' desire to connect games to new users on the internet. That means fewer simple reel and payline games and more titles that mimic video games and mobile apps.
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