New online slots are being released more often as the market becomes increasingly competitive, and newer producers begin to grow their place within the industry.
A growing offer – With a greater number of games to choose from, there are several challenges facing developers: finding themes that will engage a younger generation of players; increasing and maintaining player engagement, through new and innovative features; and responding to the boom in mobile device use by producing games that play well on both large and small screens.
Slots themes – There is undoubtedly more variety in online slot themes than ever before. Video slots based around other media, like movies and TV shows, are growing in popularity, while Asian-themed games are also being produced more regularly. Slots with strong characters and more complex narratives are also appearing on the scene, with the gameplay tailored to reflect the stories that are being told.
New Features – There is also constant innovation in the way slots games are played, with imaginative new features being introduced all the time. These include new twists on standard features like free spin rounds, as well as many new features during base play, such as different playing modes, so that one game in effect becomes two. These mean that players are increasingly engaged, as it feels as though something is always happening.
Software improvements – Improvements in Flash and HTML5 technology, and the fact that more and more players access their games via hand-held devices, has also meant that all new slots are designed to be played on the go. Bolder designs and better graphics have been the result, and the experience of playing on a smartphone or tablet is now just as vibrant as when you play games on a desktop.
The new release games below all demonstrate the growing variety in game style and features that you can now enjoy playing online slots:
Lost Vegas (Microgaming) – is set in post-apocalypse Los Vegas, and has two separate playing modes – Zombies and Survivors – so it’s almost like you’re getting two games for the price of one (you can easily switch between the two modes at any time during base play). Each mode has different characters, symbols and design, as well as its own special features, and the game is a fun take on the growing worldwide fascination with zombies and the undead.
The 5 reel, 243 ways-to-win game includes a number of unique features that add huge variety to the gameplay. These include: the Blackout Bonus, where the reels are randomly blacked out and every character symbol awards a cash prize, and only 1 scatter symbol is needed to trigger the free spins bonus round; and the Zombie Fist of Cash, which randomly appears after any losing spin to award a cash prize.
The free spin bonus round has different special features depending on the mode you’re playing in. In Survivors mode, it has the Stash Feature, where any playing card symbol that appears is then removed from the reels and replaced with a new one, potentially creating multiple wins on a single spin; in Zombies mode, the free spins come with the Infection Feature, where zombies ‘infect’ the reels so the wild symbols become wild reels. The free spins continue until all reels are infected, allowing you to win up to 50 additional spins.
Motorhead (NetEnt) – the third in a series of music-themed slots that have proved hugely successful for the Scandinavian developer in 2016 (the other two releases being Guns ’N Roses and Jimi Hendrix). The iconic UK rockers, whose front man Lemmy died in 2015 before the game was released, have proved to be an ideal choice for a slot, as their driving music and rebellious image has created a game that is fast-paced and full of new features.
For instance, Motorhead is 5-reel game where reels 1 and 2 have three rows of symbols, there are four rows on reels 3 and 4, while reel 5 has five rows, producing an unusual combination of 65 paylines. Other innovations include: mystery reels, consisting of regular and mystery symbols, where the latter transform into another symbol to create winning combinations; the Bomber feature, which is randomly activated and where bombs appear on the reels before a spin and create a cluster of mystery symbols, which then convert into a single symbol once the reels have stopped spinning and can create multiple winning combinations. The game also features a 10 free spin bonus round.
Dragonz (Microgaming) – Another great new release that’s packed with innovations. This 5-reel, 243 ways-to-win 3D video slot features a range of different free spin rounds, each of which has its own distinct features, including: Flaming Wilds (where a dragon ‘fires’ extra wilds onto the reels), Stashed Wilds (when wilds that aren’t featured in a winning spin get stored, and when there’s three they create an automatic win), Frosty Wilds (where non-winning wilds get frozen in place until they form part of a winning spin), and Winning Wilds (a dragon randomly spits wilds onto the reels).
Even the way in which the spin button and coin size selectors are laid is out is different, changing the whole look and feel of the game. All of these features, which add great variety and choice to the gameplay, are an excellent example of the way new online slots are evolving, and the fact that developers are always seeking innovative ways in which to increase player engagement and enjoyment.