The forum members are the ones who tasked to decide on the best games of 2019, some of our members have been actively playing casino games online for over a decade – hell – some for nearly two decades (old timer over here).
From Dunover – Slotmeister:
Yes, it’s been a busy 2019 with hundreds of new slots being released across tens of developers which most players will be familiar with by playing at multi-platform casinos. Quantity doesn’t always mean quality though and sadly most of the major developers have been pretty anonymous again judging by the response of the Casinomesister membership in the Slot of The Year 2019 poll , in fact even more so than in 2018.
The winner this year was Netent’s Dead or Alive 2 by a massive margin. As with all the three previous winners, Bonanza, Book of Dead and Napoloeon, this slot is a high-volatility game. There is also a twist to this result, in that a couple of slot streamers assisted in the development of the game, such as LetsGiveItASpin. I’ve always said that the users of the end product could well be the best people to consult when designing slots and indeed the GAG was set up by Casinomeister as a consequence.
Kim and co. really did Netent proud here by retaining the original bonus round on the classic DoA and balancing it with a low-volatility choice of free spins with an increasing multiplier and an insanely high-volatile High Noon bonus which is the original type but with wild 2x or 3x multipliers added for landing more than one sticky wild on any reel. It was claimed to be capable of awarding wins of over 110,000x bet and very quickly some huge bonus results were witnessed, including this one on video for over 70,000x bet!
So that’s our 2019 winner but it’s only fair to point out that had it not been for this slot, then as one of the Big 5 developers they would not have had a single entry into the Top 20 in the poll along with Playtech, IGT, WMS and Microgaming. Now this can be partly attributed to the fact that the large bookmaker sites tend to supply IGT and Playtech games to their customers and haven’t got a significant presence amongst the diverse Casinomeister membership but the other three have. IGT’s Ghostbusters 2 is a decent game as are some of the Playtech Age of The Gods series.
It would seem Microgaming have given up on even trying to reproduce slots of the same standard as their classics such as Immortal Romance and instead rely on smaller studios such as Just for The Win or Stormcraft to provide content via their Quickfire platform. None of those have been particularly inspiring, namely BDBA Respins and Book of Oz which are rehashes of older titles. Netent have churned out numerous games and while always polished productions, the mechanics and maths are pretty forgetable in the main. WMS, like many developers such as Bally, Barcrest and Shufflemaster now fall under the Scientific Gaming umbrella and seem to think what works in a land-based casino will be good enough for the more discerning European online players and more often than not, it doesn’t.
So on a more positive note, Push Gaming maintained their appearance in last year’s top 10 with two notable games including the runner-up Razor Shark, while Relax Gaming (who are the only real success here of the Scientific Gaming releases) also had two to
p-10 games, with Temple Tumble Megaways proving quite successful. Which brings us on to Megaways. There are now 50 Megaways games and it seems the shine has worn off the idea now, with the aforementioned game the only one in the top 10 and several of them appearing in the TOSSER nominations for the voters’ worst slot of 2019.
Thunderkick consistently produce popular and attractive slots and although only getting 5th. place with Carnival Queen had 5 of the top 20 which is a creditable result! Our favourite ‘Marmite’ provider Big Time Gaming had 3 of their 6 releases there too with the superb Lil’ Devil by far the most popular in third place, a game that has banged in a several wins of over 20,000x bet including one of 35,005x recorded on YouTube by The Bandit. 4ThePlayer seem to be making inroads as a relatively recent small developer with 9k Yeti gaining some recognition and we saw a rather unexpected 9th. place by niche provider NoLimitCity and Tombstone.
Overall we have a similar situation to 2018 with the major developers underperforming and seemingly all the innovation coming from smaller studios like Push Gaming and of course the old stalwarts Big Time Gaming and their bi-monthly releases, which to be fair aren’t all using the Megaways formula. Blueprint Gaming, who did well in 2018, seem to be directing all their resources to endless Megaways slots or variations of their equally tired old 20-line formula. Novomatic appear to have abandoned their usual volatility and the Redline-developed titles have been pretty awful in the main, culminating in the pointless Book of Ra Deluxe 10 game.
We have seen evidence of developers feeling it necessary to try and invent the ‘New Megaways’ with ReelPlay’s Infinite Reels, Yggdrasil’s Reel Splitz and Play’n Go’s Perfect Gems which randomly creates extra rows on the centre reels. Alas, none of them come close to the original formula and are getting close to being frankly ridiculous. Maybe 2020 can see us return to being presented with games based on ideas their developers do best? We can only hope.
Happy Slotting for 2020 everyone!
For a complete list of the results, click here: SLOT OF THE YEAR 2019! RESULTS!
Thank you Dunover and to the folks who took part in our survey.
iGaming Software Experience Historical Awards
Best iGaming Software Experience 2018 – Blueprint
Best iGaming Software Experience 2017 – Big Time Gaming
Best iGaming Software Experience 2016 – Play N Go
Best iGaming Experience 2015 – NetEnt
Best Gaming Experience 2014 – WMS
Best Gaming Experience 2013 – WMS
Best Gaming Experience 2012 – NetEnt
Best Games Award 2011 – Leander Games
Best Software Supplier Award 2011 – NetEnt
Best Games Award 2010 – 3Dice
Best Software Award 2010 – Microgaming
Best Software Award 2009 – Wagerworks
Best Software Award 2008 – Cryptologic
Best Software Award 2007 – Wagerworks
Best Software Award 2006 – Microgaming
Best Software Award 2005 – Microgaming