Before I go into the top 10, I want to go through my thoughts on how I will be selecting my Top 10 of this year. I have a list of points that each slot must follow to be in the list, these are:
- Creativity – After playing slots for 20 years, I want to see new and interesting ways to play so this will be important.
- Mechanics – Not every slot will be new, it maybe an old idea but improved. Not all new ideas however creative they are, work well so even an old idea improved can have a lot of weight in the design.
- Graphics/Sound/Atmosphere – Some slots reach the next level when the cherry on the top is a good playing atmosphere than can enhance the excitement.
- Volatility – This is going to be the most difficult category as for some people this is all that matters. Some people will play any slot if they believe it pays well. For me this is important that the payout model matches the way the slot plays. So, I will factor this in the best I can as I know it will be important to people.
- Design – The final category for me is the clever little touches the slot does to enhance the playing experience. Its things like the random features, and little hidden extras like the skull on Goonies going Red instead of Green.
Now you know what I will be thinking of when making these final choices, will you agree with me or come up with your own Top 10 of 2018.
Lucha Maniacs (Yggdrasil)
This slot from Yggdrasil is an entry into the Top 10 more for fun than anything else.
In a year where the volatility of games is taking over, it’s still nice to have less volatile but fun slots and this one delivers it in bucket loads.The graphics and sound are top notch and fit the design of the slot with a fun theme overall. The bonus can be triggered in a fun 2 scatter mode with can give you the chance of activating it. Picking bonuses are fun and it takes the concepts from Golden Fish Tank and twist them into the wrestling theme. The payouts are a bit weak but happen often enough to make it pay more frequently so even though the volatility isn’t high it’s still good enough to play. This slot is on my list as I play it for it for a fun casual time on slots and it always gives me a fun time… try it!!!
The most recent addition from NetEnt has shown a lot of promise for a more volatile slot choice for once from a provider who has not had the best releases recently. It makes my list because NetEnt has made a lot of better designed slots recently but their maths model of payouts has left a sour taste in most people’s throat. Jumanji is an example of what was in theory a good design but the horrid payouts means most people have thrown it on the scrap pile. NetEnts design team have done an amazing job with graphics and sound on this one as anyone who is familiar with the TV show will say how realistic the whole atmosphere of the game is. The random features of the game are good, and the bonus round has everything you want – volatility, potential and excitement. However, some people who like NetEnt may think this slot is too hard as they are not familiar with this kind of volatility. This slot can go as high as 1000x – 2000x or more nothing has been seen yet of over this range, but it is capable. Overall a solid slot with good atmosphere and volatility, hopefully a new era for NetEnt design in 2019.
Light Blocks (Merkur)
Maybe an unexpected addition to list but with a majority of its score coming from creativity. This unique slot maybe mistaken for Tetris or even some of the Play’n’Go slots like Reactoonz but its closer to Tetris in design. Every Merkur slots have basic graphics and sound and this is no exception in that area how it still looks clean and crisp. The concept is fresh with blocks dropping down and if you complete a line it continues. To help you along are special square which will also prove extra blocks also. Apart from the creative aspect it also has volatility as each line completed will give an extra multiplier for that line which can add up quickly if you get high up. So, to finish an interesting design and concept with a splash of volatility for nice wins!!
Donuts (Big Time Gaming)
Big Time Gaming have been a slot provider to watch over 2017 with title like Bonanza and Danger High Voltage. So, when Donuts was released it was keenly awaited and it was a creative slot as expected.
Even though it only has 4×4 grid the volatility of BTG was still there which is clever considering how few combinations are possible.The graphics, sound and design are all spot on with the theme of donuts and cannot be faulted. Some may wonder why this is on this list and Extra Chilli is not, the reason is simple because Extra Chilli is not a new concept and takes a version of Bonanza with a gamble feature. This comes into its own because of the way the bonus is designed with a unique golden bonus multiplier which carries forward into the free spins. So overall an amazing creative slot that is only held back by the base game which can be a little bland.
Lost Relics (NetEnt)
The best designed slot from NetEnt in a long while, the concept is interesting and grabs your attention straight away. The design team have made a classic slot with memorable graphics, theme and mechanics. The only side that is let down is NetEnts usual poor low volatile model, however it pays better than most NetEnts so we can be thankful for that.
This would really have been more of a contender for top spot had it got a little more volatility in it.Apart from that one part this slot scores highly in all the sections as it has a fun and exciting bonus too. Solid slot which will be played for more than just this year when others will fade.
Dragons Fire (Red Tiger)
This is the only Red Tiger slot on the list and this one makes it because of the clever design with random twists the slot can give. Not only do Red Tiger just not rehash the same thing but come up with a clever slot which has multiple random things that can happen with the dragon and the multiplier. It all has a familiar feel of a Red Tiger slot but is one of the most volatile they have produced yet. The graphics, sound and design all fit the theme of the dragon and flow well. The free spins are the potential of this slot and you can be given any number up to 50 to start with. It’s rare to get the top numbers but combine that with retriggers and soon the multiplier starts to add up quickly. It’s a new slot for Red Tiger, yet not that new in the realms of other slots which is why it didn’t score higher. Overall one of the few Red Tiger slots you will still be playing in 2019.
Fat Rabbit (Push Gaming)
Not a real surprise to see a Push Gaming slot in the top ten but this slot enters for one reason mainly and that is simplicity. It is a hard thing to do in design to make a slot simple and yet have repeat playability, yet this slot can do that for you. The concept is interesting as all you need to do is feed the rabbit carrots till, he gets fat… how couldn’t that be easy enough? The base game is fine with a random feature of a tractor coming by to keep you entertained however the interest is all in the bonus. The graphics, sounds and concept all have a fun feel and is perfect for the slot theme.
The bonus can offer some insane wins as the rabbit gets fatter from eating the carrots.So it scores a lot for mechanics, creativity and volatility. Push Gaming is the new kid on the block for 2018 but with some strong signs of being a bit player for 2019.
Genie Jackpots (Blueprint)
The sale of licence to use Megaways™ to Blueprint maybe seen by some a smart business move and while we don’t know the details of the deal, I feel this is going to hurt BTG own’s releases. The winner out of this deal I feel is Blueprint and they wasted no time in using it. The first games Diamond Mine and Irish Riches felt like quickly rushed out copies to get it used quickly. However, this game was the first of many that felt like they had input into the design and felt like the first try of using it in their own way. This means an interesting use of the Megaways design with what Blueprint do well, good random bonuses and an interesting bonus round.
Overall this slot scores well in all categories for design, graphics, sounds, mechanics and creativity.This slot has already begun a whole range of Megaways slots and it will continue long into 2019!
I know there is going to be some hate for this choice as Blueprint games split people into haters and lovers. Blueprint have pretty much churned out similar slots and most have been solid but not have been as popular as Ted. Suddenly this release came out of nowhere and on the surface, it looks like just another Blueprint game, but this has more depth. The movie is rich with content and they have attached as much as possible in the slot design making it rich in graphics, sounds and concepts.
Where this makes it different is all the features and little hidden gems, if you haven’t found the red skull instead of green or the no-lose gamble spin then you haven’t seen it all.The way the features have extras at the end of them is a great way to give bonus value. For me this is a well thought out concept for slot fans, a good theme, exciting extras and a fun slot. It does fail a bit on volatility as for some it won’t get those x1000 or more hits but that’s just a small part. Overall this was close to game of the year for me.
Jammin Jars (Push Gaming)
This is a slot hitting most peoples top 3 slots of the year, a majority will be just the insane potential the slot can give hits of 10000x and more.
One of the reasons this scores big is because of it being a very simple concept yet an interesting one never seen before.The concept is simply getting lots of fruit symbols next to jars, the more jars the better. I think it’s a difficult thing to do these days with all the slot designs to come up with something new and yet simple. The grid and cluster payout system are familiar but the basic concept of jars landing as wilds is new. The jars each time they are part of win increase the multiplier, and if two jars or more are next to each other in a win will multiply by each which can lead to insane payouts. If you get 3 or more jars then you get 6 free spins, which is all very simple and basic, yet it works well. There has been some criticism of this slot for the fact repeat bonus patterns have appeared. Understanding that this is part of the way can do the random nature of its fine but was a little sloppy that they maybe didn’t programme in enough variances of these patterns. However, that is a very small grumble of what will be a mainstay slot that will still be played long into 2019 and for that reason makes it the Top slot of 2018.
Watch Jamie smash in a mega win on Jamming Jars, showing the potential this game has!