Online slots are arguably the best served genre in online gambling, in respect of the sheer number of games on offer. There are dozens of software developers specialising in creating slots games for online casinos, and each of them has their own collection of titles – often running into the dozens, hundreds or more. Developers which come to mind include Microgaming, NetEnt and Yggdrasil Gaming to name a few. When you consider that popular casinos often support multiple different slots providers at the same time, it’s not hard to see how quickly the numbers can mount up.
As a slots player, it can be difficult to know which of these games is best to play. While they all share the same basic characteristics, there are a number of key ways in which they differ, from one game to the next. While most slots have at least something to offer, there are a few easy ways you can distinguish between them, and narrow down your focus on the slots you’re likely to be most interested in playing.
The first and perhaps most obvious distinction between different slots games is the game theme. This is the concept that underpins the graphics, icons, reels and bonus features in a game. Different themes immediately give a different complexion to proceedings, depending on the type and features of the theme. As an example, consider how different a slot themed around Alice in Wonderland might look from an Ancient Egyptian slot like Book of Dead, for example. The graphics differ, the sound effects differ, the bonuses differ – and it’s all in accordance with the overarching theme behind the game.
Players can use this to their advantage when choosing an online slot. By picking themes that appeal to you, and skipping those that don’t, you can start to significantly narrow down the choice of slots available to you. However, it’s worth bearing in mind this shouldn’t be your only criteria – otherwise, you’ll overlook some fantastic games unnecessarily.
Another key method for choosing slots you’d like to play is to go by software developer. No two software developers are exactly the same, and the games they create can at times be wildly different. The likes of Yggdrasil are regarded as some of the most stylish developers in the genre, combining excellent graphics with game and bonus features that are second to none, with Vikings Go Berzerk being a prime example. Compare these with the likes of NetEnt and Microgaming, who have a reputation for creating solid, reliable games, but games that aren’t quite as theatrical as Yggdrasil. Examples from Microgaming include Immortal Romance and Game of Thrones and an example from NetEnt includes Dead or Alive.
Again, you shouldn’t limit yourself to one or two developers, and it’s worth playing a broad cross section to get a feel for how different developers operate in this market. However, once you’ve found one or two slots developers you enjoy, it’s another factor you can use when deciding which slots game to choose next.
Pretty much all modern online video slots are packed with amazing bonus features, including free spins, multipliers, wilds, expanding wilds, and many, many more. These features are designed to lift slots games into 3D – rather than just spinning the reels and trying to win combinations, they give the game something extra for players to strive for. These features are also often where most of the biggest wins are to be found, so it pays to choose your games wisely on this basis.
Of course, some bonus features will be more lucrative than others, and aside from reading online slot reviews, there’s no real easy way to figure this out – apart from trying each game out for yourself. All you can do is assess whether a game has a number of different features, and whether they sound like they could deliver favourable conditions – then you can figure out whether it might be worthwhile to play with these bonus features in mind, with a good example being Danger High Voltage.
If there is one completely objective basis on which to compare slots titles, it would be the RTP, or return to player, percentage. This is the figure that denotes the payout of any game – often above 95%, in the case of the highest paying RTP video slots. This figure indirectly tells us the house edge – i.e. the casino’s advantage on every spin. This is an advantage over the long term, however, and doesn’t mean you’re a guaranteed loser – just that the casino is guaranteed a set percentage of the game’s takings over the infinite term.
Breaking that down, it’s easy to compare different games by RTP. If game 1 offers 97% RTP, and game 2 offers a 92% RTP, you’re almost always better off playing the first. This should therefore be a critical factor in choosing which slot to play next.
There are several other factors you can think about too, like the variance of a slot, the number of reels and paylines, the size of the jackpot available, and the per spin betting ranges. In reality, while slots can at times seem like the same game designed a million times over, there is actually significant diversity in the way these games are created, and no two slots are ever exactly the same.
While you should never dismiss a new title off hand, it’s always useful to consider these factors when making up your mind on which slot to play next.