Here Come the Slots: Our annual sneak peek at the games coming your way in the new year
By Frank Legato
(You can download this article with all the artwork by clicking the button below.)
To the average slot player, a trip to a casino normally brings some new adventure in play—it seems there is always a new game to try, offering a new theme, a radical new presentation or some fun new way to play.
The fact is, casinos constantly juggle the slot floor—adding banks of new games, testing new cabinets and presentations against games already on the floor, and seeing how you, the players, react to the new slot games pouring from the manufacturers throughout the year. But their first glimpse at most of these new games comes from one major event every fall, a trade show known as the Global Gaming Expo (G2E).
The manufacturers give us a sneak peek at all the new games every summer, so every October, Strictly Slots passes the favor on to you. In the following pages, you’ll find a preview of the new slot games coming to your favorite casino in the year ahead. Some will already be out on the floors by the time you read this. Others will appear over the course of the coming year. As usual, all of them demonstrate the ongoing commitment of the slot-makers to provide the entertainment you seek when you go to a casino.
So here, in alphabetical order by manufacturer, is a glimpse at what’s coming to a slot floor near you in the coming months. We hope it gives you an idea of what to look for as you seek your entertainment. Enjoy, and good luck!
Like many manufacturers, AGS begins its new slot lineup with a new cabinet—a new way to present the games. Actually, this year, there are several. Launched earlier this year, the Orion Upright features dual 27-inch HD displays, an ergonomic LCD button deck, dual high-bright spin buttons, an integrated charging port, and the signature AGS starwall lighting display.
Coming this fall is the Orion Rise, an 8-foot-high dual-screen cabinet featuring an ergonomic 10.1-inch multi-touch button deck; and Orion 49C, AGS’ first curved platform, features a 49-inch 4K Ultra HD curved LCD display.
Launch games for the Orion Rise include Wheel Surge and Dragon’s Jackpots. Wheel Surge features a wheel bonus and five-level progressive in beautiful graphics that fill up the oversized top monitor. The wheels are displayed as horizontal stacks, with spots on the wheels yielding credit awards or one of the progressives.
Dragon’s Jackpots applies an Asian theme to a ladder-style bonus displayed on the top monitor, and a third game, Blazing Wheels, uses dual wheels in a traditional wheel-spin configuration. All three games allow you to work your way to better wins through a variety of clever play features.
One of the highlighted games on the 49C curved-screen format is Royal Phoenix, which fills the curved monitor with beautiful artwork depicting a rising phoenix behind the reel set. The 3D animation in this one is stunning; don’t miss it.
AGS also will be launching new games on the popular Orion Portrait and Orion Slant cabinets. One highlighted game series is Lucky Stacks, a series of games built around a four-level progressive featuring a unique mechanic involving stacked symbols with golden backgrounds—the progressives are won by stacking entire reels of the golden symbols. On spins where no stacked gold reels land, a special symbol randomly “nudges” a gold to fill the entire reel. A special “Lucky Stack” symbol causes all golden symbols on the screen to stack.
One unique aspect of this game is that all progressive jackpots scale with the bet, making all progressive jackpots, even the mini, substantial.
Another new game family featured on both the Orion Upright and Orion Slant is Money Charge Jackpots, in which the progressives are won through a hold-and-spin free games feature. This is a game feature that has been one of the most popular on the slot floor. During the free spins, jackpot symbols that land will hold in place for the remaining spins. If they fill the screen before the session ends, you win the top jackpot.
The hold-and-spin feature also appears on Hearts & Horns, a new game on the Orion Portrait cabinet that brings together the hold-and-spin feature and a progressive bonus event. On this progressive, the bottom three jackpots scale with the bet, and are awarded through a unique take on the hold-and-spin game-play feature.
Ainsworth Game Technology
Ainsworth this year is loading its game footprint with new entries in the QuickSpin series, started in late 2017 with the release of Super Hot 7s and Super Charged 7s. Players have flocked to these games, as well as follow-up games Super Lantern 8s and Super Crystal 7s.
Each QuickSpin title—whether on single or dual screen—offers familiar game play with a focus on frequent wheel bonuses and an entertainment-based, low-volatility base game—meaning a steady stream of lower-level wins that keep you in the game hoping for that big win.
The great thing about these games is that those wheel spins are very frequent, and they often result in those big wins you’re searching for.
This year, Ainsworth is multiplying those advantages—by four—with a new video slot in the QuickSpin series called Multiplay Super Charged 7s. This puts the original QuickSpin game in a four-play format—it’s the same game you know, on up to four reel sets simultaneously. (The player can play two or four sets.)
With Multiplay Super Charged 7s, you can trigger multiple free games on the different reel sets, and trigger multiple wheel spins on a single spin, across the four reel sets.
Having four reel sets jacks up the bonus frequency. Between the wheel and the free spins, a special feature is happening every 13 spins, on average.
When you land more than six of the scatter symbols to trigger a wheel spin, multipliers are applied to the wheel values, up to a maximum of 5X. That means some huge wins.
Other versions of QuickSpin to watch for are Super Sonic 7s, the first QuickSpin game on the dual-screen EVO cabinet; Turbo Charged 7s, a linked progressive version on the A640 portrait-screen cabinet that increases the possible wheel multipliers up to a maximum 25X during free spins; and
Super Lit Vegas, a QuickSpin variation that incorporates a “persistent-state” kind of game. During the feature, players spin through seven game cycles. Throughout the cycle players collect symbols that become wild on the seventh spin. But if a player collects eight or more they also get a wheel spin.
Another QuickSpin title combines an Ainsworth specialty—high-denomination games—with the QuickSpin phenomenon. Super Charged 7s Classic offers a five- or nine-line game built to provide a traditional mechanical reel-style game experience in a video slot.
Other highlights from Ainsworth include Kanga Riches, the company’s first high-denomination progressive link in many years.
In the penny and multi-denom Ainsworth libraries, watch for Mad Millions, a linked progressive game that includes a stand-alone “Win Before” secondary progressive. It displays the level before which the progressive must hit.
Another new game series for the A640 portrait cabinet is Reel Force. The two inaugural games in the series, Arrows of Love and Thunder of Asgard, feature a cascading reel feature. Typically, two or three line wins on a spin will cause the winning symbols to disappear, and other symbols cascade into their spots, continuing until no wins are on the screen.
A free-spin feature expands the reels to a maximum eight rows, for more paylines and more cascades. In the free spins, every symbol that disappears in a cascade is accumulated for a bonus award at the end of the feature.
Also featured this year is Ultimate Upgrade, a persistent-state game that has players collecting symbols toward several different features, including multipliers, extra pay lines and wild symbols; and Electric Cash Link, a linked product with a hold-and-respin bonus. Each has a pair of inaugural games on tap for launch this year, with more in the pipeline.
As with many slot-makers this year, Aristocrat has crafted games to exploit the features of a new cabinet. In this case, it’s the MarsX cabinet, featuring dual 27-inch 4K displays and a premium virtual button deck equipped with the latest in wireless charging technology—you can charge your smartphone by simply placing it onto the deck.
This year, the MarsX will feature the all-new Dollar Storm, from the designers of the legendary Lightning Link and Dragon Link games. Dollar Storm features the hold-and-spin game feature that made Lightning Link one of the most popular slot games in any casino.
At the trade show, Aristocrat will launch more new content for the MarsX, including Buffalo Gold Revolution, which the company calls the “next evolution of Buffalo Gold,” along with a full lineup of core video products including Dragon Tower Jackpots on the MarsX Tower.
A full lineup of new games will be launched for the Edge X cabinet, launched last year. The Edge X features dual 43-inch LCD monitors positioned horizontally—these are the large video screens you normally see as a single screen in a “portrait” style. The industry name for it is a “landscape” cabinet.
On the Edge X, Aristocrat will launch a new title in the Game of Thrones franchise, Winter Is Here. It’s based on Season 7 of the smash hit fantasy series, which recently wrapped up its eighth and final season.
Also featured on the Edge X will be Star Trek: The Next Generation, based on the 1990s version of the sci-fi classic starring Patrick Stewart as Enterprise Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
There also will be a new game in The Walking Dead series displayed on the Edge X, which debuted last year with FarmVille and Madonna.
Aristocrat’s radical curve cabinet the flame55—launched last year with Big Bang Theory— will also feature new content this year. Zorro Wild Ride takes Zorro and brings it into a modern cabinet for the first time.
Other high- Madonna 2profile branded games from Aristocrat this year are in video and Buffalo Rush on the RELM XL mechanical reel-spinning cabinet. The latter, a five-reel penny game, brings the mega-hit Buffalo brand into the traditional reel format.
On the regular RELM mechanical reel-spinning format, watch for new games in the Gold Stacks 88 series. This is one of the games that will allow progressive links that share jackpots between reel-spinning and video slots, resulting in fast-growing progressive prizes.
Finally, Aristocrat will be feeding new games to its Winner’s World multi-game bartop product, which was launched this summer. Winner’s World is the first bartop unit to include not only video poker and keno choices, but Aristocrat’s most popular video slots, such as multiple offerings from the mega-hit Buffalo series.
Aruze Gaming America
Aruze is another slot-maker using the big trade show to highlight a cabinet presentation, along with new games to populate that format. The Muso Curve-43 Hybrid Reflection package, featuring the “J”-shaped curved monitor and unique lighting between games in a bank, is being launched with a new game series called Dream Cash.
What’s unique about Dream Cash is that the base game has no spinning reels—it’s basically bonus play, all the time.
Dream Cash uses the 43-inch portrait monitor to display a scene of colorful floating bills and balloons. The idea is to use the touch screen to grab as much of the falling cash as you can, in what the company calls a “play-as-fast-as-you-like game.”
The inaugural games are the neon-tinged Dream Cash Fabulous Vegas and the disco-themed Dream Cash Dancing All Night. The new games are part of a series known as “Activ-Play,” which showcases non-traditional slot games.
The Activ-Play series was inspired by Aruze’s hit community-style game Paradise Fishing. This year, look for Hawaiian Fishing, which takes the signature community fishing bonus to the shores of Oahu. For the community fishing bonus, players use a controller improved with the last sequel, Amazon Fishing, which includes a crank that gives the sensation of reeling fish in, with the same tension on the line featured in previous iterations.
The next in the style of wall-banked community games—the portrait cabinets on each of the slots link together into one huge screen for the community bonus—is a game previewed last year called Mad Mountain Riches. On this game, the scene formed on the giant monitor wall is a talking volcano, which periodically erupts to send lava that transforms into wild symbols on players’ screens.
In Aruze’s core group of slots, one of the highlights is a new version of the Ultra Stack series of games featuring stacking symbols and wilds. Ultra Stack Instant Trigger offers a “buy-a-feature” option in which the player can increase the awards by betting up. The basic game is played for a minimum of 50 credits per spin, but a 75-credit wager unlocks “Super Feature” free games, which adds anywhere from 100 to 250 of a key symbol to the reels.
Betting up again activates the Instant Trigger, which guarantees a random number of free spins.
The first two games in the series are Dancing Panda Festival and Dancing Panda Fortune. These games have a great mix of added wild features, with a symbol/mystery bonus. Every time the symbol appears, you get a chance at triggering the progressives.
Another standout release from Aruze this year is the Change of Seasons series, with Japan and China versions. In this game, the volatility changes with the season, with subtle changes to the elegant artwork depicted on the screen. There will be a background effect, and the game will shift from spring to summer and give you a different gaming experience.
New titles scheduled for launch at G2E include games with persistent-style bonus features. In Bonanza Town, it’s a chase feature for the bonuses. In Coin Collector, it’s a hold-and-respin style of game with a “what you see is what you get” payoff.
Great Spirit and Great Tiki include a feature in which the player is chasing a progressive free-games award as opposed to a progressive credit award.
On the Muso Curve-43 cabinet are more Aruze wheel games, Wheel of Prosperity Serpent and Tiger. On Serpent, the wheel will spin and give you wilds for each of your free games. Tiger offers the option to expand reels to four rows or five rows. Reel expansions in the ways-to-win game take the game from 243 ways to win up to 3,125 ways for a random number of free spins.
This year, the game designer who created Wheel of Prosperity offers Wealth of Coins. This game includes a lot of wild features, one of which triggers other bonus features. Also, on the Muso Curve-43 is Rainbow Wheel, a curved version of the popular Rainbow Cash series.
Everi is joining a popular trend in offering its first video slots featuring a so-called “persistent-state” feature, in which players look to achieve a goal within a finite number of spins.
The new Fu Stacks series, with inaugural games Fu Stacks Crimson and Fu Stacks Jade, centers on a feature in which the player collects gold boxes on each spin, with full stacks awarding a coin above the reel. After you collect three coins, that reel will turn into a stacked symbol for the next three spins.
Gift of the Nile and Dragon Flame, on the Empire MPX cabinet—with its oversized flat portrait-style monitor—feature a persistent wild-symbol feature. Flame coming out of the mouth of the dragon on the big screen land 3D wilds symbols on the screen, and then every spin, they forward-progress one spot.
Also on the Empire MPX are encore titles for one of last year’s most unique entries, Crush. That’s the game with no spinning reels, but a sculpted Aztec head that the player sends flying down to crush boulders that roll underneath. Each crush yields a credit score.
This year, the company will debut Crush Conquest and Crush Dynasty. The new versions include a “Rampage Feature,” a mystery event which sends the stone icon crushing multiple borders that roll down chutes on either side of the scene for large bonus awards. These games are a blast.
Also on tap is a wealth of new content for the Core HDX dual-screen cabinet. Games like Jackpot Alert Series feature quick-hitting progressives on three base themes: China, Vegas and Anubis.
Heading up Everi’s premium video lineup are licensed titles including The Karate Kid and The Mask. Both are launch titles for the new Empire DCX premium cabinet, which uses dual landscape-oriented curved monitors to create a wrap-around effect. Both feature multiple interactive bonuses, based on the iconic karate movie and the quirky 1994 comedy featuring Jim Carrey’s hilarious zoot-suited character.
On the Empire Arena, introduced with the hit game Shark Week, will be a new interactive game called The Vault. The upper 55-inch monitor on this game is the scene of a colorful 4K chamber of gold coins. Features include Vault Respins, a lock-and-respin feature; free-spin and picking bonuses; and Diamond Heist, a community-style event in which all players on the bank compete for diamonds to add to their vaults. Each player gets a chance to “steal” diamonds from other players on the bank, creating a competitive environment.
On the mechanical-reel side, watch for Liberty Jackpots and Double Wild Gems. Both are based on the math of the hit game Patriot, one of Everi’s most popular reel-spinners. It is a five-line, five-coin dollar game, featuring classic art, a classic-looking feel and play that is easy to understand.
Other new reel-spinners add popular play mechanics to the traditional-style game. Diamond Lock Ruby and Diamond Lock Sapphire both feature a lock-and-respin feature triggered on the reels and then played on the top screen. It’s one of the first play-until-you-lose features included on a mechanical reel-spinning slot.
New on the tall Skyline reel-spinning cabinet is Tut’s Reign, a nine-line, nine-coin game using a popular bet structure. On this game, the LED frame around the top monitor emulates a pharaoh’s head.
Finally, Everi is using G2E to launch new games and new capabilities for its groundbreaking TournEvent tournament system.
This year, Gamblit Gaming is launching more of its specialty—games featuring arcade-style and mobile video game-style skill elements.
Games on offer in the Gamblit portfolio include PacMan Battle Casino, Jetpack Joyride, Catapult King, Lucky Words, Match 3volution, Smoothie Blast, BrewCaps and more.
The big trade show also will mark the global debut of Cookie Jam Blast, one of the most successful match-3 games ever with more than 100 million downloads to date. The “puzzle adventure” features 100-plus levels to keep players engaged, and multiple ways to win cash while swapping, matching, and blasting cookies.
At G2E, GameCo—another company featuring games with skill-based elements drawn from the world of video games—will present the newest iterations of high-performance match-3 games: the Egyptian-themed Mystery of the Secret Temple, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Pop Fish, an “underwater adventure” game.
What’s great about these games is that they leverage one of the most popular genres in the mobile gaming industry, like Candy Crush and Bejeweled. They’re easy to play, and they give the player a sense of progress to various levels, a big draw in the world of video games that the company brings to its “Video-Game Gambling Machines,” or VGMs.
The company will also be showcasing updated, higher-velocity versions of Terminator 2 and Steve Aoki’s Neon Dreams.
GameCo also is launching a bartop cabinet and a versatile multi-player arena product, which offers two different game-play modes: competition mode, in which up to eight players can participate in a single contest, but single players also can play on their own; and tournament mode, which allows for bracketed tournaments in esports competitions directly on the casino floor.
Gaming Arts is a 10-year-old supplier of games and systems for casino keno and bingo that rolled out its first video slots this year. Earlier this year, the first games in the Pop’N Pays series, Piñatas Ole! and Big Top, got their first live installs in California, at Valley View casino.
Pop’N Pays, a series of fun games with inventive mechanics and high-volatility math, is one of three game groups in Gaming Arts’ initial suite of video slots. The other two are the Da Fa Ba Series of Asian-style games and the Dice Seeker group of games that use rolling dice as bonus game mechanics.
This year, Gaming Arts will feature new entries in each series, and will launch a total of five new game groups.
For the Pop’N Pays series, the company is launching Sweet Spin, a candy-themed video slot that fits the lighthearted mood of all the games in the series. In the Da Fa Ba series, it’s a new game called Fa Cai Ba. The company will also launch high-denomination games in the Da Fa Ba and Dice Seeker groups, and will continue to add its multi-game Casino Wizard suite.
In the Dice Seekers series, the company will launch a game called Flappers & Dappers. It features animated “7” characters as symbols, and features a dice-based bonus event.
Gaming Arts will combine the new entries to its original game suite with several totally new product groups, starting with a group called the Wu Series. The inaugural game, Wu Xi Shi, which means “Dancing Happy Lion,” is a 243-ways-to-win scatter game incorporating a special lion symbol that jumps on to background symbols to award credits. Sometimes, the character will backtrack to jump on an award again, doubling the prize.
Finally, Gaming Arts is launching an entirely new product group known as the GA Wheel series. It consists of three game brands—Inferno Wheel, Hamster Libre and Kai Yun Jin Bin.
The group features new ways to present the traditional bonus wheel. Inferno Wheel, with two inaugural games, features a persistent wheel feature. It also includes a free-spin feature that lets the player pick the feature’s volatility—fewer spins with higher wins or more spins with smaller wins.
A second brand in the GA Wheel series, Hamster Libre, offers a clever new take on bonus wheels, with a hamster walking the wheel to improve bonuses.
Kai Yun Jin Bi offers a new spin on multipliers. In a mystery event, a coin flips for one of two multipliers, which pair with special symbols for big wins. During a free-spin feature, all game symbols are replaced with the special symbol.
Leading slot manufacturer IGT is launching new games for all its varied product groups, with a particular focus this year on an area in which the company dominates, video poker. Earlier this year, the company released its iconic poker games, traditionally on the Game King multi-game unit, on its premium CrystalSlant cabinet, formerly only a slot cabinet.
This fall, IGT is revealing its new bartop cabinet, PeakBarTop. Complete with a 23-inch curved display and a series of technological advances including USB charging ports, enhanced lighting and audio and more, the PeakBarTop is available for the full IGT video poker content portfolio.
Slated for 2020 release, the PeakBarTop will contain evolutions of proven games such as Super Star Poker and Ultimate X Poker, as well as all the usual mainstays.
Those mainstays are growing in number, with a lineup of new video poker games for launch during the coming year. Among the highlights are Deal ‘Em Up Poker, which features rising pay-table values when Aces and face cards appear on the deal; and Super Times Pay Wheel Poker, which features bonus spins on a wheel that includes $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 and $4,000 slices.
Wheel Poker Progressive, which now has a Ten Play option, features a two-level progressive won through a wheel spin. For a one-coin ante, any natural four-of-a-kind triggers the wheel spin. On Stack ‘Em High Poker—on another new cabinet, called the Cobalt—a five-credit side bet enables a bonus triggered by two or more Aces. The Aces “stick” for a subsequent free hand.
On the premium game side, IGT is augmenting its longstanding branded licenses, particularly in the game-show genre. Jeopardy! is one of several game-show themes IGT released as slots in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and it is one of several the manufacturer is introducing in two modern versions.
Residing on the CrystalDual+ Stepper and the MegaTower Universal cabinets, the new Jeopardy! is designed for mid- to high denomination play, and includes several innovative new play mechanics. Using Triple Double Diamond as a base game, the new Jeopardy! slot is packed with primary-game mystery features and bonus events.
Some features encourage higher bets. For instance, the number of paylines on the base Triple Double Diamond video slot rises as the wager rises. Values in the bonus events and the progressive jackpots rise with the bet as well. A mystery “Random Daily Double” doubles values for five free spins.
The bonuses include a gambler-friendly “accept or reject” event. The player is given three offers for picks from the familiar Jeopardy! game board, the first two of which can be accepted or rejected.
Carrying on in the game-show mode, IGT will show its three games from The Price Is Right game family. A mechanical reel-spinning version of the game was released recently on the MegaTower Universal cabinet. At G2E, IGT will demonstrate The Price is Right games on the CrystalDual+ Stepper and CrystalCurve Ultra cabinets.
The company also is bringing back $25,000 Pyramid in its premium video portfolio. This game, designed for high-denomination play, features a frequent bonus event based on the legendary game show.
Of course, the company also is releasing new versions of its most successful game-show franchise, the venerable Wheel of Fortune. On the video side is Wheel of Fortune 4D More Money, a new version of the game using IGT’s groundbreaking 4D technology, which combines glasses-free 3D and gesture recognition technologies.
The new Wheel of Fortune 4D slot has the player grasping objects in a persistent multiplier feature, wild symbols that increase jackpot values, and jackpot odds that grow more favorable at higher bets. A highlight of IGT’s portfolio will be Wheel of Fortune Cash Link Deluxe, a continuation of the well-known Cash Link family.
Wheel of Fortune is one of several new games being shown in the TRUE 4D format at G2E. Ocean Magic 4D is an example of an internal brand that’s being brought from the core group to the premium group. Jumanji 4D is another wild TRUE 4D game that will make its global debut in the coming year.
IGT will present plenty of “homegrown” premium games as well, among them Takes the Cake 2 and Candy Bars 2. Candy Bars 2 is a colorful linked multi-level progressive slot with a persistent feature that leads to “blackout pays.” Along those same sweet lines is Takes the Cake 2, a linked progressive that brings back another classic brand.
In the core video category, IGT brings a wealth of new titles as well as revivals of classic brands. On the Crystal series hardware, new titles like Lucky Buddha feature repeating multipliers, a wheel bonus, and a persistent feature that has players chasing multipliers within a set number of spins.
Among the highlights on the mechanical reel side this year is Red Hot Tamales Jackpots!, a three-reel, 27-line progressive with a wheel bonus. A bonus symbol on the third reel triggers the wheel, which contains slices for all four progressive jackpots.
Much of the new innovations coming from Incredible Technologies this year has to do with new presentations of its games. The Infinity V55 Edge Pinwheel is IT’s unconventional answer to a standard carousel configuration. Game cabinets are separated by IT’s unique Edge monitors, 4K LED displays of customizable high-definition graphics, each angled in what the company calls a “Sawtooth” configuration to create a unique configuration that offers players privacy and service employees easy access.
This fall, IT will launch more hardware in the form of new versions of the V55, dubbed the Infinity Pilot and Infinity Summit.
The Pilot is designed to give the player an immersive experience by flanking the main 55-inch vertical monitor with two 29-inch displays—essentially, 58-inch monitors that have been cut in half. The effect is cinematic, creating what is almost a private chamber for the player. The Infinity Summit places a towering monitor above the 55-inch display.
IT will launch inaugural games for each of the new cabinets. On the Pilot will be Crazy Money Double Deluxe, a new version of Crazy Money Deluxe, a hit game in what IT calls the “money family.”
The original Crazy Money established itself as the company’s flagship brand. As is IT’s practice, it has repeated the main game mechanics of the original in sequels. All of the “money” games have the familiar game interface of various bill denominations as reel symbols. They also all offer the central feature of the theme, the “Money Catch Bonus,” in which players touch the screen to “grab” flying dollar bills, revealing credit values behind each bill.
The Pilot’s featured game, Crazy Money Double Deluxe, builds on all the features made popular by former “money” games. The main new feature is a second bonus wheel. The two wheels are displayed on the outside flanking monitors. Enhancing the experience is the frequency of the wheel-spin bonus, which occurs around once every 45 spins.
The Summit cabinet is being used to launch a new game family called Roller Wheels. The main game mechanic is based on the hit IT game Money Roll, with the reels presented as a scrolling sheet of currency. As with the Crazy Money title, the bonus wheel spins with great frequency, an average of every 45 spins.
Aside from the two big cabinet/game launches, IT will launch titles in the coming months that add to the product pipeline of the company’s other form factors. That includes new game families for the Skybox and the original Infinity V55.
On the Skybox, the company will highlight its new “SkyTower” game family with Flamingo Fire, which takes advantage of the tall vertical top monitor with the ability to “unlock” up to four additional reel sets, each spinning toward one of four progressive jackpots.
Scatter symbols trigger a progressive bonus in which the bottom reel set is cleared of all symbols except blanks, progressive symbols and keys, which must be collected to unlock each progressive level in the SkyTower. Once a level is unlocked, the progressive pieces can accumulate to collect multiple progressive awards in a single event.
A second launch title, Lady of the Tower, features a similar progressive bonus event.
On the Infinity V55 is Spirit Link, IT’s first game family featuring a hold-and-spin bonus event. On these games, scatter symbols trigger the spin of a wheel to determine a number of “Spirit Link Spins.” The main screen clears to reveal a reel set of only blanks and Lady scatters. Players then collect scatters for credit awards and keep their eyes peeled for scatters that land next to each other. When that happens, the player can touch them on the screen, after which the symbols grow in size and credit awards.
Konami is highlighting games on its giant Concerto Opus cabinet, with its imposing 65-inch flat-screen 4K monitor. One of the highlights is Treasure Lounge, a departure in style for Konami in that there are no spinning reels. Instead, the 4K screen shows a Tiki lounge.
When the player hits the spin button, various Tiki symbols slide onto the screen in five columns of random height. Any columns which are tall enough to reach the blue credit prize symbols displayed in the upper part of the screen claim those rewards.
The base game consists of hitting the button and getting the Tikis to a pay zone. Rather than having reels spinning, Tiki heads come out of the ground, and where they stop is what you’re awarded. It’s all over the sound of relaxing island background music.
If a bonus reel appears in the upper half of the screen, players win either the Tiki Drop Feature, Tiki Rise Feature, or both combined. In the Tiki Drop feature, additional Tiki symbols are randomly dropped across the reel frame, and in the Tiki Rise Feature, stacks of Tiki symbols nudge to the height of the tallest Tiki for added win potential.
Konami also is launching an entirely new lineup of premium games at G2E. One standout is Silent Hill, based on the Konami horror video game released in 1999. (In 2006, the game was adapted into the film Silent Hill, about subterranean supernatural creatures under an abandoned town.)
The game features a bonus in which supernatural creatures living under the town of Silent Hill attack you, and you have to defend yourself to win credit prizes.
Novomatic is concentrating on premium progressive links in its new game lineup this year, in several different game styles.
At the top of the list is Money Party, with launch games Fruity Fruity and Juicy Juicy. The games are both five-reel, 50-line four-level progressive slots on the Panthera 1.43 Curve cabinet, and both base games are loaded with fruit symbols.
The main Money Party Feature is a lock-and-spin feature in which coins labeled with prizes hold in place for three spins, and reset back to three spins with any additional coin symbols. Filling the entire screen with coin symbols returns double the accumulated coin value.
There are two symbol-based progressives, resetting at $500 and $10,000, plus two fixed jackpots.
Another new progressive entry is an addition to the Pay Day link, which features a ladder-style lineup of eight progressive jackpots won by landing scattered Pay Day symbols—ranging from a fixed prize of $30 for five symbols to the top progressive jackpot resetting at $12,000 for 10 symbols. The first two games in the series, Prize Panda and Prize of the Nile, feature up to 20 free spins with all non-progressive jackpots tripled.
The new entry in the series, called Pay Day Plus, improves on that feature. Instead of 3X in the free spins, it awards 2X, 3X or 5X, creating a chance for some very large prizes.
Another standout progressive link is Samurai Beauty, also a four-level progressive with a lock-and-spin feature, this one on the V.I.P. Lounge 1.43 Curve cabinet. Like Pay Day, the game also features a free-spin bonus and mystery expanding wilds.
New progressives also are on tap for Novomatic Americas’ core video slots. One of the big standouts there is Dragon Hits, in the Novo Line on three different cabinets.
Dragon Hits features a three-level, must-hit-by progressive. The Fire Dragon, Gold Dragon and Jade Dragon are each free-game trigger symbols, leading to anywhere from five to 25 free games, depending on the symbol and how many of them land. But each symbol also corresponds to one of the progressives, which are mystery must-hit-by prizes that are awarded at random during the free-game events corresponding to the jackpots.
As is becoming the norm, Scientific Games will introduce yet another new cabinet this year, with exclusive launch games to go with it. Last spring, the company launched the TwinStar Wave XL cabinet. Billed as the successor to the pioneering Pro Wave cabinet—the industry’s first curved-monitor form factor—the Wave XL features a 49-inch 4K Ultra High Definition display, a large iDeck panel and an advanced lighting and sound package.
One of the highlighted games for the Wave XL will be the Drop & Lock series, which features a hold-and-spin mechanic combined with a cascading reels feature. In the bonus free games, matching icons return credit awards and then drop off the screen, with new symbols dropping down to replace them.
Also on the Wave XL is a new family of products called Super Colossal Reels, launching with two new themes—Lil’Red and Spartacus. These feature a new take on the highly successful Colossal Reels mechanic, with a multiplier on the last reel and a new four-level progressive.
These games will be joined on the new cabinet with an expanded portfolio including proven, blockbuster titles such as Dragon Spin-Age of Fire and Cash Wizard World.
Another new cabinet will be launched on the mechanical reel-spinning side. The TwinStar 5-Reel Mechanical (5RM) will launch with a mechanical-reel version of the video hit Dancing Drums, the multiple-progressive ways-to-win game that is one of SG’s most popular games.
In the premium space, Scientific Games is combining proven internal brands with licensed titles that augment current proven franchises such as James Bond and Monopoly.
Heading the additions to internal franchises is Ultra Hot Fire Link, the next generation of the Ultimate Fire Link. The games in this series are multiple progressives featuring free-spin bonuses and the Fire Link Feature, a lock-and-spin feature that has players accumulating fireballs on the reels for a cumulative award.
SG also is refreshing other strong internal brands, including Ultimate Cash Spin, which reimagines the company’s popular U-Spin bonus by allowing the player to physically turn the wheel on the new TwinStar J43 Motion Wheel cabinet.
SG will continue to drive some of its top licenses on the Gamefield 2.0 cabinet, which incorporates a J-curved monitor connected to large-format curved landscape monitor to create an expanded “game field.” Munchkinland, the latest in the long-running series of games based on The Wizard of Oz, was launched earlier this year.
In the coming months, Gamefield 2.0 will host new games in The Lord of the Rings and Willy Wonka game groups—The Hobbit in the former and Willy Wonka-Everlasting Gobstopper in the latter.
Yet another new cabinet is the Wave XL Horizon, another form factor utilizing a 49-inch portrait curved display with 4K UHD graphics, integrating a massive 65-inch overhead monitor for a more breathtaking gaming experience.
Scientific Games will launch it with James Bond: Die Another Day and a new Monopoly Money Grab game.
Another new form factor launching at the show will be the TwinStar Ballistic cabinet, taking a new gaming spin on an amusement-style product. Launching with the popular Gold Fish Frenzy character, players watch as the cabinet releases balls from the top and physically drop through a pachinko-style peg board with the goal of landing the balls into fish bowls.
Other new game refreshes are on tap for previously released cabinets. On the giant TwinStar V75 cabinet will be a new Wizard of Oz theme, Emerald City. Also on that cabinet will be a new version of Bier Haus, Oktoberfest, with entertaining effects surrounding giant beer mugs and the main Bavarian barmaid character.
And on the TwinStar 3RM mechanical reel-spinning cabinet will be two new Monopoly games, plus a new version of Monte Carlo, the legendary Bally game that actually incorporated the industry’s first wheel bonus back in the 1970s. The wheel on top is designed like the original wheel, which used a rotating ball on a stick as the indicator.
Synergy Blue is another emerging slot manufacturer specializing in games with skill-based elements. Many are designed to appeal to younger players—there are driving games, shooting games, and even games played with joysticks. And despite the term “skill-based,” the company reports the games use a combination of skill and chance, but in a way that appeals to Gen Xers to millennials and people who play Candy Crush or Panda Pop.
Some of the company’s games this year, like Safari Match, Cocktail Crush, Zombies and Candy Cash are designed so as not to penalize somebody who comes in with very little skill, but the more skill employed, the higher the rewards can raise.