Over time, online casinos have become a major part of the online gaming world. Even in the U.S., where real-money casino gaming is still widely prohibited, business is booming where it’s allowed. Per a report at The Nevada Independent, in just six states where online casino gaming is legal (Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia), $3.71 billion was generated in 2021 alone.
That revenue comes from a variety of games, from digital roulette to poker tournaments. No games are more popular or prevalent on today’s online casinos, however, than video slots. Essentially defined as more graphically advanced slots –– incorporating animations and video content –– these games have transformed internet-based slots from monotonous bores into proper arcade experiences. And because they’re beginning to generate significant activity (and already do so abroad), we thought we’d take a look at some of the best examples from the category.
Street Fighter 2
The original Street Fighter 2 first came out in 1991. However, it is still considered by most to be the best game in the extensive Street Fighter franchise –– as well as something of a template for many of the other excellent titles. As was illustrated in a review by Old Game Hermit just a few years ago, this game led directly to spinoff versions including Street Fighter: The World Warrior, Street Fighter: Champion Edition, Street Fighter 2 Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers, and more (to say nothing of core series sequels). What many miss, however, is that a Street Fighter 2 slot game can be added to the list. This slot is a spectacular play on the original game, featuring licensed character and location content from Capcom. Imagine your favorite Street Fighter characters fighting it out based on slot machine outcomes and you’re on the right track!
Buffalo Blitz 2
Playtech’s Buffalo Blitz series is fast becoming one of the most revered in the casino space. As of this writing, Buffalo Blitz 2 is the latest game in said series, and it’s become popular enough to garner front-and-center placement on a variety of casino platforms. This slot essentially places you in an expansive natural setting reminiscent of the American West, with wild animals (bears, bobcats, buffalo, etc.) serving as reel symbols. It’s a straightforward theme in the end, but incredibly smooth gameplay and appealing artwork ultimately make it a very pleasant experience –– not to mention one with all sorts of fun boosts and bonuses for those playing with real cash.
Thor’s Vengeance by Red Tiger is a fascinating game. You won’t see it quite as frequently as Buffalo Blitz 2. The game is among the popular options at Gala Spins however, and appears high in the ranks at a few slightly smaller platforms as well. The other thing that makes it interesting, however, is that it’s the lone game to effectively circumvent a Disney decision (years ago) to pull branded Marvel content from online casinos. Because Thor is of course a mythological figure and not just a Marvel superhero, this slot is still able to use him in a sort of original form. Thus, we essentially have a popular mythical god-slash-superhero at the center of a gorgeous slot game filled with Norse symbols and lightning effects.
The Greatest Train Robbery
It’s a little bit difficult to describe, but this brilliant slot –– another by Red Tiger –– is basically oriented such that the reels take the place of train tracks, and you have a bird’s-eye view. Rather than spinning normally, the reels rumble along like trains –– and when you earn payouts, outlaws ride by on horseback to hurl dynamite onto the tracks and free your treasures. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most inventive and enjoyable games in the online casino world.
Drive: Mayhem Multiplier
Finally there’s Drive: Mayhem Multiplier –– an ingenious NetEnt slot that incorporates a street-racing theme. Now, this isn’t quite Drive Club in slot form, nor does it pack the car content of Forza Horizon 3; it’s neither a NASCAR nor Formula 1 experience. With all of that said though, it does give you a feeling that you’re running a race about as well as a slot game can. Basically, your work on the slots is in part aimed at collecting “nitro,” which helps your car to advance in an ongoing race. On top of this concept, high-speed animations and a sort of underground, after-hours aesthetic combine to form a convincing atmosphere, and make a genuine racing game out of a slot arcade.
There are a lot of excellent games spread out across online casinos. These five, however, do as much to showcase the category as any.