It’s nearly the end of the 2010s and what a decade it’s been. Music, film, and technology have all made great strides; if you want an indication of all that’s happened, the first Avengers movie came out in 2012! It’s not just those mediums that have experienced a hefty amount of innovation though, the slot world has also seen huge changes take place. We’ve seen new mechanics, engines, and more. Because of this, we at RTP think the end of 2019 needs to be celebrated properly, and the various developers and brands that have given us so many quality titles should be too. So, for the next couple of months, we’re going to be showing the crème de la crème of online gaming, with different categories and providers. Here, we’re kicking it off with the best 2020 slots, newly released games we think are going to be huge successes in the coming year. We have heavy hitters, hidden gems, and everything in between, so let’s jump straight in.
Now, we couldn’t possibly make a list of great slot games without featuring at least one NetEnt title. The developer has a level of consistency few others can match and regularly pumps out top-notch titles. Many of them are licensed games from huge properties in other media, such as film or T.V, and we have picked one of those for the first entry here. Narcos’ slot popularity hasn’t just come from its associations with the TV show; it’s genuinely one of the best games released this year. To start, the graphics are breath-taking and display a cell-shaded aesthetic similar to a Grand Theft Auto game. Add to that a thrilling theme, and you get a dazzling interface.
There is a raft of bonus features too. First off, there are Walking Wilds, which will occur when a wild lands in a winning combination. Each spin after the win will see the symbol move one reel to the left, potentially generating new wins. Then there is the randomly triggered Drive-By feature, which sees an animated group of robbers shoot up the reels, turning some high-value symbols wild. After that, you have the Locked-Up bonus, which is triggered by landing the scatter symbol three times. An instant win will be dispensed before a new reel set is introduced containing Golden Briefcases and the Locked-Up symbol. Land the former and you will receive coin prizes, multipliers, and extra spins. Finally, there is a free spins round, which will trigger when you land the car scatter symbol on the first, third, and fifth reel in a single spin. You will then be treated to 10 free spins, with the Drive-By feature in effect. On top of that, if any Walking Wilds remain before the spins have finished, they will continue until the wilds are gone.
Pirates Plenty Battle for Gold
Our second entry is a sequel to one of Red Tiger Gaming’s most popular properties; Pirates Plenty. The original proved to be an immediate success, mostly down to its progressive bonuses and quality graphics. It is, unsurprisingly, based on pirates and every aspect of the aesthetic has been crafted to show this off. The base game takes place in the Captain’s quarters, with piles of gold, cutlasses, and more buccaneer-themed objects. It’s a feast for the eyes and represents the theme perfectly. What’s more, the bonus features aren’t too shabby either.
The first of these is the Wild Island Reel, which is triggered by filling a bar at the top of the reels with treasure map symbols. Once activated, a new reel will appear, increasing the number of paylines and potential wins. This will remain in place as long as you stay on the same bet level. Be on the lookout for the Wild Monkey too, as he can randomly jump onto the reels and remove any low-value symbols. You’ll then be treated to a re-spin and, if he collected an icon for each of the playing card suits, a 4x multiplier will be applied. Finally, there is the Battle Spins round, which is triggered by landing the scatter three times in a single spin. You will receive a random number of spins and maybe a few sticky wilds. Plus, Captain Blackbeard might show up and blast the reels with his bombs. This will add more spins, wilds and multipliers, though the cannons fire can also offer the same rewards.
The original Pirates Plenty features similar gameplay and visuals, so try that out if you want an idea of what this one will be like.
Butterfly Staxx 2
Have you ever wanted a slot that blends engaging gameplay with the wonderful world of entomology? Well, it’s certainly a niche genre, but NetEnt is prepared with Butterfly Staxx 2! It’s a far cry from the studio’s usual slots, such as Narcos, which tend to be quite dark or serious in terms of theme. With this game, though, that is replaced by bright, colourful imagery and visuals, and a theme far removed from such gritty subject matter. The symbols are a mix of different coloured flowers and a butterfly that can shine when certain bonuses are triggered. The whole display is mystical, with dominant shades of purple and a naturalistic landscape filled with tundra and vines.
While the subject matter might be a big departure from NetEnt’s usual schtick, the bonus features remain as engaging as ever. The first of these is the re-spin, which will trigger if you land the butterfly symbol fully stacked. All instances of this symbol will then shift to the leftmost row with no butterflies on and then the spin will initiate. Then we have the free spins round, which will trigger after the scatter is landed on the first, third, and fifth reels. Pick the Butterfly Spins and you will be treated to a round where cocoon symbols land exclusively, and can then turn into butterflies. You can choose the Butterfly Frenzy instead, which will start a ‘pick me’ game, where you can win multiple coin prizes.
If this sounds like a game you’d like to play, why not try the original first?
Gorilla Go Wilder
We end with another sequel and another zany theme, delivered to us by developers NextGen Gaming. It follows Gary the Gorilla as he ventures across various tropical locations. Like the others on this list, it excels on a graphical level, offering a variety of settings such as a tiki bar, and a waterfall. This adds a diversity to the game that is almost unheard of in slots; each island offers a unique bonus and has personalised characteristics. While this is most important in gameplay terms, it serves to heighten the visual experience.
The first bonus is the Seashell feature, which can trigger randomly on any spin. All the symbols will be replaced by Seashells and blanks before a re-spin is initiated. Any seashells you land will reward you with a coin prize and another spin. Then there is the Bonus Island, which is about as comprehensive a feature as we’ve seen. Land three, four, or five of the game’s scatter symbols and you will receive a coin prize, dependent on how many you landed. Once triggered, you will be given the option of travelling to any of the islands but, once you’ve picked, you will have to re-trigger the bonus a certain number of times to unlock the others. Each of these settings will offer unique modifiers and rewards, such as multiplier zones on the reels and extra high-value symbols. The fact it saves your session progress, and allows you to continue reaching new islands, keeps each play of the game feeling fresh.
If you fancy seeing some of Gary’s earlier vacations, you can try the first Gorilla Go Wild here.