Another year, another new bunch of slots to play. Every year always brings its own surprises and although 2015 was particularly strong, we can't dwell on the successes of the year gone by.
So looking forward into the next 12 months, what are the slots we can expect? What are the innovations we are going to see in our slots? And which company will come out on top as the best slot provider in the biz? There's only so much we know for now, but using what we do know, let's take a look at the slots to get excited for in 2016.
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The NetEnt Slots
NetEnt are among the biggest, if not the biggest slot provider in the world. If you're ever going to write a list of slots to look forward to, which this conveniently is, then NetEnt is going to have to appear at some point.
Upcoming – Guns ‘N Roses
We've already heard a ton about this slot and have already previewed it ourselves, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't still be excited about it. The release of Guns ‘N Roses is agonisingly close, slated for a release on the 21st January.
This slot is set to bring us one of the most feature packed slots that NetEnt have released in a good long while. There are crucifix shaped wild symbols which will cover multiple reels. Random multipliers can be spun, which can offer you a multiplier of up to 40x.
Random respins can occur when certain symbols are spun and these are entirely separate from the two bonus rounds on offer; which include free spins and a wheel of fortune-esque minigame.
So the slot offers not only regular wild symbols, but also has scatter symbols that can give you multipliers, respins, further wild symbols and then go on to unlock 2 bonus rounds. If there was ever a slot with more features, please let us know.
The Mysteries – Aloha & Driver
NetEnt have only announced 2 new additional slots for this year so far, both of which are set to be released in April and March respectively. At the moment all we know are their names. There's Aloha and then there's Driver.
We could take a confident guess at the themes of each slot. It's safe to say Aloha is Hawaiian themed and Driver will revolve around racing of some kind, but outside of that, not much has been stated about either of them.
Based on NetEnt's history, we know that they'll be good, but NetEnt have been getting a lot more experimental with their releases as of late. Announcing them this early would certainly suggest that these slots are enough to be getting even NetEnt excited. And if Netent's excited, then we are too.
The Quickspin Slots
Quickspin have had a pretty amazing 2015. A few years ago we wouldn't have been particularly excited about a new Quickspin slot. The company seemed to be on autopilot throughout the last few years. Yet within the last year or two, Quickspin have stepped up to the plate and gone into overdrive when it comes to creating great slots. So will this trend continue into the new year?
Genie's Touch is set to land on 16th February, marking the first of the major releases for Quickspin during 2016. The slot comes with all the expected bells and whistles, including a free spins mode. But don't worry, we wouldn't be mentioning it if there wasn't a little more than that.
Every time you spin 3 lamp symbols, the genie of the lamp will turn any adjacent symbols into matching symbols, always picking the optimum win combination. So anytime you spin these scatter symbols, you're in for potentially receiving 3 separate lines of the best wins you can possibly get.
Obviously it's a case of seeing how regularly this feature actually comes into play. But the idea of it is certainly an interesting proposition from Quickspin to start off 2016 with a bang.
Wild Chase is a much more long distance release, arriving on April 12th. Wild Chase features a gameplay element we last saw in King of Slots and it was interesting enough that we'd definitely be happy to see it again. That gameplay feature is respins on every win, with all winning symbols remaining locked in place.
In that way, every single winning spin, can lead to many more successful respins. But this isn't the end of it. Multiplier wilds are also available, multiplying any win that they are included in.
So what we have is a slot where you not only receive respins for every win, but also can receive multipliers on those spins. We are incredibly excited for this slot. It looks to have fast paced gameplay to match its name.
The Microgaming Slots
Microgaming usually play it pretty safe with their slots. Microgaming release a handful of slots throughout the year and so we can expect several more announcements as the months of 2016 roll in. But Microgaming's first release of the year, is looking to be an extra special treat.
The only Microgaming slot on the horizon is Dragon Dance, which is expected to drop in February. Dragon Dance is a particularly interesting addition to the Microgaming library. All the standard features of a Microgaming slot are here. They've kept the 5×3 reel layout and as always, have no paylines, instead focusing on the 243 ways to win.
But Microgaming have now added a pay to respin feature in their latest slot. Whenever you have spun your reels, you will be given the opportunity to respin one reel, while keeping the other reels locked in place.
You'll be charged for your respins, with the charge being relative to the potential amount you could win. So if you're going to respin on what could potentially be a great line of symbols, the cost to do so will be much higher than a less valuable line of symbols.
It's an interesting idea and there are very few slots that allow you to gamble more money in order to change your outcomes. We'll be looking forward to this slot when it lands in February and suggest you do the same.
The Best Of 2015
In 2015 we saw a lot of innovative features added to some amazing slots. We had collosal symbols in Spinata Grande, offering the slot hugely varied sized symbols that stretched across multiple reels. That concept in itself was interesting enough to grab the slot several well deserved game of the year awards.
We had Dazzle Me, which offered an entirely new take on the very shape of the slot itself. Outside of Netent slots, we also had Elk Studio's Taco Brothers which offered a big budget high octane free spins mode.
Even small surprises like the little known Greedy Goblinz managed to offer us something we'd never seen before.
2015 was a great year for slots. The ones we've looked at are just the start of the year's offerings and some are still just a name and a few guesses. We're looking forward to what 2016 has to offer. But one thing is for sure. It's going to struggle to compete with 2015.