Rating 2021’s Online Slot Releases – The Winners and Losers

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Online Slot Releases

The pandemic may have slowed down production in many industries, but the online casino industry is not one among them! With land-based casinos hit hard by lockdowns, quarantines, and travel restrictions, online gambling is in hyper-growth mode.

In 2021, casino game providers released over 700 video slots – that is a lot of reels to spin! Clearly, the demand for online casino gaming is on the rise. But one question remains to be answered. Are all these games worth your time?

Online Slots – What Makes a “Winner”

The recipe for the perfect online video slot has many ingredients. The presentation needs to be top-notch, with full HD graphics and polished animations. And you need original stories and themes – the industry is full of clones that recycle the same old Egypt/Aztec/Viking stuff.

Bonus rounds and unusual reel setups can add a whiff of freshness to the proceedings as well. High-quality sound mixing, with catchy tunes and fun effects, can also increase the level of engagement in the slot.

But at the end of the day, Return to Player (RTP) is king when it comes to picking a “good” or “great” slot. Even if the visuals are dated, a high RTP rating can make a slot worth your while. However, the opposite is not true – playing a slot with great visuals but low RTP would be like driving a Ferrari, but with a Yugo 55 engine.

The Winners – Best 2021 Slots

These slots were picked based on the following combination of factors that helped them stand out from the pack:

  • Presentation quality

  • Innovation in themes

  • RTP rating of above 96%

This is NOT an exhaustive list, with over 700 new releases, there are plenty of candidates for the top spots. But these five are good enough to make the cut and represent the collection of good slots released in 2021:

Lovefool – Playtech

A Valentine’s Day release, this romance-themed slot stands out from the crowd due to its unique theme and excellent design. The max RTP of 96.32 and max payout of 50,000x your stake also helps. Whether you are in the mood for some love, or just looking to win some coin, this Playtech slot is well worth your time and money.

Bigger Bass Bonanza – Pragmatic Play

Pragmatic Play gets another winner this year with this fishing-themed slot, a sequel to the Big Bass Bonanza slot launched in 2020. This time around, you get a massive 96.71% RTP, combined with high volatility and the ability to win up to 4000x your stake. Also, the aquatic theme with cartoon vibes is absolutely on point – a great slot if you want to just relax and spin the reels.

Hyperstrike – Microgaming

Microgaming’s tribute to old-school fruit machines is a riot of colors. The cute soundtrack that reminds you of Japanese anime is also quite addictive. On the screen, you get 5 reels in a 5×3 grid, in a hot pink background. The slot has medium volatility and an RTP of 96.24, very respectable in general and ideal for new players.

Gonzo’s Gold – Netent

The folks at Netent can’t seem to get enough of Gonzo’s Quest. After the classic was released in 2011, we have seen a Megaways version and even one for VR. Now, a proper sequel is available at Netent online casinos, with a top jackpot worth 5000x your initial stake. Netent promises an RTP of 96.11% which makes Gonzo’s Gold one of the better-rated slots in their catalog.

Atlantis: the Forgotten Kingdom

Microgaming’s second entry on our list is based around the legend of the Atlantis, a theme we have seen explored by other providers in the past. But when a slot comes from Microgaming, we can expect something special. And they have delivered that here, with exceptional graphic design and presentation, along with a more-than-decent player return of 96.19%.

And if you plan to give any of these slots a spin, why not do it for free with some casino bonuses? We visited NoDepositDaily to find new no deposit free spins bonuses for 2021s winners. And we were not disappointed – you can rely on this site for some tasty bonus spins at trusted online casinos.

The Losers – Avoid These Slots

Slots can never match the returns you can get from blackjack or baccarat. The industry doesn’t work like that. When providers spend a lot of time crafting innovative designs and themes, they expect a payback. So, the relatively lower RTP is somewhat justified.

But what we cannot justify is taking the RTP down too low. While 96% is the desirable cut-off, you can still have a reasonably good time playing slots with 95% or even 94% RTP. But when you start going down to 93% and lower, it is basically a waste of money.

All the top providers have many slots with RTP below 93%, just take a look at these examples:

  • Netent – Relic Raiders, Super Lucky Frog

  • Pragmatic Play – 7 Monkeys, Tales of Egypt

  • Microgaming – Roman Riches, Ruby Reels

  • Betsoft – Gladiator, Enchanted

  • Playtech – Ghost of Christmas, Wanted Dead or Alive

Before you play any new slot from 2021, take a look at the RTP rating. We can only think of one situation where playing a slot with low RTP is acceptable – it has to be a progressive jackpot like Mega Moolah or Wow Pot. With those slots, you get a chance to win millions of dollars with a single spin. In all other instances, stick with slots that promise at least 94% RTP, ideally 96%.