Virtual slot machines are a popular choice these days with online gamblers. A large factor behind this is the enormous number of titles from which players can choose from. With such an oversaturated market at our fingertips, it can often be difficult for the more cautious gamblers amongst us to find a slot we want to play for real money.
Fortunately, any developer worth their salt also offers their title to play entirely for free. Whether you’re looking for an entertaining way to take the plunge into playing the games for real, or simply enjoy a few spins without needing the thrill of a potential big win to spur you on, you should find the ideal virtual slot machine title from our top picks below.
Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (BetSoft)
If you like highly stylised games that have loads of character, amazing animation, and a raft of exciting bonus features, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde might be perfect for you. The transforming reels, frenzy feature, potions bonus, and free spin mode are difficult to see within a single session and this substantially increases the game’s replay value. Then there’s the animation.
Throughout the game, players are treated to some of BetSoft’s finest visual work. The midnight maraud through the streets of London during the game’s special features is simply stunning and even the main game has pleasing artistic touches like the strolling Dr Jekyll and the stylised game controls at the bottom of the gameboard.
Unfortunately, there is a bit of a drawback or two with the title. The first is that the upper betting limit is just £150. Of course, if you’re playing it for free, this doesn’t matter one bit. More imposing, however, is the animated Dr Jekyll. Even play-money gamers might get a bit fed up of listening to him “umming” and “ahhing” around the reels, tinkering with various pieces of scientific equipment as he goes.
It’s fun at first but the sound effects are rather intrusive. Fortunately, BetSoft anticipated this and allowed players the option to silence the sounds without muting the suitably atmospheric background tune. This does mean they’ll not be able to hear the action unfold in the second screen games like the “frenzy feature” which is certainly another flaw – albeit a minor one.
A Christmas Carol slot review (BetSoft)
As with the previously mentioned Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde online slot, A Christmas Carol is a beautiful example of what the skilled art department at BetSoft is capable of. As you probably guessed, it’s themed around the classic Charles Dickens novel – a brilliantly atmospheric tale which gives the slot developer a lot to work with. During the game, the main character of the book, Scrooge, is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. These bonus features are gloriously animated and the stylistic representation of the spectres is something to behold.
However, a Christmas Carol isn’t just a great looking game. Each of the game’s ghosts offers a different prize to enhance both the gameplay experience and the chances of hitting a big win if you decide to play for real money. Unfortunately, as with other BetSoft titles, the betting limits are low but if you’re just playing for free it hardly matters.
All told, A Christmas Carol is a fine example of how a virtual slot machine can be much more than a means to gamble. The game manages to provide a stylistic representation of a piece of classic literature that stays true to its source material whilst adding gameplay features that are relevant, fun, and potentially lucrative.
The Pink Panther (Playtech)
Based on the 1960s cartoon and movie, The Pink Panther slot is certainly one of iGaming veterans Playtech’s finest machines. It’s a fantastic title largely due to its strong bonus features, and true-to-original-content looks – also, who doesn’t love looking in on the adventures of a bipedal, fuchsia feline? Click here for Pink Panther clips.
The Pink Panther slot machine also features a progressive jackpot. Called “Jackpot Adventure”, the mode allows players to hunt for one of two extra juicy bonus prizes. There’s the “Major Pink” and “Minor Pink” and as with most of the game’s special features, they’re both triggered randomly. Players can, however, influence the triggering of these ever-increasing prizes by upping their bet sizes. Even using minimum stakes, they’re potentially eligible to win the ultimate pay-outs.
In addition to the progressive jackpots, there are several other bonus rounds. “The Color Pink”, “Crack the Code”, and “Pink Pow” all increase the replay value of The Pink Panther and it’s unlikely that players will manage to experience them all on a single visitation.
All told, thanks to its 1960s, Hanna-Barbera art style, it’s wonderfully diverse bonus features, and the chance to play for a truly lifechanging sum of money, The Pink Panther slot is right up there with the industry’s best.
Nostradamus: Prophecy (Playtech)
Aside from its kind of bizarre cutscene introduction (we’re just not sure what the heavy metal soundtrack is all about), the Nostradamus slot from Playtech is a shining example of how great a video slot machine can be when designed by a suitably creative team. It’s absolutely rammed with features, and has a strong look and feel. The music, art style and thematically-relevant bonuses combine to create a very strong package indeed.
The randomly awarded Nostradamus Prediction feature is potentially a lucrative one. It can award multipliers, reel modifiers, or just big wins. Different features can also affect gameplay during the game’s free spin mode. There’s an earthquake which causes random collapsing symbols, lightning that transforms up to four symbols into “wilds”, and the Tsunami. The last of the game’s three reel multipliers has the power to create stacked wilds.
Another great feature is the Planets Bonus, which is played on a second screen away from the main game. Players are taken up to the heavens to see if the stars will align for them. They can see the solar system, and astral bodies in orbit. These must land on a win line to award the multiplier displayed next to them. It’s even possible to hit all six planets simultaneously for an absolutely enormous prize.
Thanks largely to its varied collection of features, and aided by its fantastic art style and mysterious feel, Nostradamus: Prophecy, is a slot that will delight players on multiple visits. The diverse bonus rounds keep things fresh, and the theme is neither typical nor dull. All told, this one from Playtech is a winner. Now, if only we could predict when the jackpot would drop!
Emoji Planet (NetEnt)
NetEnt took a novel and original approach to gameboard design when they created Emoji Planet. Rather than use a standard five by three reel layout, they instead opted for a huge six by six grid upon which to play. As well as the new structure, there’s a modern approach to win lines too. Rather than paying out for matching symbols across horizontal pay lines, the game instead pays for “clusters”.
Any matching symbols, either vertically or horizontally adjacent to each other, will form a win. The minimum number of symbols to form a paying cluster is five. When a winning “spin” is made, the symbols that contributed to the winning cluster disappear and are replaced by new ones. This process can repeat if new wins appear and can occur indefinitely.
Whilst Emoji Planet doesn’t offer players any free spins, or second screen bonus rounds, there are some features that really spice up gameplay. These are awarded by collecting 12 of the same type of symbol during a single round of spins. All these special additional features can be active at any one time and they hugely increase the likelihood of a big win.
The features are a bomb which can destroy random symbols causing more to drop, pizza which creates a huge block of matching symbols leading to big wins, a pair of lips which will add three “sticky wild” symbols to the reels, a rocket which adds a stack of 10 “wilds” to the reels, and hearts which adds a juicy multiplier.
Of course, these are just a tiny sample of the many great games out there. Examples of additional titles that can be played for free with no cash deposit required can be found here. Discovering a slot machine that’s just right for you comes down to personal preference and will vary hugely from player to player. Fortunately, with free games like the ones we’ve listed, there’s no limit on the number of times or titles that you can sample.
If none of our suggestions above did it for you, then why not browse around the big developers’ sites to see which new games they have coming out? Being such a competitive industry, it’s never long before one of the larger names drops an innovative new title that seeks to win the acclaim of the entire online gambling community. You’ve just got to see what’s out there and what’s right for you.