The cardinal sins of slot gaming and the games that made them

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Over the last few weeks, we have enjoyed taking a retrospective look at some of the very best games I've reviewed over the years for and it has been great to revisit some of these games and enjoy a few more spins on the large number of outstanding slots that a number of different developers have released over the years.

But of course, there is a flip side to that and that is those games that have been reviewed which, for one or more reasons, don't really cut it at the top level of online slot gaming. If the top slots are the games that are hits, then these slots are definitely the misses.

But before we take a look at these games, we need to first understand what the mistakes are that these slot made that makes them rank poorly against their competitors and it is usually down to one or more of these errors being present in a slot that sees this low rating inevitable.

The cardinal sins of slots

  • Poor Value for Money - This is the fundamental for any slot. Sure, a slot player knows that they are likely to lose out on the deal when they play slots, but the worst games are those that seem to just eat your bankroll and never off you a crumb of comfort. It's not a high variance problem alone, many mid to lower variance games have such small wins, often just a fraction of your total bet, that even if you win regularly, you still lose money.
  • Problems with Bonus Features - There are any number of problems with a slots bonus features that can result in a major issue. Firstly, the slot may not have any as such (some retro slot games don't have bonus features on purpose, but that is a different thing to a modern slot purposely not electing to have a bonus). Or the slot may have a bonus that is just too difficult to trigger, or which when triggered only offers a very small chance of a decent payout and instead pays very small amounts that make triggering the bonus almost redundant. Other issues with bonuses include making it too hard for the players to trigger the bonus (and thus the expense to do so is not worth it for the potential reward) or having just boring bonus features that don't excite the player any more than the base game.
  • Too Expensive to play - We much prefer slots that offer players a range of prices to play so that slot players from the highest of high rollers, to those who like to spin for micro stakes, can all participate. This makes a slot adaptable to all levels of play. Therefore, a slot that is too expensive to play means that many micro and lower stakes players won't be able to afford to play that slot. On the other end of the scale, we also like to see slots offer bigger value stakes for higher rollers too, though there are not nearly so many of this type of player as low or micro stakes players.
  • Lack of Imagination - There's nothing worse than a slot game that you load up excitedly to discover that it is simply a rehash of an older (and often in many cases, better) slot. The same can be said for companies that simply rehash the same types of bonuses and payouts in different slots. Of course, there is always going to be repetition, but the best slot games are those that pack in originality among their theme and features. Not many people go back to play a boring slot.
  • Confusing Game-Play - The vast majority of slots are easy to play, but occasionally a slot game developer will try something more ambitious. This can result in some brilliantly innovative games on the one hand, or on the other, a complete mess that is difficult to follow and understand and leaves players bemused as to what is actually happening in the game.
  • Too Few Pay Lines - The balance between the number of symbols on the reel and the number of pay lines is crucial for a slot. If you have a slot with a higher than normal number of symbols, then you need more pay lines for the slot to offer a better chance of success. Most slots tread this fine line very nicely, but there are a number that offer far too few pay lines for the size of the slot and the number of symbols on the reels.

The final caveat I would add at this point is that the games that one person may not rate highly, may well be enjoyed by another player hugely. This is the lot of a slot reviewer I am afraid and it is rare for slot reviewers to have the same opinion on the same slot.

The very nature of slots and how they reward players mean that 10 different players can have 10 very different experiences ranging from players that love the game, to players that loathe it. Slot reviewers are no different and our views are subjective, rather than conclusive, though we do try to back this up with evidence when we can.

As such, it is worth remembering that these reviews are simply a snapshot through time. Some of these slots may be worth going back to and trying again and, who knows, maybe one day I will to see if I revise my opinion on them. I'd be surprised if I didn't given the hundreds of slots I've played that I either started off loving or hating, and then my opinion on them changed within the space of a few minutes, hours or days.

So, without any further ado, here's our list of the slots we've reviewed that we think are best avoided.

  1. Chariots of Fire (Rival Gaming) - Strangely, one of the most popular Rival Gaming slots, but when I reviewed it, it did nothing for me earning only 2 stars.
  2. Enchanted Garden (Realtime Gaming) - A rare poor one from Realtime Gaming who usually produce some cracking slots. For me, this Enchanted Garden was overgrown with weeds earning only 2 stars as well.
  3. 888 Dragons (Pragmatic Play) - Another 2 star game, this time an Asian themed slot which didn't bare comparison with many of the other games available in this genre and which was poor due to the low value pays.
  4. Achilles (Realtime Gaming) - I seem to have it in for historic slots as Achilles is another popular Realtime Gaming slot that is often in the top five most played each month but which for me had it's own Achilles heel and 2 star rating, oh the irony of it all.
  5. Cool Bananas (WGS Technology) - Can you call this a slot? Well that is how it was marketed and while I appreciated the novelty value of the game, I don't think it is really something that slot players are going to warm to a great deal. Our rating is Basic, 2 stars.
  6. Crystal Waters (Realtime Gaming) - I am certain that the slot shares the same name of a singer that had a hit with Gypsy Woman back in the 1990s. This dolphin and sea-themed slot sank for me without a trace.
  7. Plentiful Treasure (Realtime Gaming) - This is where opinions will differ. Lots of people love this slot as it is one of Realtime Gaming's most popularly played games each month, but for me, it left me cold and the treasure chest for me, was empty.
  8. Sensational Sixes (Rival Gaming) - A simple retro-styled slot that didn't have anything memorable about it and which only offered limited game-play and seemed unduly punitive to the punter when playing. A 3-star rating means it is still enjoyable.
  9. Triple 10X Wild (WGS Technology) - Another one where I differ from the vast majority who play this game in their droves every month. A simple, retro slot with a 10x multiplier, but it can be fiendishly difficult to land any decent wins on this slot. You'll find better WGS Technology games in this article.
  10. Vikings' Victory (Maelstrom Gaming) - There's a few corking Viking games about nowadays but this effort from Maelstrom Gaming isn't one of them in my view. A game that suffers because they are so many more better Viking titles available. Still it is enjoyable and we gave it a 3-star rating.

Well there's just 10 of the least playable slots in our view. In case you missed these two articles, check out our top 10 casino slots for American players to play right now, and our ten of the top Aussie slots we've reviewed, and don't forget to check out our top 50 slots we have ever reviewed at!

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