Best Slots of 2021 Awards
The time has come to remind ourselves of all the great online slots that have been produced this year. All thanks to the hard work that the creative minds at game studios around the world have put into this. It was a very bountiful year for the developers and their players because we saw the birth of many thrilling slots. Among them were especially many sequels to the ultra-hits like Jammin’ Jars, Big Bad Wolf, Satarburst, Wild Toro, Reactoonz. Developers like Nolimit City have turned shocking themes into their trademark by now and it was good to see that Push Gaming was back on track with their world-class releases.
As a result, it was once again a challenge to pick the best in each of our 12 categories. As always, these award different aspects of the games and, compared to last year, there is one more category which focuses on the best of cluster slots. Despite our high ambitions we have picked the winners with confidence. For nominations where we felt the competition was exceptionally fierce, we allowed ourselves the benefit of including an honourable mention. This is a thanks for all the hard work and hopefully will also prove to be a useful guide for casual and seasoned players alike. Without further ado, here are the best online slots that came out in 2021! 🔥
Featured casinos in this guide
Game of the Year – San Quentin xWays (Nolimit City)
There were many great slots released this year, including Big Bad Wolf MegaWays, Fire in The Hole, Dead Man’s Trail, Jammin’ Jars 2, but one that has made the biggest splash with its release by engaging players, critics and social media in general was San Quentin xWays by Nolimit City. It’s a game that in many ways stood out most of this year, not only for its theme – a jail theme, seriously?! – but also for the 150,000x maximum win which is a record for online slots, with a few minor exceptions. The maximum win potential is never the decisive factor in our ranking but we didn’t expect to see so many players actually trigger that colossal payout within days from the game’s release! These replays are also some of this year’s most watched slot videos on YouTube, including our channel. San Quentin started the year with a bang which endured and turned out to be the loudest.
Haunts My Dreams – Fire in the Hole xBomb (Nolimit City)
This award goes to the best high volatility slot of the year. If anything, 2021 was all about high win potential and extreme volatility, with noteworthy releases like Wild Flower (Big Time Gaming) and Wanted Dead or a Wild (Hacksaw Gaming). However, it was Nolimit City, once again, who had planted a bomb that took everyone by surprise. Fire In the Hole xBomb has a catchy bonus that is standing on the shoulders of giants (Money Train and Bonanza) and it became an instant hit that broke all records on Twitch on the day of release.
Starburst Lovers – Easter Island 2 (Yggdrasil)
The Starburst Lovers award, on the contrary, goes to the best low – medium volatility slot, which is Easter Island 2. One of the many sequels of the year boasts Yggdrasil’s signature cinematic graphics that include the two famous Moai giants. While it doesn’t have the biggest of payouts, it makes up for it with a progressive and very catchy bonus that culminates with colossal symbol blocks and expanding reels. This is a great slot to pick up for a fun vibe and a more laidback math.
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The Einstein Award – X-iter (ELK Studios)
Next up we have the best innovation in slots. Once again there were many new, often trademarked, game mechanics this year. One novel feature stood out the most for us, which was ELK Studio’s version of a bonus buy option called the X-iter. However, instead of a regular feature buy, where players usually buy into the main bonus, X-iter allows for very different actions to happen in a slot between a range, usually five, price tags. This includes simple and cheaper guaranteed win triggers and the more complex super bonuses that may even be out of reach during regular gameplay. It is a double-edged sword but undeniably one that’s worthy of mention as one of this year’s top slot mods.
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Labor of Love – Big Bad Wolf MegaWays (Quickspin)
The dearest award, one could say, goes to a significant sequel or a cult slot which has made a big comeback in one form or another. Oh, and did we see these types of series this year!? There were clearly many highly anticipated part twos, including Jammin’ Jars 2, Starburst XXXTreme, GEMiX 2, Wild Toro 2, Reactoonz 2, Gonzo’s Gold, The Goonies Return, Thunderstruck Wild Lightning and more. But one game that we really enjoyed above all was Quickspin’s darling, Big Bad Wolf with MegaWays. Yes, the 117,649 ways to win is getting old and this title was kinda late to the party, but with BBW’s famous progressive wilds mechanic and stunning artistic work this game was brought to life once again.
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Cluster Master – Fire Hopper (Push Gaming)
This year’s only new award is dedicated to the cluster slots fans. One reason for that is a serious attempt by developers to, if not overthrow, but get a bigger piece of pie from this niche type of slots category with some masterful fresh releases. We could name many but one of the most recent productions, Fire Hopper, is one of this year’s surprises. It came out with little anticipation and turned out to be a simple but fundamentally very strong release with a massive 50,000x win potential. While it may not be as visually stunning as Jammin’ Jars 2, it’s the “more is less” that won our hearts and has surely the potential to do so for the original Jammin’ fans too.
Honourable mentions: Cluster Slide (ELK Studios) and Jammin’ Jars 2 (Push Gaming).
Bonus Madness – Cluster Slide (ELK Studios)
This year’s one of the most powerful cluster slots also turned out to be a slot that oozes with bonus features without compromising the overall gameplay. When we played this game for the first time, we had no clue what was happening (assuming the same will happen to many), but it was visually uplifting. Customary to many cluster slots, there are also a tonne of features in this colourful game, all set up in a way that feed dopamine every time you play. The addition of another award-winning feature, the X-iter with five bonus-buy options, takes Cluster Slide past ELK’s other noteworthy 2021 slots like Zulu Gold and Nitropolis 2.
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Hollywood Hills – ZZ Top Roadside Riches (Play’n GO)
As you may tell by the category, this award is going to the best branded online slot of the year. Nominations included The Goonies Return, Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen, Alice Cooper, and The House of Doom 2. All good games in this context but none come close to the win potential of a Play’n GO IP slot themed on a legendary American rock band, ZZ Top. Not only does it have a max win set to a whopping 40,000x bet, which is on another level even by Play’n GO’s standards, but also relatively good wins throughout which are nice to catch to the band’s catchy tunes. While it may not have as good of a flow as the House of Doom sequel, we would rather put our money on the performance of Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill.
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Extravaganza – ELK Studios
Speaking of performance, this award goes to the most outstanding visuals accompanied by world-class soundtrack and SFX. All that and the flow of the game have to meet in that golden sweet spot to make the game as natural as possible. Truth be told, there were many outstanding games this year and each developer has their own style. Our hearts were torn between several developers, including Relax Gaming (Dead Man’s Trail), Push Gaming (JJ2 and Fat Drac) and Quickspin (Big Bad Wolf MegaWays), but the production that stood out the most often came from ELK Studios. They are consistently showing masterclass in game development and blew our minds with their artistic work this year.
Honourable mention: Push Gaming.
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Jackpot Mania – Ancient Fortunes: Poseidon WowPot! MegaWays (Triple Edge Studios/Microgaming)
The best jackpot slot of the year goes once again to the Microgaming family. Triple Edge Studios has created a monster of a slot that combines both MegaWays and the biggest progressive jackpot network, WowPot! This takes the slot to levels which nobody before had tested and which have already rewarded a lucky player with nearly €4 million earlier this year. It also helps that this Greek god of a slot also stands out with gorgeous visual execution and has found a bigger crowd than Bonanza MegaPays or Sherlock & Moriarty WowPot!
Live Game of the Year – Mega Fire Blaze Roulette Live (Playtech)
We love playing slots, but we can’t deny that there are many great live casino games that are worthy companions. It was tempting for us to pick Evolution’s show games like Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt or Cash or Crash, both of which use state-of-the-art technology and are quite extensive games. But with the help of our friend Neil at Livecasinocomparer.com we found the one that we were genuinely pleased with. Made by Playtech, Mega Fire Blaze Roulette is the best multiplier roulette game out there, even more so than Lightning Roulette or Quantum Roulette. To our liking, it also has a slots-type bonus, the Mega Fire Blaze element, which works quite well with the rest of the game and is one that qualifies players who have place half bets too.
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Developer of the Year – Nolimit City
2021 has been a busy year for casino game developers and as much as we enjoy the variety that each one adds to the pot, we’d like to give especially big kudos to the one team which blew everyone away with their crazy themes that completely deviating from the norm and outlandish mechanics that complete them – Nolimit City! Who knows where they’re going to take it next but it has been an artistic performance of a kind to watch their ideas come to life and become viral on social media. Keep up the amazing work guys!
Honourable mention: ELK Studios.
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About the Awards
Mvideoslots.com is an independent site that operates separately from any casino or game provider. Everything we say is our honest opinion. And both the casinos and game developers are seeing the content published for the first time, right alongside you.
The awards were picked by a team of experts and slot enthusiasts, who have been following the industry for a long time and actually playing the games at the casinos. We hope that you enjoy our top picks as they are easy to find across slot sites globally and we hope that with your support we can include your vote in our next year’s lists. If you liked these awards, then be sure to check out our last year’s awards which we had fun compiling for you as well.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!