Game of the Year 2019 – EGR Operator Awards Shortlist

Published: September 19, 2019

EGR Operator Awards is a highly regarded iGaming Oscars event. The anticipation grows as the date when the winners are announced for the year 2019 is approaching. Among them is the coveted prize for the Game of the Year.

It’s the most competitive category with 14 nominees which are world-class game developers and studios. Whoever’s going to win this award, it’s been fun and exciting to test all the games and remind what made them more special than the rest.

Check out all 14 games that compete for the Game of the Year 2019 award for a quick overview with description, stats and personal thoughts on each one. For my personal prediction, scroll all the way down to conclusion. Enjoy and don’t take my opinions for granted but try them out for yourself at the recommended slot sites!

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Here are the nominees in an alphabetical order.

Betsoft Gaming – Max Quest® 2.0

Max Quest 2.0 by Betsoft Gaming.

Known for their bespoke 3D graphics, Betsoft has turned RNG-based slot gaming into an interactive shooting experience with Max Quest: Wrath of Ra. Released in November, 2018 and proudly crowned the “Innovation in RNG Casino Software” at the EGR B2B Awards 2019 this summer, this game looks less like a slot machine and more like a mad RPG game. Where else you get to shoot mummies with laser guns for XP and complete quests with boss levels without a single reel spin in between?! The 2.0 update that’s nominated is a step up in regard to user experience, while still featuring an impressive max win of 34,000x and competitive leaderboards.

  • Volatility: High
  • RTP: 97.5%
  • Max win: 34,340x

Best casino to play Max Quest: SlotsMillion.

Thoughts: It’s all fun and seemingly very costly to make, but it’s hard to see mainstream slot players switching to this game other than just out of curiosity to see how it works. Since it’s not really a skill game and it can become boring fast especially when playing on autoplay, it’s hard to see how gamers would relate to it either. But if you want to let off some steam and are bold enough to try something new, then the win potential, social elements and immersiveness factor is very much there.

Big Time Gaming – Who Wants To Be A Millionaire MegaWays™

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is BTG’s first branded slot which came out on November 14, 2018. It’s MegaWays with 117,649 ways to win and maxed out volatility. The highlight of the game is the Hot Seat, where you can win up to 50 Free Spins with an unlimited win multiplier in a fun way and with the help of the popular Lifelines (answering real world questions is not part of this show though).

  • Volatility: Very high
  • RTP: 96.27%
  • Max win: 50,000x

Best casino to play Who Wants To Be A Millionaire MegaWays™: Twin.

Thoughts: Released at a time when MegaWays was in high demand, this branded slot put a nice twist to then already popular Extra Chilli, which this game is largely based on. High volatility, nice win potential and well-balanced sound effects with heart-stopper moments should be enough to attract plenty of interest.

ELK Studios – Ecuador Gold

Released on February 19, it’s one of ELK Studio’s best games this year with expanding rows that can grow the number of paylines from 4,096 to 262,144! Other highlights include supersized symbols, moving wild symbols in the base game and a Free Spins bonus which can be retriggered unlimited times!

  • Volatility: Very high
  • RTP: 96.1%
  • Max win: 2,500x

Best casino to play Ecuador Gold: Wildz.

Thoughts: Very nice alternative to MegaWays games, including symbol drops mixed with Epic 4×4 symbols (which I was lucky to trigger that 1,200x win). It’s not the most engaging game but it has its moments of anticipation which turn it into a decent slot worth a try if you have the patience needed to trigger the bonus.

Evolution Gaming – MONOPOLY Live

The best game of the year award includes one live casino game which is Evolution’s branded Monopoly Live: special edition of the popular Dream Catcher show. The highlight is the 3D board game with Mr. Monopoly himself, but for a chance to participate in this rare event players must bet on “2 Rolls” or “4 Rolls”, which decreases RTP.

  • Volatility: High
  • RTP: 91.3-96.23%
  • Max win: €500,000

Best casino to play Monopoly Live: LeoVegas.

Thoughts: The game is very easy to play, has an interactive and chatty host and a fun vibe mixed with next-gen augmented reality animations. There’s fun to be had when playing with a group of friends or by yourself, so definitely something to check out for the sake of variety. Evolution already has two of such awards (for years 2014 and 2018) and they have put on quite a show for the third trophy.

Greentube – Tidal Riches™

Tiday Riches by Greentube/Novomatic comes with 20-lines and 5 reels, which expand up to 50 lines and 6 reels with consecutive wins and bursting symbols. There’s a Hi-Roller bet to unlock extra features like Mega Wilds and a good old Gamble mode, which should be used with care. The main feature is the retriggerable Free Spins bonus with mystery symbols that can grow to Colossal (3×2) size.

  • Volatility: Medium
  • RTP: 95.27%
  • Max win: 1,500x

Best casino to play Tidal Riches: Videoslots.com.

Thoughts: Decent graphics but a smaller RTP, although very typical of Greentube. Even though volatility and thus win potential is not crazy high, high rollers will have plenty of options to fine tune the game to their linking with double-ups and boosted Hi-Roller bets.

Microgaming – Fortunium

Fortunium is made by one of Microgaming’s exclusive independent game development teams: Stormcraft Studios. This 5×5 reel slot has 40 fixed lines and lots of trademarked bonus features. This includes a Win Booster™ ante bet which adds 50% extra to your total bet to upgrade Super Stacked Mystery Symbols, and a Free Spins bonus enhanced with Mystery Reels™ that works the same way.

  • Volatility: Low-Medium
  • RTP: 96.47%
  • Max win: 800x

Best casino to play Fortunium: Gambola.

Thoughts: This game is all about the super-stacked high and mystery symbols which can seem to expand to cover the entire reel more often than you’d assume (but less with the symbols that we all hope: Wilds!). I don’t see this game winning the award, but there’s something about those stacks and frequent pays that may see some players come back to it more often.

NetEnt – Dead or Alive 2

Dead or Alive 2 Free Spins Big Win.

It’s an epic reboot of the legendary, wild west-themed NetEnt title, which can deliver wins of up to 100,000x. The much-loved sticky wild symbols are still a part of the bonus, and now with x3 Free Spins bonuses to choose from based on volatility level, including the MAX version where sticky wild symbols get handsome multipliers!

  • Volatility: High
  • RTP: 96.8%
  • Max win: 100,000x

Best casino to play Dead or Alive 2: Mr Green.

Thoughts: No wonder why YouTube is full of Dead or Alive 2 big win videos because this game delivers big time. It’s been awesome from series 1 and NetEnt has been careful not to mess up what made it popular while also trying to modernise it by adding a few bells and whistles. This is my choice for the award and clearly a must-try for everyone.

Play’n GO – Sabaton

Released on 10 May 2019 in partnership with the legendary Swedish power metal band Sabaton, the namesake game is anything but your average video slot. With just 10 fixed pay-lines it puts on a show not only for the fans but for most slot enthusiasts. Among the bonuses you’ll find linked/chained reels, mega symbols, wild features, mystery symbols, and Free Spins with unlimited retriggers, just to name a few!

  • Volatility: Very high
  • RTP: 96%
  • Max win: 5,000x

Best casino to play Sabaton: Metal Casino.

Thoughts: The game is well put together and a joy to play especially with your headphones. If you’ve ever played NetEnt’s rock slots then you’re going to love this one too. Not nearly the same win potential as DoA2 but way more promising than Fortunium.

Playtech – Sky Queen

Playtech’s first game with a new Fire Blaze Jackpot suite. Made by Rarestone Gaming, their exclusive content studio, this 5-reel slot has four fixed jackpots which can be won with a “Hold and Respin” feature. The grand prize is 2,000x the total bet. Other bonuses include Free Games with super-stacked symbols.

  • Volatility: High
  • RTP: 96.58%
  • Max win: 2,000x

Best casino to play Sky Queen: Bet365.

Thoughts: It’s one of the most classic video slots from the bunch, so if you have a passion for retro sound effects and more or less generic gameplay then this is 1 of 3 Fire Blaze Jackpot games that have been released by Playtech this year, each one with a distinct feature.

Pragmatic Play – Mustang Gold

Pragmatic is competing for this year’s game of the year award with their cowboy themed 25-line and 5-reel Mustang Gold slot. A jackpot game with four fixed prizes, stacked wild symbols, Money Collect feature in the base game, and a Free Spins bonus are the main features to look out for.

  • Volatility: Medium
  • RTP: 96.53%
  • Max win: 12,000x

Best casino to play Mustang Gold: 21.com

Thoughts: Pragmatic’s Collect feature adds a great deal of thrill to the game, but a separate jackpot game could’ve been left out for the sake of making the Free Spins slightly more rewarding and the game a tad more volatile. Players who are looking for more frequent pays and knowing that at the very rarest of moments the balance can explode 12,000x-fold will enjoy it more than others.

Red Tiger – Pirates’ Plenty

Pirates’ Plenty The Sunken Treasure came out on 28 February 2019. Initially played with 5 reels, the game changes completely by unlocking of the 6th reel, which introduces 5x win multiplying expanded wild symbols. The real beast is the slot’s Free Spins bonus with progressively unlockable Wild symbols that can replace all four low-paying suite symbols into Wilds for epic wins!

  • Volatility: High
  • RTP: 96.12%
  • Max win: 5,000x

Best casino to play Pirates’ Plenty: Frank & Fred.

Thoughts: The game is built on a very strong foundation which makes both the base game and the bonus captivating enough to turn it into one of their best games for this year. It can take a while to unlock the extra reel, so don’t go too heavy on the stake as changing it later will reset the progress. All fans of the first series can already enjoy a sequel released on August 22, 2019, which is called Pirates’ Plenty Battle for Gold.

Relax Gaming – Temple Tumble Megaways™

Released in February 2019, Relax Gaming’s first MegaWays slot packs a punch with 46,656 ways to win and cascading symbol blocks on a 6×6 reel. The main feature is the three Free Spin modes that can include extra spins, multipliers or both.

  • Volatility: High
  • RTP: 96.25%
  • Max win: 7,767x

Best casino to play Temple Tumble MegaWays: Rizk.

Thoughts: The game doesn’t make a show out of small wins but gets the cascades going and symbols popping for nice wins fairly often. The game is also less predictable because of no-pay stone blocks, which get destroyed with explosions, allowing more new symbols to drop in. It offers lots of play time, so definitely a recommended title for this year and time to come.

RTG SLOTS – RTG777

With just 1 pay-line, RTG777 is the only game of its kind among this year’s nominees. Powered by RTG Slots (former Realtime Gaming), this simple but mighty slot machine comes with a reel-hold feature, wild symbols that can 3x or 9x a win, and even a progressive jackpot.

  • Volatility: Medium
  • RTP: 97%
  • Max win: 1,680x

Best casino to play RTG777: CasinoMax.

Thoughts: Mostly available at US- and AU-targeting casinos, this game and developer are alien to most European players, which makes it sort of a niche title. Niche is also its 1 line but somehow the developers managed to squeeze in more features than expected. If you absolutely hate wins that are lower than the stake then this game is a good fix for this problem, but you have to play with the maximum stake to have a chance at winning the jackpot.

Yggdrasil – Baron Samedi

It’s quite simply the most feature-rich game in this year’s shortlist. It has 36 different cumulative tarot card features, including x10 Multiplier, 8 Random Wilds, Super Stacked Wilds, and All Lows turn Wild. It’s a thrill see them come to life during the base game and especially during the Free Spins, which can last for up to 15 spins, each time with different cards!

  • Volatility: Medium
  • RTP: 97%
  • Max win: 1,680x

Best casino to play Baron Samedi: Casumo.

Thoughts: It’s an impressive game made by a bunch of smart guys at Yggdrasil. Expect lots of small wins in the base game coupled with occasional dark magic bonuses in quantities and variety unseen in any other game. Don’t worry though, the game is simply structured and easy to follow.

EGR Operator Awards Game of the Year 2019 Winner is…

Throwback at the 2018 event.

The winners will be announced at the EGR Operator Awards ceremony at Grosvenor House, London, on Thursday 24 October 2019.

So, who’s going to win? Which is going to be the best slot 2019? Or the best casino game 2019, in the case of Evolution Gaming.

I would bet on Dead or Alive 2 since it has created a movement among players which other slots have not quite achieved. Nevertheless, I think most games on this list are worth a try, so hopefully my quick intro and thoughts will help you find a couple of favourites to start with.

Have fun!

 
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