When the Nevada Gaming Commission relaxed the rules on skill-based elements in slot machines, it provided an unprecedented opportunity for both game developers and gamers. For the die-hard gamblers, it meant new ways to improve the odds and beat the house, while for more casual players, skill-based bonus games brought a more entertaining experience than simply spinning the reels.
This new breed of slots has slowly but surely been making its presence felt on the Las Vegas strip. But it is in the vast, and constantly growing, choice of online casinos in the US that skill-based games are having the biggest impact. Here are five of the most popular, some very recent and some less so.
This game has nothing to do with Miley Cyrus, and instead features an archetypal demolition worker named Albert on a bid to wreak havoc throughout the city. The game was launched in late 2017 by US developer IGT and on the face of it, seems like a normal slot with the popular Multiways payline setup that provides 830 ways to win. Trigger the bonus game, however, and you can take control of the eponymous wrecking ball using a joystick-style control. The more buildings you destroy, the bigger the cash bonus.
Synergy Blue has been at the forefront of the skill-based gaming revolution and launched 15 new games of this type late last year. The forerunner, however, was Safari Match, which came out last April. The game works on similar principles to popular jewel-matching games like Bejeweled or Candy Crush, and gives you the opportunity to use your analytical skills to move symbols around to get matches and win money.
Many gaming enthusiasts predicted that skill-based gaming would be a perfect platform for a revival of the retro games we remember from the 1980s. Arkanoid is the first, and seems unlikely to be the last. For the benefit of those who missed the 80s, the object of the game is to move a bat left and right across the bottom of the screen to bounce a ball into a row of bricks. Destroy more bricks to win more money. It’s an arcade classic that also had something of a reinvention as “Brickbreaker” on the Blackberry handsets of the 00s.
This slot game is based on the ever-popular 90’s sitcom and features actual footage from the TV show. There are four different bonus games, each based on different characters, that demand varying levels of skill. The best example is the Festivus bonus, based on events from one of the Christmas Specials, in which you must shake a pole to win extra money.
Finally, something a little different. While the above games are predominantly slots that have a skill element added, Beat Square takes a popular skill-based game and adds a gambling dimension. You control a 4×4 grid in which colours light up on different squares in time to a thumping soundtrack. Hit the buttons in the right sequence to build up points that convert to cash.