While there are hundreds of mobile casinos to choose from, the situation is even more severe when it comes to mobile slots. There are hundreds of thousands of games available in all shapes, sizes and feature configurations that it can really leave you feeling hopeless. Do you go for the popular ones and hope for the best or should you have a long, good think and pick the machines that work perfectly for you? I've put together the top six things you should think through before you invest time and money in a mobile slot, so that you thoroughly enjoy your gaming experience.
This blog post is quite long, so if anything peaks your interest, click on it to jump to a particular section:
- The compatibility with your mobile device
- The design and theme of the slot
- The volatility of the machine
- The return-to-player percentage
- The presence (or absence) of a progressive jackpot
- The feature-heaviness of the slot
Top Six Things You Should Look For In Your Perfect Mobile Slot
As part of my series on starting to play mobile slots, this article will guide you in choosing a mobile slot that's a perfect match for you. Don't forget that picking your favourite games comes hand in hand with selecting your ideal mobile casino, so check if the games you want to play are available in the casino that you're registered at. Now, let me present the comprehensive list of things that you should consider when finding out which mobile slots would be perfect for you.
1. The compatibility with your mobile device
Similarly to the compatibility issues that you may consider when you are choosing which mobile casino to play at, you must ensure that the game will actually work on your mobile phone or tablet.
Although you might think that this is not a huge deal, the truth is that not every developer supports every type of mobile device, so it could be a pain to find out that the game freezes unbelievably when you play on your old, but beloved HTC.
Considering that there are mobile devices that run on iOS, Android and Windows, there is a lot of variety and only the biggest developers can actually afford to ensure that their games fit every one of them.
So the best way to start browsing through the hundreds and hundreds of mobile slots would be to play the games you're interested in in demo mode and figure out if the technology that it's built with is supported on your mobile phone or tablet. You could also get in touch with customer support and inquire about the compatibility of their games, but your best bet is always to double-check it yourself. ‘Nuff said.
2. The design and theme of the slot
Where do I even begin talking about the variety of the themes, storylines and designs of mobile slots? They come in absolutely any shape, size and configuration you can possibly imagine, so no wonder that it's so hard to choose which ones tick all of your boxes!
To set yourself straight, you could just play the ones that your mobile casino features as the ‘most popular' or go for a preferred theme, such as Irish, sports or animals. You could also pick a slot based on a movie or a TV show that you like, such as the newly released Family Guy by IGT.
Really, it is up to you and your personal preference as to which theme will appeal to your tastes, but also consider that design can either make or break your gaming experience. Think about it. Would you prefer a slot that looks as if it's stepped down straight from a 90's computer screen, a little bit pixelated, featuring sounds that are monotonous and not very sharp, but with that particular charm about it? Or would you go for state-of-the-art HD design, innovative graphics and a soundtrack that's smooth and varied?
All types of mobile slot design – classic, ultra-modern and everything in between – are still propagated to this day. Developers such as IGT and Microgaming tend to stick to developing slots that can be called classic, like Da Vinci Diamonds and developers such as NetEnt and Yggdrasil craft slots that look absolutely gorgeous, for example Jack and the Beanstalk.
3. The volatility of the machine
We know that you're eager to finally talk about the profitability of a mobile slot as a variable, but before you consider that, I'd suggest you think about the volatility of it. After all, what use would a high variance slot be to you if you want to bet 1p per spin, even if that slot does offer 98% RTP.
Simply put, volatility or the variance of a mobile slot tells you how risky the machine is. So depending on how willing you are to risk your money, you should choose the variance of a slot accordingly:
- Low volatility/variance – perfect for those who don't want to spend a huge deal of money gambling, low volatility slots promise many smaller wins and can stretch your budget right out for hours of casual mobile slot gaming; you won't lose or risk a lot of money in any one spin, but the maximum payout of such a slot won't be ridiculously high either. A good example of a low variance slot would be Little Red Riding Reels by mFortune or the fun Wizard of Gems by Play'N Go.
- Medium volatility/variance – this kind of a mobile slot sits in between low and high and can sometimes be used in combination, e.g. low/medium or medium/high to denote that the slot is borderline in its variance. It's a riskier choice so if you're just a day-tripper, perhaps stick to low variance slots for now, but if you aren't ready for high volatility machines, then medium ones can ease you into not seeing a win every two or three spins. Medium variance slots tend to pay out small wins more often than large wins, although large wins come by more often than in low volatility slots. For example, you can play Guns N Roses by NetEnt to try your hand at a medium variance slot.
- High volatility/variance – this is the creme de la creme of risky business! New high volatility slots aren't released that often, simply because not many people want to play at such high risk, when there are very few (or none at all) small wins, but large when you strike a paying combination, the payout is usually very large. No pain, no gain, eh? Ensure you have a decent amount in your account balance and pick a wager size accordingly, cause you might have to stick around to score that mega-huge multiplier! An example of a high volatility slot is the newly released Dragon Born by Big Time Gaming.
4. The return-to-player percentage
Finally, let's talk about all the money that you could potentially win! What else, if not the return-to-player (RTP) percentage is the most important when it comes to mobile slots? Well, after you've ensured that the game is supported on all the mobile devices you wish to play on, you've checked that the theme and design are to your liking and selected the risk level by choosing the volatility of the slot, it's time to investigate how well the mobile slot pays.
Return-to-player percentages can range from a mere 94% all the way to 98%, I've never seen anything lower or higher than that. So, within that range, you'd want to be as high to the top number as possible, but it doesn't mean that you should discredit a lower RTP slot simply because you think it won't pay out as much.
The RTP percentage is most often published by the software developer itself after the game undergoes testing to be used for real money gambling. Based on a set number of random outcomes, a computer calculates the percentage, but it's not set in stone and unequivocally true. That's because the RTP percentage is hypothetical – based on a hundred spins, this is how often it should pay out. Indeed, there actual RTP could vary when you play the game yourself, but it's a handy number to have nonetheless.
You can sometimes also see references to house edge, which simply indicates what percentage, again theoretical, the casino claim from all the money that's spent on the slot. So, let's say you wager £100 on a slot with a house edge of 4%. This means that hypothetically, at least £96 quid should come right back at you and £4 should go to the casino. Of course, you could walk away with much more, or much less, depending on how lucky you are.
5. The presence (or absence) of a progressive jackpot
It's quite self-explanatory – there either is a progressive jackpot within a mobile slot or there isn't. Whichever you prefer is based on what sort of a gambler you are.
One type looove progressive jackpots and simply don't see themselves playing without the added bonus of having the possibility to score one. These kind of people also love the idea that it could change their life and make them multi-millionaires. With just one random spin, you could be the lucky winner, see the six or seven digit number light up on your screen. Of course, you have to share that chance of winning with many, many players on many, many casinos, but still!
There are many happy stories of people, sometimes in dire need of a break in life, winning progressive jackpots while playing mobile slots. And 99% of the time, these people weren't even trying to actually get the progressive jackpot, but were simply enjoying whatever mobile slot they were playing.
Yet, there are also the people who'd abhor to place a single wager on a progressive jackpot slot. Who are these people? Well, they probably dislike the masses of people that flock to progressive jackpot slots or can't stand to think that just one spin could change their life. I'm sure there aren't many gamers like this, but you could be one of them if the thought of winning a sum that large is simply too much to handle.
If you want to have a jackpot as a cherry on top of your perfect mobile slot, it will massively decrease the pool of slots that you can pick from. That might not be an issue if you're open and willing to compromise on the theme and the design of the slot, as most progressive jackpot slots are of the classic type. Yet if you are a modern slot type kind of guy/gal, don't fret. Mobile slots can also have internal jackpots or casino-wide ones only, so you can always play for some sort of a jackpot sum.
6. The feature-heaviness of the slot
I always have a long, dedicated features section in the mobile slot reviews and that's for a good reason. You should consider all the features that a mobile slot contains when looking for that perfect game of yours.
And these days, software developers don't make it easy by including many, and often times innovative and before unseen, types of features. For example, when Gonzo's Quest by NetEnt came out, the Avalanche Reels were the hottest feature around. Other developers have recreated it and although they've called this feature Cascading Reels, that's simply because NetEnt had Avalanche Reels copyrighted.
Yet, there are many more features, such as Wilds, Multipliers, Extra Spins, Mini Bonus Games and a handful of others that pretty much every mobile slot now has. So go to work and check what sorts of rewards each of these features could potentially bring you:
- What can Wild symbols replace? What's the maximum win they can bring me?
- What's the largest Multiplier of the game? How often can I score one?
- How many Extra Spins can I trigger and re-trigger? How hard is it to get to them?
- Are there are Mini Bonus Games to play?
Of course, there are some games that are the plain Janes of the mobile slot world, except they are insane popular unlike Jane. Poor Jane. Take Starburst by NetEnt for example – millions of wagers placed on this particular mobile slot in any given day, casinos continuously use this game to run their promotions on and people simply love it for its simplicity… and lack of features.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether you want a game that'd give you a chance to sit back and relax with a predictable pattern of wins and losses without much else that could happen. Or quite the opposite, you could look for a game that's feature-heavy and you'll never know what's lurking just around the next spin. Take a chance!