Winner of the 2023 Game of the Year?

Who will take the crown of the game of the year at the 2023 iGB affiliate awards which will be held in London on the 9th of February. There has been a lot of speculation over the past few months with an array of top slots in the running. Before we dive into our own opinions and what is truly at stake here, let’s check out the shortlist of slots hoping to claim glory.

  • John Hunter & The Book Of The Fallen – Pragmatic Play
  • Gonzo’s Gold – NetEnt
  • Fishin’ Pots Of Gold – Gameburger Studios
  • Solar Queen Megaways – Playson
  • Fishin’ Frenzy: The Big Catch Megaways – Blueprint Gaming
  • Dragon King Legend Of The Seas – Red Tiger Gaming
  • Links Of Ra – Slingshot Studios
  • Return To Paris – Betsoft Gaming
  • Leprechaun’s Luck Cash Collect – Playtech
  • Secret Of Dead – Play’n GO

 

The iGB affiliate awards as they rightfully say so themselves are the “Oscars of the iGaming affiliate sector”. Tuxedos and gowns are put on for the occasion as industry leaders wait in the hope for their names to be announced within their respective categories. In total 21 categories are announced on the night, 20 of which were voted upon by those who hold an ‘Affiliate Idol’ (Nominations are now closed). A panel of esteemed judges then takes the responsibility of whittling down the candidates until they have a single victor.

The Candidates for 2023 iGB affiliate awards Game of the Year

For a well-versed slot player, trying to choose a top dog from this list is challenging enough. Each game offers unique characteristics within the gameplay, audio, design, RTP range, and variance which will all have to come into play for the judging panel. While we also wait, let’s take a look at what these popular and some new online slots have to offer.

John Hunter & The Book Of The Fallen (Pragmatic Play)

First up on the list is Pragmatic Play who are hoping for back-to-back titles. Big Bass Bonanza triumphed in 2022 which was not a huge surprise for us slots fanatics are dedicating endless spins for the thrill of uncovering the dynamite feature which transforms random symbols into Fish symbols for big wins. Their front running slot this year, John Hunter & The Book of the Fallen is one of many from their John Hunter series. This Indiana Jones/Ancient Egypt-styled slot boasts a generous max payout of 5000x your stake which can range anywhere from 0.10 – 100 pounds. The RTP is respectful coming in at 96.5% while the volatility of the game is high so you can expect large wins infrequently.

Fishin’ Pots Of Gold (Gameburger Studios)

Gamburger Studios is one of two underdogs within this shortlist of heavy hitters. While they have a measly 18 slots to their name, each one can hold its own within the top ranks (this is mostly due to the fact they are under the wing of Microgaming). Hyper Strike is a notable mention that we have reviewed and enjoyed within their portfolio over the past year. The game in the competition, Fishin’ Pots Of Gold utilises a variable RTP system which maxes out at 96.47%, while the variance remains medium throughout gameplay. Lucky Lad Flynn the leprechaun ensures an enticing game filled with free spins, multipliers, and expanding reels. However the little green fellow falls short with the slots hit frequency, coming in at a below-average 19.15%. Bonus features sway the slot back into the green zone, but is it enough to be crowned champ… I don’t think so.

Leprechaun’s Luck Cash Collect (Playtech)

We may aswell remain on the topic of leprechauns with the Playtech slot, Leprechaun’s Luck Cash Collect. This is a game of multipliers and jackpots which make up for the RTP of 95.38%. The stake range is ideal for all high rollers, maxing out at a whopping 500 credits per spin. Multipliers increase depending on the symbols you match plus how many reels with 5 Leprechauns on a payline rewarding 180x. The jackpots are the real star of the golden pot each named as follows the grand, the major, the minor and the mini jackpots. These range from 10,000 to 250,000 credits which could entice the judges to consider this little leprechaun for the game of the year

Gonzo’s Gold (NetEnt)

It’s no surprise to see NetEnt’s Spanish conquistador in the mix as Gonzo’s collection remains one of the most popular online slot series in recent times. Fellow affiliates inside the industry believe that Gonzo’s Gold will be a front-runner as the ever-popular cluster pays is on full display for the paylines.

Personally, as an avid slot player, I am quite bored of the friendly Gonzo taking over screen space in online casinos. Yes the features are good, and yes the graphics are sound, but so have the last 9 Spiderman movies, how many more can be made? Wouldn’t it be rousing to produce Vincenzo, Gonzo’s long-lost Italian cousin who embarks on a new adventure?

Solar Queen Megaways (Playson)

Playson brought a fresh look to the already popular ‘Solar Queen’ by upgrading the original with the Megaways feature. Those that enjoy the random reel modifier function are in for a real treat here! Solar Queen Megaways offers up to 7,776 paylines allowing for big wins upon every spin.

In terms of graphics and audio, there has been no real upgrade from the original but that’s not enough to complain about. The endless features, decent RTP, and insane maximum win potential of nearly ÂŁ400k would entice players off all levels to try their luck with the empyreal Queen of ancient Egypt.

Fishin’ Frenzy: The Big Catch Megaways (Blueprint Gaming)

Blueprint won our hearts with this medium variance online slot, Fishin’ Frenzy: The Big Catch Megaways. This Megaways slot gives you the feel of wagering on a classic game with some extra goodies inside. Breaking down the title, you secure the ‘Big Catch’ of the amiable fisherman who unlocks free spins in the bonus rounds. Of course, being a Megaways title offers up tons of potential winning opportunities, 15,625 to be exact.

It will be no surprise if Blueprint Gaming secures the title at the iGB affiliate awards this February. Our team at The Slot Buzz has this online slot as a front-runner within the competition.

Dragon King Legend Of The Seas (Red Tige Gaming)

We can’t have the conversation of Game of the Year without bringing Red Tiger Gaming into the mix. Dragon King Legend of the Seas was an instant hit upon its release on the 5th of October 2021. Since then, it has been placed within the ‘popular games’ section of all the top brands listed within our top lists.

Dragon King Legend of the Seas has a high variance and hit rate with 10 paylines. Being the only Asian-themed slot within the iGB affiliate awards may be an advantage as in recent years Asian and anime slots have skyrocketed in popularity. Notable features of this game include Dragon Spins, Dragon Wild, Dragon Wild Multiplier, and the Gong Feature all of which can be enjoyed across all desktop and cellular devices.

Links Of Ra (Slingshot Studios)

Links of Ra is the fourth Ancient Engyptian-themed slot that is in the running. Slingshot Studios, again one of the underdogs of the competition has the backing of the great Microgaming which we know is one of the giants of the industry. This may prove to be a deciding factor of quality for the judges considering Microgaming does not release anything in halves.

The Ancient Egyptian gods take you on a journey through the mystic world we know so very little about. Power stacks, free spins, and link&win are all features ensuring entertainment never slips throughout the entirety of the game. Game of the year? hmm with four similar themed slots, I am unsure that Links of Ra will come out on top in this one.

Return To Paris (Betsoft Gaming)

Return to Paris… if you have not wagered a cent on this slot yet you are missing out! Betsoft Gaming pushed boundaries in terms of visuals and creative storyline within this epic slot. The scene is set as night falls and the treasures of the museum become vulnerable. It turns into a classic case of cat and mouse between a French thief and the museum’s cop.

The three main features of the game are steal-and-return, open-ended free spins, and finally wild explosion. Once the cop and the thief meet side by side on the reels, the wild explosion occurs. This then turns all the surrounding symbols into wilds creating massive wins in this 96.06% RTP slot.

Secret Of Dead (Play’n GO)

Last but not least hoping to be crowned Game of the Year is our old friend Play n Go with Secret of Dead. As you can see from this article, Ancient Egypt has become a bit of a theme throughout. Released on the 24th of February 2022, Secret of the Dead came into view a little later than the other games battling it out for Game of the Year. However, while time may not be on their side, Play n Go has had enough experience within the realm of the dead, with other hits in their famous ‘Dead Series’.

Shai, the female god of faith, provides a max win of up to 10,000x your bet while allowing the RTP to be variable with a bet case scenario reaching 96.20%. Secret of the Dead seems like it was created to be here, it has everything you would desire in an entertaining online slot.

Who will win? Our veridct

Ok, let’s be honest, this competition is oversaturated with Ancient Egyptian-themed slots, and while the games are amusing, they are not my cup of tea. If I could only wager on one of these slots for the rest of my life, it would be Return to Paris, hands down. From the graphics, audio, movie-like storyline and rewarding features this has to be the top dog. If you need some convincing then try out the demo mode and be amazed by the work of Betsoft Gaming. In the best french accent you can do, it’s simply parfait!

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