When you talk about the "best" slots, you have to consider the many different reasons that people like to play them. Though people always like winning money, the motivations are more complicated than just that.
Some people play slots for stress relief and relaxation, and prefer a game with lower volatility (frequent small wins) so that they can keep within a budget. Others are more concerned with how exciting the game is, and some prioritize the graphics and sound.
The point being, enjoyment of slots is subjective and there won't be one "best" slot for everybody. So in today's post we're looking at slots that handle one particular quality very well for those who enjoy that aspect of the experience.
1) Highest Return to Player (Goblin's Cave, Ugga Bugga, Ocean Princess)
Serious gamblers sometimes don't take slots seriously. There is a persistent myth that slots are the worst bet in the house, with a significantly worse return than games like video poker and blackjack. It is true that blackjack and video poker have the highest potential return, but the difference is much smaller than many people believe.
Take a look at the slots with the highest return to player (RTP) for the evidence. The three current top titles are all from Playtech, and all have a hair over 99% RTP. Goblin's Cave sports a 99.3% return, while Ocean Princess and Ugga Bugga are both at 99.1%.
Compare that to the roughly 99.6% RTP at the best blackjack tables, or the 99.54% for a "full pay" Jacks or Better video poker game. Those numbers are a little higher, but there are some very big "ifs" attached to them. Both require you to learn the game and play perfectly on every hand to get the RTP up to that point. The errors that most players make put those games at an actual RTP of more like 95 to 96%, which is in line with the average online slot. They also often don't contribute to wagering requirements if you're looking to release bonus funds.
2) Low Variance (Blood Suckers and Diamond Dogs)
Why two games in this section? Well, the Blood Suckers series is one of the most popular online slots around due to its friendliness to players on a budget. If the whole hungry vampire thing is a little much for you, however, you could opt for its clone Diamond Dogs instead. Diamond Dogs really isn't any different in terms of play style and bonuses, but it goes for a "wealthy puppies" theme instead. Both games are made by NetEnt.
No matter which one you choose, you'll get a game that offers lots of smaller wins and a bonus game that is fairly easy to get into. This keeps players from losing much money over single play sessions; in fact, Blood Suckers is among the most generous of all online slots with an expected RTP of 98%. Diamond Dogs drops to 96.5% due to the major jackpot being smaller, but that still puts it on the more favourable side of online slots.
3) Great Licensed Slots (American Dad and Creature From The Black Lagoon)
A great licensed television or movie slot has more effort put into it than just slapping the faces of major characters into the reels of an otherwise generic game.
American Dad is a great example of how to do this right. Based on the popular and long-running cartoon, the slot features detailed animations of the characters, great-looking backgrounds and music from the show. The show's trademark humour is also infused into the bonus rounds and other elements of the game, with each of the main character having their own special way of putting wild symbols up on the reels.
Creature From the Black Lagoon is a similarly great example. It uses voice clips from the movie combined with genuinely creepy sound, CGI animation and detailed graphics to create one of the most atmospheric licensed slot titles out there.
4) Exciting Bonuses (Cleopatra II)
The original Cleopatra slot by IGT was released over a decade ago and was one of the first games to expand to 20 paylines; though that's now considered a normal amount, it was mindblowing at the time. There isn't much reason to play the original game any more, but the sequel added a really fun bonus feature that people are still enjoying. Your free spin multiplier always begins at 1x but increases with each of these spins, and can potentially hit a maximum of 50x! Even if it doesn't climb all the way to 50, when the multiplier gets into the high double digits it leads to mounting excitement in the bonus rounds and some pretty huge wins. Free spins can also re-trigger to up to 50 in total, so the potential for a gigantic bonus haul is always there.
The Best Online Slots For You
The slots we've listed here are just some of the best available, each for their own reasons. Part of the fun of playing online is going through the different online casinos and finding the games you enjoy the most. If you'd like to learn more about what makes for a great slot game, check out our in-depth guide to the best online slots.