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African Animal Themed Slots

Posted by Glenn Baird on Aug 23, 2019

In a week that sees both World Elephant Day and World Lion day fall within just 48 hours of each other, we are asking who is the king of real king of the savanna and, more importantly (for us anyway), who is the king of the reels?

Lions are often dubbed the king of the beasts and for good reason. Other than an insane croc or elephant the lion has no natural predator. They are in charge of the land that they live on, they don’t migrate, instead they settle in one area and make it their home. Anything that moves through is fair game for a lion snack.

What makes lions that little bit different from most other cats is their living arrangements. They are the only wild cats to live in groups, something that has undoubtably led to much of their success. Lions clearly discovered a long time ago that as insufferable as other cats can be you often get more done when there’s a few more of them around.

The bad news, news that Elephants are more than used to, is that the number of lions living in the wild is on the decline. There has been a 30% drop in the number of lions across the globe over the last 20 years. This is in part due to hunting for both sport and for farming. A combination of loss of habitat and farmers shooting lions to protect livestock has meant that the numbers of lions has dropped steadily over the last two decades.

Most lions live in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. The only exception to this are a few living in the Gir Forest of India, a far cry from where we used to be, with lions found across the Middle East, much of India, and southern Europe. Nowadays lions are extinct from 26 countries that they used to inhabit and their range has decreased more than 80 percent.

Lions can live for up to 12 years in the wild, they can grow up to 8 feet in length and a pride can hold as many as 40 different lions. The women do almost all of the hunting and there really isn’t much that is off the menu. They can reach speeds of up to 30 miles an hour and jump 12 feet into the air.

All of that is worthy of the title King of the Beasts but how does it stack up against the might of an elephant?

The largest land animal on earth might not have the same fearsome reputation as a lion but a beast that size is not to be trifled with. A fully grown adult elephant is only a dinner option for a lion if all the other options have been exhausted and even then the chances of success are slim.

If you thought that lion numbers were something to worry about then I am sure you’ll know that things are far worse for the elephant. Again, over the last 20 years there has been a decline in numbers from over 1 million African elephants to under half a million. In this case the animals are not hunted to protect livestock or to clear land but strip them of their ivory for sale on the black market.

Interestingly, there is a movement taking place in Canada right now looking to ban the sale of ivory in the country. You can learn more about the movement by following this hashtag on Twitter, #IvoryFreeCanada.

Like lions, elephants also move in groups and are fiercely defensive of their young, who are often the target for a lion snack. Protective elephant mothers are arguably more of a risk for tourists on safari than lions are. A Land Rover full of wealthy tourists is likely to prove too much hassle for a hungry lion but for an irate elephant mum there is literally no target too big or inconvenient to face their irrational ire.

African elephants can live for 80 years, they can reach well over 3 meters in height and can weight up to 7 tons. Despite their enormous size they can move at half the speed of a lion and they live in herds of up to 100, making them big in every sense of the word.

So who is the king? Which animal should we consider the best of all the land animals? One is big, one is an apex predator, one can move at 30mph, whilst one has the same expected lifespan as a human being. Honestly, in the wild there is no genuine answer to the question, but in the world we exist in everything can be measured in some way and that way for us will be a battle of the slot games.

I have gone through all the slot games in our back catalogue that have either lions or elephants in them. I have also found quite a few that have both (unfortunately for the sake of this particular contest I will need to exclude those games but I will mention them at the end of the article). I will take the best five elephant slots and the best five lion slots and have them battle it out, head to head. I will be using the original scores that each game has been given and essentially adding the lot of them together, whilst also pointing out the finer points that each slot has to offer.

Unlike most of the lists we compile this one will have slots on it that scored less that the usual 7 out of 10 but I can still promise that there will be some excellent games on here too. By the end of the article we will add up all the scores and crown the new king of the savanna. The plan is to look at 5 lion games and then 5 elephant games and at the end form conclusions about both with an overall rating for both as well.


Reel Talent

This is a slightly unorthodox way to begin as “Reel Talent” has nothing to do with lions living in Africa. “Reel Talent” is a slot based around a talent show, in which the contestants are all animals. The lion in question is a rather intense looking singer, finding himself up against a rabbit magician, a fire breathing crocodile and a guitar playing wolf. The lion is the most valuable symbol on the reels, which you would have to guess in world where this talent show was real means he would have won. Microgaming have worked hard on the aesthetics, creating a game that lives up it the glitz and glamour that the theme needs from it. You get wilds, you get a bonus round and we gave the slot a reasonable 6 out of 10 when it was released at the end of last year.

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First off, I am surprised there are no elephants in this game and I am equally surprised that there are actually lions. If you don’t believe me go check it out. Net Entertainment like a slot with some big branding potential and I don’t believe that they come much bigger than Jumanji. This slot was released last year and was clearly intended to be one of the company’s big hitters for 2018. However, you could argue that they relied on aesthetics and branding more than gameplay and there are few features for our lions to sink their teeth into. However, the house edge is decent and the Free Spins are good enough for the slot to walk away with an impressive 8 out of 10.

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5 Lions Gold

5 Lions Gold takes our lions to the Orient where they are given the regal treatment. 5 Lions Gold is a fairly typical slot from Pragmatic Play, who have a history of releasing Oriental themed slots. They also have a history of releasing slots that look fantastic. Bright colours are a big deal in a Pragmatic Play slot and this one is no exception. The other thing they make a big deal of is their features and again, there is no let down here. You get a Bonus, Wilds, Free Spins and a Random feature. Our only concern with this game was the relatively high house edge which meant that this 2019 slot hit its ceiling at 7 out of 10.

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The King

One of the big advantages that lions have over elephants in this contest is that lions are a big deal in royal circles. Quite often you will find lions on slots that nothing to do with lions and this is one such example. The King is one of Endorphina’s best releases but in all honesty the lions in question are of the metal variety. However, I am still going to give them a pass here and add an Endorphina game to a list for just about the first time ever. You get Free Spins and Re-spins and Wilds with multipliers. The game looks good and offers some value for money, hence the score of 7 out of 10. As a side note, I almost confused this game with iSoftBet’s “The King” but released mid review that it has elephant symbols in it.

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Safari Sam

What is there not to love about Safari Sam? This slot is possibly the oldest one on our list and is the perfect example of what BetSoft do best. And if you are wondering what that is exactly then I am more than happy to explain. BetSoft do fun. They do cartoon style slots with fun characters that you can’t help but smile at when you see them. They are also pretty good with their features. Despite being a fair age now, Safari Sam still holds its own and is still feature heavy enough to take on plenty of the new upstarts. We scored this slot an unbelievable 10 out of 10 when it was released, which is going to go a long way towards giving lions a huge head start.

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Conclusions on Lion Themed Slots

First of all there are lots of lion themed slots out there, but if I am being honest the standard isn’t too high. Most of the slots I found for this list don’t score above 6 out 10 and I think that is partly because developers don’t know what to do with them to create something fun and original. However, I don’t see this being all that different when I take a look at elephant themed slots.


King Tusk

King Tusk is all about the mighty elephant. The name really does say it all here as literally no other animal gets a look in when it comes to the pay table. This Microgaming slot is all elephant. As for the aesthetic, you will have seen better looking games. As for the features, you will have played more exiting games. As for the house edge, you will have played slots that are offering better value for money. This slot might not be setting the world on fire but it is solid in all of the categories that we look for evaluation in. A 6 out of 10 to get our ball rolling but more will be needed if elephants are going to take the slot crown.

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Wild Orient

One of the key differences between lions and elephants in the real world is that you will find elephants in more places that lions. However, unless I am sorely mistaken I do not think that you find wild elephants in much of the orient, which given the trade of ivory in China is hardly surprising. However, for the purpose of this article that particular semantic does not matter all that much. What matters with this Microgaming slot is the house edge that is on offer. At just over 2.5%, you are going to struggle to find a slot out there offering better value for money than this one. It might not look the best, might not have the best features, it might not even be geographically accurate but what this slot is, is excellent value for money and for that reason alone we scored this an impressive 8 out of 10.

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Mighty Africa

It is hard to believe that there are no lions in this Playson slot but feel free to go through it with a fine toothcomb because I already have and can not find a single one anywhere. This is another solid, yet arguably uninspiring slot. It looks the part and it has a few features but neither of those two are anything other than average. I like the Free Spins and the split Wilds within them and I also like the number of paylines that are available. The house edge could be lower and as such this is another underwhelming 6 out of 10 for the elephant.

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Jumbo Stampede

Jumbo Stampede is an iSoftBet release from this year and it does its very best to live up to its name sake. There are 6 reels and they are 4 symbols high, increasing the size of the reels and the number of winways. There are a few features but nothing too mind blowing. You have Free Spins and Wilds. The Free Spins can be retriggered and some of the winway restrictions disappear when you trigger that feature. Other than that, there isn’t a huge amount left to comment on. The house edge is a little higher than we would want to see, but generally appears to be in keeping with most other iSoftBet games. Again, we’re in the 6 out of 10 area, with elephants slowly but surely losing the fight to be king of beasts.

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The second BetSoft game on our list is ultimately inconsequential because even a 10 out of 10 here would fail to see elephants cross the line in front of lions now. The fight may have been lost but we still have a slot to mention. The slot looks quite good but in all honesty it lacks any of the character that Safari Sam had and it is not offering good value for money either. Another 6 out 10 resigns the elephant to sizeable defeat in our search for the king of the slots.

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Conclusions on Elephant Themed Slots

If I am being brutally honest there are no good elephant themed slot games. There are lots of OK ones and one OK one with an excellent house edge. Other than that I am failing to see anything here to get excited about. There is “Hot Safari”, a game that includes the best of both lions and elephants but even that only got an 8 out of 10. With all that taken into account there is little doubt in my mind that there is a mighty elephant sized hole in the slot market.

Overall Conclusions

What I’ve learned when writing this article is that something as real as wild animals is a difficult theme to turn into an exciting slot experience. Neither the lion or the elephant games are particularly inspiring and I think that is because without committing to a cartoon style the theme is just too real. That said, a stunning game with good features and a low house edge can be achieved with theme, so why not these ones?

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