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It’s Christmas Time

Posted by THEPOGG on Dec 20, 2018

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to replenish your Eggnog and mince pie supplies. With less than a week to go until the most magical time of the year, we at ThePogg want to wish you a merry Christmas and leave you with the gift of Christmas slots games.

Let’s face it, there are tonnes of Christmas themed slots games out there and if you want to take part you might be struggling to pick out the tinsel from the tat. We want to help by drawing attention to Christmas games we have rated highly in the past to save you the time digging around.

For the purpose of this post we have decided that we’ll avoid drawing any attention to games that have been given a Christmas makeover, looking only at original output. However, if all you are after is your favourite game topped with a Christmas party hat, check out the software developer’s homepage to see what they have modified for this time of year. A couple of notables being Spinomenal who appear to be adding something Christmassy to a number of their most popular games and Pragmatic Play’s “Leprechaun Carol”, a game that was originally very good and has certainly not diminished with the inclusion of some Santa hats and snowflakes.

So, what makes the perfect Christmas slots game?

Here at ThePogg we’ve tried to come up with our own system to determine what games we think are worth checking out over te Christmas period.

We start with a basic rule we’d apply to any casino game: value for money. Always check the RTP and make sure that you are not being sold something that will see you out of pocket too quickly. It is far too easy at this time of year to beguile players with a warm fussy Christmas feeling, whilst subsequently fleecing them. Try not to be distracted by the bells, the sleighs and the Santas and make a house edge of less than 4% your first port of call. All the games included in our list will have an RTP of 96% at the most, with most on the list falling a fair bit under that.

Once you have the issue of money out the way you should try and find a game that catches the eye and the ear. First off, you should know you have a Christmas game even with your eyes closed. You want those bells jingling away. The occasional “Ho Ho Ho” is always welcome and a general light-hearted/mischievous orchestration, something that could have been taken straight out of a Chris Columbus film (“Home Alone”, “Mr Doubtfire”, the first two “Harry Potter” movies). Strings, woodwind, a general sort of “plinky-plonky” (excuse my ignorance) sound is what you’re listening out for.

In terms of the visual aesthetic, just look for anything that you would see currently draped throughout your local shopping centre. You want snow, sparkles, reds, greens and perfect winter evenings. You want Santas, reindeer, Christmas trees and anything else you yourself are more than capable of adding to that list. At the end of the day, we all know what Christmas looks like and it is up to those software developers to bring that to us in their games.

After the Christmassyness of the game’s appearance you need to move onto features. Christmas is not an excuse for laziness, meaning that we should expect the level of playabilty that we always demand from a slots game. The best examples will be features that are designed specifically to fit that particular Christmas theme. So, any games that develop a special feature to fit their chosen Christmas theme will receive high praise indeed.

With all that in mind, I will be applying a special Christmas rating system to each of our chosen games. You will still be privy to our original score out of ten, but I will also be awarding each game a Christmas score based on each of the 3 categories above. Each game will receive a score out of 10 for their RTP, their Christmas Aesthetic and their Christmas features. The scores will then be averaged out and we will crown our favourite Christmas game, that may or may not be in keeping with the ratings that have already been assigned. Once the Christmas period is over our festive ratings will no longer be considered relevant.

Christmas Slots Reviews

Secret Santa

Secret Santa was released in 2014 by Microgaming and at the time received a very favourable score of 9 out of 10.

RTP – 96.32%. A very solid start for Secret Santa sees the house edge fall quite a bit under the 4% mark. However at 3.68%, it is actually the least profitable game in our selection. I would have given this a 7 but feel that it should be reduced to a 6 to reflect its status at the bottom of this particular pile.

Aesthetic – If we begin with the sound, this game is spot on, exactly what I’d expect from a Christmas game. All the “plinky-plonky” is just what we want and could be ripped straight out of scene from “Home Alone”. As for the look, again I like what’s on offer here. This is a very traditional looking game, all warm and comforting like a large slice of Christmas pudding and brandy cream, which is coincidentally one of the game’s symbols. The snow is falling, the town is picture postcard and Santa is as Santa as he can be. A perfect 10 out 10 here.

Features – There certainly are a lot of features and I like use of the huge present when the multiplier is triggered. The inclusion of “Dashing Wilds”, whilst really just another way of describing random wilds is at least an attempt to Christmas things up a little. A solid, but uninspiring 7 out of 10 for features is a reflection of the specific lack of Christmas thought on offer.

Adding up all those scores and dividing by 3 means that Secret Santa has scored an impressive 8 out of 10 on the Christmas scale. Unfortunately, this means that it will drop by 1 mark over the festive period.

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Scrooge was released in 2012, again by Microgaming and, Like Secret Santa, we gave it a score of 9 out of 10 at the time.

RTP – 96.74%. We have an improvement here on Secret Santa, telling us that Scrooge is more willing to spare us some cash than Dickens allowed us to believe. This game gets an 8 out of 10 rating for its house edge of 3.26%, because there is better still to come.

Aesthetic – Our music meets the “plinky=plonky” standard, however, I would argue that at times the sound is not specifically Christmassy and could fit any manner of playful children’s movie. The look is certainly Scrooge but given that Microgaming were playing around with Victorian England, there is no excuse for not having that picture postcard Christmas view we are looking for. For that reason Scrooge is only getting a 6 out of 10 for this category.

Features – Whilst there aren’t a huge amount of features, I am pleased to see that 2 of them are very Christmas themed. There is a Christmas Dinner bonus and Countdown to Christmas Calendar bonus that meet this brief quite nicely. For that reason I’m giving Scrooge a 9 out of 10 for Christmas features.

8, 6 and a 9 out of 10 gives us 23 out of 30, meaning Scrooge can only manage a 7.5 out of 10 (Yup, we’re rounding to the nearest half) and is already out of the running to be crowed King of Christmas slots.

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Santa Surprise

Also released in 2012, Santa Surprise was an offering from Playtech that we scored a mighty 10 out of 10.

RTP – At 97.05%, the house edge here is very favourable indeed. We have no other option than to award Santa Surprise a super impressive 9 out of 10 for its excellent value for money.

Aesthetic – The sound on this one is poor. A very repetitive tune plays away in the background, supplemented by the sound of the wind whistling through Santa’s hair as he flies through the air. That would have been a nice touch if it was adding some depth to an already Christmassy sounding jingle, but unfortunately it appears to be the main Christmas sound on offer, which means it fails the Christmas ear test. As for the look; there’s plenty of Santa and lots of red and lots of snowflakes, but it is not a patch on the games we’ve looked at so far. A very depressing 4 out of 10 means that Santa Surprise has a lot of work to do if it wants to get back into the race.

Features – And, guess what? It slips up here as well. The features could be thrown into any game, with the name and the symbols changed. No invention at all and certainly nothing that we would consider to be especially Christmassy. A dismal 3 out 10 from us.

After a very solid start we have something very surprising to reveal. Santa Surprise has slipped from 10, to 5.5 out of 10. Sorry Santa, but you really must try harder.

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Jingle Spin

The newest game our list also happens to be the one that scored the least well on initial review. Net Entertainment’s Jingle Spin, which was released this month only managed a 7 out of 10, which might not bode well when faced off against all these 9 and 10s. However, maybe the Christmas scale will be kind on Jingle Spin.

RTP – 96.48% means that we have a decent house edge, but not our best. For this reason Jingle Spin begins its review using the Christmas scale with an 8 out of 10.

Aesthetic – The sound we have here is perfect and if the dwarves that are the game’s main characters were only elves I’d have absolutely no problem scoring this game a mighty 10 out of 10. However, we all know that Santa did not hire dwarves to work for him, and so for that reason Jingle Spin loses a mark and falls to 9 out of 10.

Features – There aren’t a huge number of features in this game but what is impressive is that the creation of decorations in a workshop is central to everything. Every spin involves the interactions of the dwarves and the machine that they use to help industrialise their hard work. I have to give this element of the game a 9 out of 10 because it clearly began as an idea about making decorations for Christmas and never veered away from that. If there had been an additional feature to go with it then I would have scored this a perfect 10.

With all that taken into account Jingle Spins rushes into the lead with a stunning 8.5 out of 10, 1.5 marks better than our original score with only one more game to come.

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Scrooge’s Jackpot

Scrooge is back and this time we are starting from the heady heights of 10 out of 10. Scrooge’s Jackpot was released in 2016 by Leander and impressed us then but let’s see how it does on the Christmas scale.

RTP – At 97.17% Scrooge’s Jackpot gets off to the best possible start with the lowest house edge of all the games we have looked at and a perfect 10 out of 10.

Aesthetic – This vision of Scrooge is an improvement from our first game, but not by a huge amount. It sounds a little more Christmassy and looks a little more Christmassy, but still isn’t a patch on some of the other games we’ve looked at so far. A 7 out of 10 means that Scrooge’s Jackpot will need full marks for its features if it is to tie with Jingle Spin as our joint-best Christmas slots game.

Features – There are a number of features on offer here and they all tie in with Dickens’ famous story. Festive Feast is a simple flip and reveal game, but in this instance you flip turkey’s and try to win other tasty morsels to fill you Christmas dinner plates. There are also some candle wilds but in all honesty none of it compares to the feature focus of Jingle Spin. 8 out of 10 means a healthy total.

Those scores mean that Scrooge’s Jackpot earns itself a very respectable 8.5, coming in joint first place with Jingle Spin.

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There’s no sitting on the fence allowed here at ThePogg so we will be crowning one and only one winner of our coveted King of Christmas slots award. In the result of a tie, we will look at individual scores, meaning that this year’s winner, by no more than single point is Net Entertainment’s Jingle Spin. The newest game on our list has waltzed in and brushed aside all other games in its path thanks to the inventive use of its central feature. Well done Jingle Spin, you are our best Christmas game for 2018!

Before we leave you for the year, everyone here at ThePogg would like you wish you all a Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year. Have a wonderful holiday, enjoy every minute and remember to gamble responsibly.

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