Picking the best Halloween slots for a top ten list is not going to be an easy job. There is an abundance of quality Halloween themed slots out there, the difficulty is always going to be deciding which ones stay and which ones, regrettably, need to go.
From ghosts, to vampires, to pumpkins and toffee apples, there is almost no end to the direction that a Halloween themed slot can take and subsequently there is almost no limit to the imagination that the developers put on display for us with their releases around mid-October.
Unlike Christmas, when we’re all too full of chocolate and turkey to care, we expect a lot from our Halloween slots. You won’t get away with throwing a few bats onto the reels of a generic slot like you might see with a few baubles and a dousing of tinsel in Decemeber. Expectations are high and because of this we want slots that look good and come with a host of features. If a narrative can be added to all of this then we are in prime Halloween themed slot territory.
We won’t be limiting ourselves with slots that are explicitly Halloween themed. What I mean by that is the word Halloween does not need to appear on a slot before we will consider it to be Halloween themed. The slot simply needs to embrace the spirit of the festival by being suitably spooky.
But before we do that, let’s ask the question: Why do we love Halloween so much?
Trick or Treating
One of the major reasons to love Halloween, especially amongst children is the accepted practice that we witness each year, where creatures of all sorts and sizes turn up at our doors and unashamedly beg us for our sugary snacks. At any other time of year we’d send them packing but anyone found not shunning the trick or treaters on the 31st of October is likely to be the one branded a monster, waking up the next day with a house covered in toilet paper and smashed eggs.
Along with eroding tooth enamel we also love to get dressed up. Some keen Halloweeners will plan their costumes around Christmas time. It’s our chance to become someone or something completely different for a few hours. To lather ourselves in weird make up. To put on strange clothes. To wear glasses, a wig, or whatever we never it is that we never normally get to wear.
Once the costume is sorted, you’ll either be off to a party or taking the kids out trick or treating. The term Trick or Treat is a tough one to nail down but I have read that the phrase first came into public use after it was mentioned in a Donald Duck cartoon, making it a relativity new element of a festival that has been around in some form for thousands of years.
The custom of visiting homes whilst dressed up in something unusual is one that was adopted by Christians, on what they called All Saints Day, a holiday that was taken directly from Pagan tradition, marking the end of the summer and dawn of winter. Poor Christians would knock on the doors of their wealthier brethren and receive food and clothes that they would pay for through the gift of prayer.
Trick or Treating as we know it today is a worldwide commercial entity, one that originated in American and has subsequently trounced all other versions that may have existed at some point or another. Another American element is the pumpkin, which is now widely considered to be the lantern of choice, replacing the smaller and ultimately more resilient turnip that many of us still remember carving with a blunt spoon back when pumpkins weren’t really a thing in places like the UK. In other words, Halloween, like Christmas has been popularised by America, through the TV shows and movies that we devour at this time of year.
As for Halloween themed slots, 2019 has been a good year with 3 titles all proving to be good enough to make it into our top 10. That means nearly a third of the slots considered to be worthy of a place have all been released within the last 8-10 months, with 2 of them hitting casinos in just the last 3 weeks. There are a few classic slots in here too and a few that might be judged classics in the years to come.
You can expect a set of slots that not only look the part but play the part too, and if we are lucky there might even be a little bit of value for money thrown in for good measure.
The Dark Vortex slot was released by Yggdrasil in 2018 and is a great place to kick things off, partly because you are going to be hard pushed to find a slot out there that looks better than this one does. With this slot you have to trigger parts of the vortex as you spin and doing so will increase the number of paylines that are available. This is a clever trick used by the developers to keep us playing, but shouldn’t detract from the quality of the entertainment on offer. Along with this you get paylines playing in both directions, Free Spins and stacked Wilds. This slot manages to meld a creepy graveyard environment with a warped science fiction theme that isn’t massive strides away from something you might find in the pages of a Lovecraft novel. The slot also comes with a Pay per Play Bonus that should be treated with the usual degree of caution.
The Halloween slot is one of my favourite horror movie inspired slots. It might not be as shiny or as sophisticated looking at the likes of Dark Vortex, but then its source material wasn’t exactly doing that either. The same independent stylings that made the film a gritty, terrifying slasher movie have been used on the slot that some might wrongly argue looks a bit basic. What I love the most about this slot are the shifting reels and how they are shaped in the same formation as the house that Jamie Lee Curtis applied her trade as both a babysitter and an expert evader of serial killers. There is a Trick or Treat Bonus, a Bogeyman Bonus, Wilds and a set of Free Spins. Add to that John Carpenter’s chilling piano score and you have a slot that lives up to the hype.
Arcane Reel Chaos
The Arcane Reel Chaos slot is one of my favourite Net Entertainment releases this year. In my opinion there is little to criticise about this slot, one that appears to have flown under the radar this year. This is the sort of slot that puts almost every other to shame, something you become aware of before you even start playing, as the opening sequences draws you quickly into a world of good and evil. Arcane Reel Chaos combines the occult with superheroes to create a stunning narrative, one that climaxes during your Free Spins as you try to work your way through levels, fighting the game’s bosses as you go. There are 5 characters in this slot and each character brings with them their own special random feature, meaning you are left thinking that anything could happen during any one of your spins.
The Immortal Romance slot is quite simply a classic. When Microgaming released it all those years ago I am sure that they would have had no idea how popular it would become. Released back in 2011, Immortal Romance is still one the ten most played slots in the world today. I appreciate that this number may have changed by the time you read the article, but I’d be willing to bet that it still sits somewhere inside that top 15. If we are looking at the top 10 Halloween slots of all time, then surely we need to include one that has been a favourite for over 8 years. Key to this slot is not just the theme of Vampires but the amazing set of Free Spins that come with it. There are 4 different versions for you to choose from, each one with its own advantages and disadvantages.
2018 was a big year for Yggdrasil and their Halloween slots, with the Wolf Hunters slot released just a few months before Dark Vortex. Like Dark Vortex, you can single Wolf Hunters out from many other slots simply by looking at just how stunning it is. In this slot you do battle with a terrifying werewolf, taking on the role of wolf hunter in an attempt to banish the beast from the world. Not only does this game have some stunning looking symbols and the most decedent of backgrounds but there are mini animations built into the symbols showing you either slaying the beast or being slain by it. Every time you manage to get the better of the beast you top up one of the vials on either side of the grid, as you aim to fill one of them and trigger a bonus round. This slot is not for the faint of heart. One look at the paytable will tell you that there is a lot going on and a lot to get your head around. If you only play Starburst or Rainbow Riches, then maybe this one isn’t for you, but if you are looking for something a bit different, something complex and challenging, then you need to check this one out.
The Demon slot is Play ‘n Go’s only entry on this list and also happens to be a slot that ticks more than just the Halloween box. Little did I know before playing this one that Demon are in fact a heavy metal band that helped to form the new wave of British heavy metal back in the early 1980s. If you happen to like the music then you get to spin the reels along to 5 rotating Demon songs and the symbols are made up of the band’s members. As for features, you get Free Spins with a Bonus game built in and you also get 2 different Wild symbols, each one coming with its own unique properties. But, ultimately this slot is all about the music and the horror inspired lyrics that comes with it.
I liked the original Bloodsuckers slot but the Bloodsuckers II slot is easily my favourite Net Entertainment vampire release. Why? Well, it has all the attributes that the first slot had but this time comes with a better design. Ok, that isn’t entirely true because Bloodsuckers has a better house edge and for that reason remains a slot we would recommend you play if you can find it, but you still get good value with the second instalment and on top of that you get more than 1 bonus game, a set of Free Spins and a slot that looks the absolute part.
TheLost Vegas slot asks one every important question: What could possibly be better than zombies in Las Vegas? And the answer? Not much really. What I love about this slot is the choice that is on offer. Microgaming let you decide if you want to be a survivor or a zombie before you even start playing. The only real difference with your choice will be an aesthetic one but that is a brilliant little touch that shows just how much effort Microgaming have gone to in order to bring you an totally unique slots experience. Your Free Spins come with the same choice, except this time there is a significant difference. Add to this a bonus game and a random feature and Microgaming are seriously spoiling us here.
The Halloween Jack slot was released in 2018 and came in for a little criticism from because I felt the slot could have done with an additional feature or two. Hindsight has allowed for a fresh perspective on things and I now see that I was being a touch too harsh Net Entertainment, who have actually created a stunning slot. What I realise now is that whilst there is no bonus feature outside of the Free Spins there is a collect feature that is in play during each and every spin. What this means is there is a chance that you can trigger an additional feature on every spin and unlike random features you can see just how close you got each time. This adds a degree of anticipation and the sort of frustration needed to keep us entertained throughout each spin.
Whilst I wouldn’t rate the Wolf’s Bane slot the full 10 out of 10, there is something about this 2019 slot that suggests it could become a future classic. The design is flawless, from the background, to the symbols and then on some more to the sound effects that add the desired creepy tone as you spin those reels. You get Free Spins, a Bonus and a few Wild symbols but what I think people will like most about this slot is that it is complex and compelling without being difficult to understand. A few spins and you’ll get what is going on without having to trawl through paytable or instructions. The best thing about this slot is the house edge. At nearly 3%, you are getting seriously good value for money.
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