Slot gaming has come a long way since the old one-armed bandit days. Modern slot machine games are designed to be visually pleasing or stimulating. In recent years, many games have added high-quality audio features, too.
Games based on TV shows or celebrity entertainers use popular songs and sound effects to create a life-like experience. One of the most entertaining slot machine games I’ve seen in recent years is the Britney Spears game.
If you’re a fan of her music, you’ll want to check out the kiosk-like game when you visit a casino that offers it. Of course, it’s not a full concert experience by any stretch of the imagination. But you’re combining two forms of entertainment into one.
What Makes a Good Adventure-Themed Slot Game?
Adventure-themed slots offer similar blending of visual and audio effects. I’ve found adventure-themed games fall into two groups.
First, there is the older style five-reel video slot. The tiles may come to life occasionally, but the bonus games are barely worth playing for. When these games first appeared, they were a nice alternative to the “classic” video slots.
Second, there are more active games. I consider a game more active if it does interesting things either during normal play or in the bonus features.
Online Adventure Slots Have Caught up With the Physical Games
If you’ve played in a land-based casino, you’ve probably found some great adventure games like Jurassic Park, Aliens, a few quest games I’ve played, and others. Online slot games have to compete with that total adventure experience at some level.
Some online 3D slot games have characters who move around the screen while you’re spinning reels. They make the game far more entertaining. The better 3D games’ characters unleash special features.
If there’s continuity of any kind in the game, then it plays more like a real adventure. I chose the following games for this article because I was able to play them, they offered at least some adventure-like options, and they had some animation.
7 – The Epic Journey by Quickspin
This game offers a lot of promise. It just doesn’t quite live up to that promise.
The game board consists of three palettes using stacked reels. I don’t like stacked reel games because they rarely line up very well. What makes The Epic Journey’s stacked reels acceptable are the liberal wild symbols and the volcano bonus.
If one or more volcano tiles appear at the same time, at least one of them is likely to blow up, spitting lava balls across the screen. Wherever lava hits a tile, that tile turns into a wild. You could score a big win!
If three earthships appear, you trigger a full bonus game. You pick a game at random, which could result in free spins, the Mushroom Forest pick game, a three-spin fossil hunt, or a big cash prize.
The game is inspired by Jules Verne adventures and steampunk movies. The music is right out of the classic steampunk/Vernian repertoire.
6 – A Switch in Time by Rival Powered
This is a time travel adventure game. I’ve read good things about it but couldn’t get the bonus game to trigger. Rival Powered games use artwork inspired by graphic novels and anime or manga.
They also have nice soundtracks. The electronic theme for A Switch in Time is cool and layered. The bottom track plays continuously but when you spin the reels they add their own track.
Free spins games are triggered by three or more lady symbols. You can win up to 78 free spins, which is definitely always a good thing no matter the amount you have in your casino gaming bankroll. The time travel bonus is triggered by three time machine symbols.
The background screen activates when you hit a clock prize. The clock at the top of the screen activates when the stopwatch pays a prize.
5 – The Elf Wars by RealTime Gaming
This is a borderline “adventure” but the premise of the game is that Rudolph has run amok and is destroying Santa’s workshop. The elf workers are in a panic and hiding. What makes this game special is the guaranteed feature.
The basic game uses a simple Christmas card art motif. There are two wilds are Rudolph and Santa. Rudolph may expand.
When the bonus game is triggered, you’re taken to Santa’s workshop. There, you must rescue as many of Santa’s elves as you can. It’s a pick game, and the more elves you find, the more free spins you get in the next phase.
As you spin the reels, your chances of winning a bonus round increase. A widget in the upper right corner counts down the spins until you’re guaranteed a bonus game.
If you become impatient, for a little extra money, you can spin a wheel for a chance to trigger the bonus game. Wait until your chances are above 50% before trying.
4 – Gonzo’s Quest by NetEnt
This is one of those games using tumbling blocks in place of spinning reels. Gonzo is a 3D character who stands beside the game board. He occasionally moves and makes noise. He may consult the map he stole to help you find the treasure of El Dorado.
When the tumbling blocks form a prize-winning pattern, they explode. New blocks fall into place and a multiplier is added to the game. The maximum is a 5x multiplier.
The bonus game is triggered when three free fall symbols line up in the first three reels. A wild symbol may substitute for one of the free fall symbols.
Gonzo then leads you through the jungle to the lost temple. There, a free spins game begins. The prizes include more free spins and Gonzo becomes more excited as the prizes stack up.
3 – Jack and the Beanstalk by NetEnt
While not the most exciting game one can play, the 3D graphics include occasional glimpses of Jack or bids flying across the screen.
The free spins feature is triggered by sliding wild symbol. It moves left at the start of each free spin. When the symbol slides off the game board, the free spins are done. More than one wild symbol may appear and the free spins can go on for a while.
The scatter symbol is a treasure chest. It triggers a bonus game where Jack comes out of his house and climbs up the beanstalk. The game awards 10 free spins.
The bonus game accumulates golden keys. After the third key appears, a stacked wild is added to the game. Two more stacked wilds appear after six and nine keys are found. The thid wild symbol is an expanding golden harp.
It is possible, though unlikely, for five golden harps to appear during the bonus game.
2 – Greedy Goblins by Betsoft
This is another 3D slot game. The goblin stands to the side of the board while the reels spin. He is more active and interesting than Gonzo.
When two Book of Secrets scatters appear, the bonus game begins. Two goblins sneak into the elf’s workshop and steal ideas until “Collect” appears. Although this is a basic pick game, the prizes and animations can be interesting.
1 – Mr. Vegas by Betsoft
If visiting a casino counts as an adventure, this is the adventure slot to end all adventure slots. If you haven’t played Mr. Vegas yet, find it and play it.
Mr. Vegas is the stereotypical sleek operator. The theme song sounds like a class Las Vegas-style song done in the style of Sinatra and the Rat Pack. I would bet some people play the intro over just to hear the song again.
The game uses animated tiles, but what makes it special is that every bonus game is based on a real casino activity that you’d see at the most popular Las Vegas casinos. You might throw some dice, bet on roulette, or pull the arm on a slot machine.
The basic game is boring, but the bonus games are well worth the wait if you haven’t played them before. Mr. Vegas is more like a virtual casino experience than the rest of the online casino.
I played a lot of games looking for good adventure-themed slots. Unfortunately, some of the developers take themselves out of the running, either by only offering free versions of older games (like Aristocrat and IGT) or by blocking US players (like Microgaming).
In years past, I’ve played games that should be on this list. But since I can’t play them anymore, I can’t recommend them. All things considered, true adventure-themed games are still hard to find. Maybe developers will bring out new adventures that everyone can play.