Most Unpopular Innovative Slots of 2020 and Why They Flopped

While it is natural for game providers to battle each other in repeated efforts to come up with the better-looking, smoothest-running, most-feature-packed online slot, taking novelty too far can actually come back to bite them in their… profits and industry popularity. Which is exactly what happened to the unfortunate contributors to today’s list. Today, we’ve gathered here to witness the abrupt rise in popularity of six online slots, for all the wrong reasons.

6. Wild Joker Stacks by Boomerang Games

The highest possible payout is not always the best thing to offer, as Boomerang Games gracefully taught us back in 2020 with Wild Joker Stacks’ release. Even though one could hit a potential win of 28,200 times the initial stake, everything else going on with the slot was overwhelming and needlessly overcomplicated, to say the least. To get to the aforementioned payout, players needed to jump through a series of hoops that ultimately were reduced to just two: one option that allowed the player to tinker with the many settings of the game until it would reach a comfortable and inexpensive game mode, and another that delivered the best RTP and layout, but at much greater costs. Hence, the former was ultimately deemed statistically pointless and the latter an overly expensive, high volatility venture, too affected by the risk vs. profit inequitable ratio.  

5. Lady Earth by Crazy Tooth

Like many of us, Crazy Tooth has had its ups and downs. The company managed to catch the eye (and partnership) of gambling industry’s giant Microgaming, so one would think it would be equally proficient. In truth, while there is some genius to be attributed to Crazy Tooth’s works, Lady Earth speaks volumes about those times when not everything’s going to plan. Credit where credit is due, the game benefits from good graphics, original symbols, interesting features, and a solid overall concept, but the functionality is absolutely crippled by the overuse of blocking symbols. Players just cannot enjoy a decent flow without blocking symbols crashing the party both and severely hindering the game’s true potential in both base and bonus mode.

4. China River by Bally + SG Digital

If you were going to look this one up, we’ll just tell you that’s useless right off the bat, since it has already been discontinued. The title hints to an oriental theme, but the game world itself looks and feels as if designed by somebody with a paralyzing fear of cultural misappropriation allegations. The game has no unicity to it, and that goes for both design and features. Ultimately, it is the combined loss of interest from a gambling audience eager for new – and most importantly *thrilling* - titles that drove this one into oblivion.

3. Viking’s Ransom by Barcrest + SG Digital

Much like the above entry, this game has also been discontinued because of the hot water it found itself in only shortly after release. The overall design was not appealing at all, nor can it be considered “retro”. It’s just… old. The worst feature, however, was the paytable. Players who didn’t want to stake more than £/€2 per spin would have to settle for the overall RTP being dropped by 2% right off the bat.

2. Plataea by Williams Interactive + SG Digital

This particular slot actually enjoyed an upgrade. Granted, it was only from flash player to HTML, but what ensued certainly didn’t rise to the expectations an actual update carry. First of all, the pace was extremely slow, making this title a real insomnia killer for all players that ever tried their hand at its reels. Secondly, poor production efforts led up to some visuals being reused from another equally uninteresting release (Hearts of Venice). The “Ancient Greece” category is already filled with lots of good titles and Plataea didn’t have anything new to bring to the table -other than shoddy animations and characters.

  1. 7s on Fire – Barcrest + SG Digital

While some other uninspired slots of 2020 may have had a silver lining to them, this one managed to get everything wrong. Yes, from features to design, nothing seems natural about this contraption. Classic slots are usually designed in such a way to illicit melancholy. And even if some stray away from this and take on a more modern approach, it can be forgiven if the features can step up and correct this imbalance.

The catch in this game was that players had the option to pay extra for WILDS that substituted all symbols, as the base game WILDs only substituted the seven symbols. Dubbed High Roller Spins, the feature was no success among neither high rollers nor amateurs. Moreover, all paying symbols’ values had been halved for some reason that remains unknown to this day.

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