Novomatic / Novoline Slots

novomaticNovomatic/Novoline is the name of a casino game design company that started out in land-based design and now operates in the online market as well. Novomatic was the company’s name as it rose to dominance in the land-based market, where it is currently one of the top full-service gaming providers in the world. Novoline is the name of the mobile and Web-based arm, and both platforms are slots-heavy, just like the company’s land-based library.

Owned by Austrian billionaire businessman Johann Graf, Novomatic was formed in 1980. Novoline appeared in the 1990s in response to the massive increase in interest in online gaming. Now that Novoline has moved into the mobile market, the company truly has a finger in every pie in modern online gambling.

Surely you’ve seen some of their most popular slots in land-based casinos, such as Book of Ra, Sizzling Hot or the Lord of the Ocean slots.


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Popular Novomatic/Novoline Slots

Book of Ra – This game was listed everywhere as one of the more popular land-based casino slots, so I had to give Novomatic’s online version a try. This isn’t so much one title as a small series of titles – I stuck with the Deluxe version. The theme is unique – a blend of different Egyptian and African religious traditions – and it has a really unique free spins feature that I found really lucrative. This ten payline and five reel online slot has a top jackpot of 5000x the player’s wager size, for a potential top jackpot of $500,000. That’s a worthwhile payday. I enjoyed the game’s plentiful bonus symbols. The Ra expanding wild symbol won me a ton of pretend credits, especially during my free spin round.

Sizzling Hot – I don’t play classic-style slots too often, but Sizzling Hot was one of the best-reviewed of Novomatic’s fruit machine-style games, so I played for a little while. It’s not a totally traditional game, since it offers five paylines and five reels. The theme is certainly the classic fruit machine games of yesteryear, with common symbols found on those games. Sizzling Hot doesn’t have anything to offer in terms of bonus rounds or free spins. It does include a scatter symbol system and a really big top prize including potential multipliers. It didn’t give me a lot of replay value, but for a classic game, it’s a decent investment of time and bankroll.

Lucky Lady’s Charm – Another example of a popular land-based slot that Novomatic translated to Web- and mobile-based casinos is Lucky Lady’s Charm. I picked this title because it has an unusual number of paylines (ten) and five reels. I found it a comfortable layout for my typical bankroll. As an added bonus, it has good-looking animations, cinematic music, and a free spins bonus that includes bet multiplier prizes. The theme is pretty lame – “Lady Luck” is a bit tired of a cliché – but with the chance to win as many as fifteen free spins (during which wins are doubled), it was worth a good half hour of my pretend-money play time. I would play this title again.

Novomatic Mobile Games

Novomatic/Novoline works with a company called Green Tube to produce their mobile games. This is a good thing, because mobile gaming is so far outside Novomatic’s wheelhouse that I suspect they would have produced sub-par games. Unfortunately, even the Green Tube cooperation doesn’t totally rescue Novomatic’s mobile library or the quality of the games in it.

After all, Novomatic isn’t known for making attractive games, or games that are particularly buzz-worthy. Think of Novomatic as the McDonald’s of land-based and online design. The games are consistent, they are budget-conscious, but the product wouldn’t up to anyone’s idea of a gourmet standard.

One big gripe I have with Novomatic-powered mobile products is their tiny game collection. At the time I played via my iOS-powered smartphone, I could only find mobile-friendly sites with a dozen slot games. I know Green Tube helped Novomatic produce some decent 3D online table games, but I couldn’t find any currently any available for actual play on a smartphone or tablet.

Features

One of the best features of the Novomatic/Novoline library is the company’s long-term position in the gambling industry. The designer is coming up on forty years of producing consistently-entertaining (if not the best-looking) titles for a variety of venues.

Another feature I enjoy about the casino software is the blackjack and video poker game selection. These aren’t yet available via mobile (as far as I could tell), but they’re pretty good examples of how to design an online table game. Novomatic has an online 3D blackjack game with a house edge of just about 0.55%. That’s low for an online game, and I like the transparency the company exhibits by making that information public. They also offer four versions of video poker with 9/6 payout ratios on flush and full house, all of which are low edge games for the house, in online gaming terms at least.

Overall

Novomatic’s land-based slots are fun to play (thanks to the inclusion of special symbols, bonus games, multipliers, and big jackpots) but they aren’t particularly pretty. Novoline, the online and mobile arm of the company, isn’t any different. I enjoyed playing five or six of the eight titles I tried for free online and via mobile, and I would even play most of them again. They just aren’t the most attractive games on the market, by far.

If Novomatic/Novoline produced some more modern games, with video scenes, video game-style plots, licensed themes, and the like, I believe they would soon be as popular online as they are in land-based casinos in dozens of countries around the world. For now, they’re just a little above average in the Web-based and mobile casino industry.