While many online casino software providers are based in particular local communities, some draw upon talent from around the world to drive their creations. These groups are not only taking advantage of a diverse base of programmers, artists, and developers, but also gaining insight into what players want in a variety of different markets want and expect at their online casinos.
That seems to be the driving force behind Drive Media, a provider based out of Glasgow, Scotland. While that may be where the company is headquartered, their website boasts that their staff includes professionals from throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, along with Russia and some former Soviet republics. Since 2009, they’ve been creating games and providing services for a variety of clients.
To that end, this is a firm that creates a variety of different game types, even if they aren’t known for having the biggest total collection around. And while their focus is clearly on Russia, most of the sites that include their slots and other games are also available in a variety of languages, allowing a wide range of players to enjoy them.
Small but Versatile Collection
Drive Media has created more than 30 games in total, with the majority of those naturally being slot machines. These titles don’t have the fanciest graphics we’ve ever seen, but they do cover a wide range of themes, and almost as many types of gameplay styles. The result is a fairly diverse collection even for its small size, albeit one that is based mostly on some rather generic and broad themes.
For a better look at what the company has to offer, let’s dive into a few of their machines. First, there is the rather pointedly titled machine named Guns. This five-reel, nine-payline slot is all about deadly weapons, either pistols, rifles, and much more on display throughout this machine. There’s a lot going on here graphically as well: in fact, the display, which uses just about every color in the book and features a gigantic pile of ammunition as a backdrop can feel more than a little cluttered during gameplay. Also a tad strange is the music, which appears to be a short loop of the Mission: Impossible theme – something we’re imagining the developer didn’t get the rights to use when they created the game.
Wilds and scatters also dot the reels throughout this title, with a minigun serving as the wild substitute. Scatters are helpfully marked, and can earn players thousands of coins if you can find five on the same spin. Finally, there is a free spins bonus round that can be earned, which will give players the opportunity to run through 15 free plays (with the potential of triggering even more), during which all earnings are tripled.
A slightly more specific theme is at hand in The Labours of Hercules, a title that is based on the ancient Greek myth of the same name. Once again, this game is based on a five-reel format, but there are 10 paylines in play this time, and the graphical work is a lot cleaner here: there’s a classical marble look to the reels, and the backdrop looks like a scene that could have come out of the ancient Greek countryside.
The symbols here also do a great job of living up to the stories that the game is meant to be based on. Sure, there are the basic poker rank symbols, but you’ll also get to help Hercules battle the Nemean Lion, the Hydra, and Cerberus, among the other tests that the demigod completed in order to earn his penance. One of the nicest touches the creators put into this game is that there are some small animated sequences that you’ll see every time you make a winning combination, many of which depict Hercules’ victory in his various tasks. A sword and shield act as a wild that doubles your winnings, while the Hydra is both the scatter and the gateway into the game’s free spins round; this feature is the same as in Guns, giving you 15 spins and a 3x multiplier.
One of the most interesting slots in the lineup is Sushi, a game based on the Japanese delicacy. Once again, the basics of the machine should be familiar to you by now: a five-reel game with nine paylines. This one features everything from the basic card rank symbols up through very detailed and photorealistic icons of Japanese meals: not just the sushi itself (in several different kinds of rolls), but also rice bowls and tea.
One particularly lucrative roll serves as a wild, which can benefit you in two ways. First, it has its own prizes, earning up to 10,000 coins if you can hit five in a row. Secondly, each one you find that helps you complete a different combination serves as a multiplier: each one doubles your winnings, and they are cumulative, so you can earn as much as 16x on a normal win if you hit four along with another symbol. A geisha serves as the scatter, and this is once again the way to get into the only bonus game – a free spins round, of course – that earns you 25 extra chances to win. There’s also a gamble feature that gives you a chance to play a double or nothing challenge after a winning round.
Most of the Drive Media slots fit this pattern: five reel games with a small number of paylines and just the solitary bonus round to shoot for. Overall, the gameplay is solid enough, though perhaps not with the kind of depth or complexity that serious and experienced slot players sometimes want. A few of the other interesting titles that we’ve tried and enjoyed from this company are:
- Arabian Nights
- Solokha Witchcraft
- Around the World
- Gold of Maya
As we mentioned up top, there are also some other non-slots offerings that Drive has created over the years. These come in the form of a small number of table games, most of which should be familiar to players as the kinds of classics you’d expect to see in any casino.
This collection includes several forms of blackjack, European roulette, and craps. However, some more interesting options are also offered up: you’ll find high-low, Casino Hold’em, and even a game known as Russian Poker among the options at any site spreading this software package.
Russian Focus, Global Reach
One of the first things you’ll notice when you look into where to find Drive Media games is that the company’s primary market appears to be Russia. Most of the sites these games appear on have Russian as the primary language, though as we’ve said, they can certainly be played in other languages as well. That includes Drive Casino – a site owned by the company, and which only features their games – as well as the many websites where their games appear in collaboration with titles from a variety of the world’s major developers, including luminaries like Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, Novomatic and others.
While their games library might be small, this developer does offer some other services to their clients that may have helped them gain wider distribution in the Russian market. Most notably, like many other providers, they also offer operators a complete casino package, including not only the games but all the technical needs that a site requires. That can include banking, customer service, player management, and bonus and affiliate programs, making it possible for a new site owner to get a casino up and running quickly rather than having to build a backend on their own.
Drive Media has also become a rather frequent guest at most of the industry’s biggest trade shows. The International Casino Expo, SiGMA, and the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia are just a few of the many conferences attended by this group, all of which have allowed them to get their products more global attention.
Worth a Look in the Right Markets
Drive Media isn’t the kind of company that is likely to turn heads throughout the world every time they come out with a new slot machine or software product. While their games are all very solid, and we had fun playing many of them, they don’t stand out from the crowd, and most of the biggest companies you’ve probably run into at major casinos offer products with more inventive ideas and better presentations.
That said, we think this is a fine choice if you are in one of their target markets. Drive makes perfectly good games, and in Russia and many other former Soviet republics, they are definitely a solid contributor to a number of excellent gambling sites. If you’re tired of the better-known slots you’ve played before, and are on a site where these games are offered, they are definitely well worth a look as a change of pace.