Over the last two decades, Malta has become one of the hubs for the online gambling industry. Not only is the Maltese Gaming Authority one of the most important regulators in the business, but many online casinos and software providers are also headquartered here, making it a major part of the economy for the tiny island nation.
One recent example of a company that has set up shop in Malta is GameArt. Launched in 2013, the firm is an independent creator of games for both Internet and land-based gambling operators. In just three years, they’ve expanded to have offices in Slovenia, Serbia, and the United Kingdom. Offering up not only slots but also a complete game management system on the backend, this is a firm that is looking to make waves with an extensive portfolio of products.
Large Collection, But Slots-Focused
Even though this is a fairly young company, there are already over 75 different titles in the GameArt collection. However, they have more or less entirely devoted themselves to creating slots at this time. That’s rare for a studio that has already developed so many games, but they have a reasonable answer for why they’ve made this decision: they feel that there is little innovation to be done in the world of casino games at large, while slots still offers plenty of design space for them to work in.
With that in mind, you might expect to see some innovative ideas or interesting twists in this company’s slots collection. Let’s take a closer look at a few of their machines to see what they have in store.
First, let’s jump into Da Vinci Codex, a game that has clearly drawn a lot of inspiration from The Da Vinci Code. In fact, the entire game is designed to look like a “cryptex,” a device first created for those novels by author Dan Brown. Just as those devices required users to spell out a correct five-letter word to discover the secrets hidden inside, this game is played over five reels, with 100 paylines on which players can match grails, the Mona Lisa, rings, drawings, and other symbols that will be familiar to those who read the Da Vinci Code or watched the film based on the novel.
Overall, the game looks quite pretty: the codex itself is lined in gold, and appears to be set in a box lined with red silk. It is an elegant look that certainly fits the theme. The main special feature is a free spins game that the player can earn by spelling out VINCI across the five reels; during the bonus round, extra wild symbols (a wax seal) will appear, making big wins easier than ever. At the end of each spin, you’ll also have the option of playing a gamble game where you can risk your winnings for a chance to walk away with double your prize. Overall, it’s a fun and thematically consistent title, though we have to say that the sound design is pretty uninspired and lacks polish: there are just a few beeps and cash register noises to denote wins.
Another game that drew our interest was Tesla: Spark of Genius, a game based on the exploits of the brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla. Along with the visage of Tesla himself – the most valuable symbol, of course, you’ll be able to match light bulbs, books, towers and museums in order to complete prizes in this 243 Ways style game. Plasma balls act as a wild symbol, while three or more scatters will take you directly into a free spins bonus. You’ll be able to choose between three versions of the special feature, with the choice of more free games or bigger multipliers on wilds being completely up to you. Once again, the one area in which we were not impressed here was in the use of sound – while the rest of the title feels modern, the win noises feel like something from a much older slot, and there is no music during play.
Finally, we decided to take a peek at a cuter game by playing with the adorable Kitty Twins. As you’d imagine, this is a game all about our little feline friends: the five reels are set against a backdrop of a play area a cat would love, while players can match fish, balls of yarn, bowls of milk and the kittens themselves over the game’s 20 paylines. Unlike the above two games, there’s a bit better sound work here: while the win noises are pretty much what we described before, there is music that plays while you’re spinning, and we have to admit that we loved when the wild cat symbols meowed at us after taking part in a win! Hitting enough cats in a row will earn you free spins, during which all of your earnings are doubled.
These games are pretty much par for the course across the GameArt line. All three of the ones we described – in addition to many of their other titles – are very solid slots for the most part, and are fun to play, especially if you like the themes. However, you won’t see much out of the ordinary in terms of gameplay; in particular, if you like having several bonus features on a slot, you won’t see a lot of that here. Still, it’s a good portfolio, and this collection would make a solid backbone for any casino site.
The following are a few of the other GameArt machines we really enjoyed:
- 5 Elements
- Crystal Msyery
- Dancing Lions
- Explosive Reels
- Gold of Ra
- Power Dragon
- Thai Dragon
- Wild Dolphin
Plenty of Partners, Quick Integration
Given that they have such an extensive collection of visually attractive and thematically interesting slots available, GameArt has quickly been able to find themselves included in the software used by quite a number of prominent casino sites. We’ve already seen them at dozens of operators across the industry, often alongside games from many other operators – primarily in grey market jurisdictions, but also occasionally in markets like the UK. Interestingly, we’ve seen these games at quite a few Bitcoin casinos, though not in a way that makes us think they are exclusively targeting this part of the market.
The company has also prided themselves on having software and games that are easy to integrate into any site. As they note on their website, this process can occasionally take as much as three months, but in some cases, they’ve been able to have things up and running for a client in as little as three days, which helps explain why they’ve already been able to gain such a strong foothold in the industry.
A Growing Force
GameArt is still a smaller player in the online casino software industry, but they are growing fast, and it is easy to see why. Their lineup of slots may not be quite as innovative as they’d like to imagine, but it still stands out as a unique collection that’s a lot of fun to play, with a great variety of themes and solid gameplay that can keep players occupied at satisfied for a long time.
The company says that they are working on eventually building table games and other products that would round out a complete casino product for clients. When that occurs, we expect that you’ll hear a lot more about GameArt. For now, they’re already in enough casinos that you’ll probably come across their games eventually, and chances are you’ll find at least a few titles in their portfolio that you’ll probably end up adding to your favorites.