Typically, players think of each online casino software provider as an independent entity. A company makes some games, then sends them off to operators who put them on their sites. One group makes the games, another runs the casinos, and players can just sit back and enjoy them.
But behind the scenes, the situation can be a bit more complex than that. Sometimes, development studios put together games on behalf of other providers, partnering with them to create games that will be delivered to a much wider audience. One such group is Games Lab, a company based in Sydney that was incorporated in 2008. Part of the larger Blue Wombat group, the team at their studio now numbers more than 50 people who work on various types of games.
Today, you can find games from this firm on both real money casinos and social gambling apps and sites, with some of their best known titles having been released for Facebook and mobile apps. But you may know some of their titles best if you’ve played at casinos that use other major types of software, as they have been critical in delivering games to a variety of partners over the years.
Slots You May Have Seen Before
When it comes to their library of titles, Games Lab is pretty much a one note studio: they create slots, and lots of them. But while some of these creations are released directly under their own name, a lot of them are also found under other software packages.
The most obvious example of this is a clear partnership with Realtime Gaming. If you’ve ever played at an RTG casino, you know that their Reel Series of games has always been the core of their slots collection. However, since those games were developed a long while back, newer titles have supplemented these standbys to give a more modern look to the library.
Some of these titles come directly from Games Lab. Popular and innovative options like Orc vs. Elf and Megasaur were created here, only to be placed in the RTG collection. Because this company offers a variety of services – from complete game creation to art direction – it’s hard to say how much input they had into each of these machines, but it still goes to show that their reach is far wider than just those titles that are obviously theirs.
That said, there are some real money and social slots that the company has produced under their own name. One excellent example is Jewel of the Jungle, a five-reel, 50-payline slot machine with a tropical theme. This game is loaded with beautifully-drawn depictions of lush forests and the animals and plants that live there. Filled with greens, this is a very natural looking machine, and also one of the best-looking titles we’ve seen in a while to utilize the hand-drawn style that stands in stark contrast to the 3D computer graphics used in many modern games.
The game itself is a fairly standard slot machine, with players earning money if they can match plants, butterflies, snakes, monkeys, and tropical birds. The biggest standard prizes belong to the fierce jungle cat, which can earn up to 1,000 credits. There are also a couple of types of special symbols, including a wild diamond and a waterfall scatter that can award up to 20 free games, during which additional wilds will be added to the reels.
An interesting addition to the lineup is Crazy Pop, a five-reel game that has an option for a sixth reel side bet. This game has a candy theme, but is set against a soda (or “pop”) backdrop, making this a game designed for those with a strong sweet tooth. In the base game, players match various types of candies across the 50 paylines that are in play, looking to collect prizes by making long winning combinations, as in any other slot machine. There’s a general assortment of special features, such as a 3x multiplier wild that can expand to cover an entire reel, and a free spins game that awards up to 20 additional plays with extra wilds on every spin.
But players can actually enjoy this game in one of three ways. In addition to standard play, there’s an optional Fizzy Bet, which costs as much as the total wager on that spin. When this is activated, a sixth reel will include multipliers of up to 20x that will be applied to wins. If you’re willing to make a side bet equal to twice your spin wager, you can instead activate the Crazy Bet, where that sixth reel will include multipliers worth up to 100x.
Finally, we’ll take a look at Tianlong, a Chinese-mythology themed machine that features a modest 10 paylines over five reels. This is yet another beautiful game, with an incredibly serene and scenic backdrop offset by lanterns, flowers, trees and mountaintop temples on the reels themselves. Many of the symbols appear stacked, and wins can take place either left-to-right or right-to-left, which greatly increases the chances of winning on each spin.
There are two mythical symbols that have special powers on the reels. First, Tianlong – a dragon – acts as the game’s wild, and has the ability to expand and cover an entire reel at once. When this dragon makes an appearance, you’ll also immediately receive a free respin with the wild remaining in place. There’s also a phoenix scatter that triggers 15 free spins for players, during which all winnings are doubled.
These are just a small sampling of the machines that have been created by Games Lab over the years. The company is also known for their social casino products, which they first rolling out in 2013. Today, this product – Slots central – can be found not only on Facebook, but also in versions for Android and iOS. Some of the games that are included in this package include:
- Swamp Monster
- Titan’s Treasure
- Roller Rampage
- Valley of the Kings
- Run Rabbit, Run
- Beach Racer
A Partner at Many Levels
As a development studio, Games Lab offers services to their clients on a variety of different levels. As you would expect, their team is available to fully develop in-house games from the ground up. They are able to design products of many different styles and types, and can go beyond simply creating a slot machine to also handling integration, marketing, and customer support for each of their creations. Rather than being built from a preexisting mold or framework, each of these products is custom designed to provide a unique experience for clients and the players who ultimately used them, whether that’s online or at land-based casinos.
However, the company also specializes in providing art services to other businesses, helping them to create their own content by providing artistic assets that can greatly improve the presentation of their slots. Services include illustrations, interface design, storyboards, concept art, and environmental art.
More recently, this studio has even been getting into the gaming world outside of gambling. In 2015, they released Final War: 5 Dragons, a match-3 puzzle game with a fantasy theme. While that may not be of particular interest to most gamblers, it does go to show how versatile the group is – something that comes in handy in creating machines that are both beautiful and interesting to play.
Obscure Name, Great Creations
It’s understandable if you’ve never actually heard of Games Lab before now, as there aren’t really any casino sites that are powered by their software or include a full section with their games. Instead, they’ve worked behind the scenes to bolster the collections of other providers, making relatively few games of their own over the years.
What games they have been responsible for are quite impressive, however, and chances are that you’ve tried at least a few of them over the years, especially if you’ve played at an RTG casino. This is a company that does an incredible job of creating beautiful and immersive games. Even though this isn’t the kind of company that you can seek out for all your casino needs, their games are definitely worth playing when you come across them.