Even among experienced online gamblers, it’s probably true that most players are only familiar with a handful of software providers: probably no more than a dozen or so of the biggest developers, at most. The fact that there are dozens more doesn’t really impact most players: the majority of games come from the major companies, and if minor contributors happen to throw a few of their games onto a site, that’s just an added bonus.
But it is often worthwhile knowing about these other, smaller firms, as they can sometimes offer a unique style or different take on your old favorites. And certainly, some of these groups offer games that are of just as high quality as any of the big names you’re more familiar with.
One great example is Octavian Gaming Solutions, a small Italian software provider that is headquartered in Verona, Italy. Founded in 2013, this private firm says that less than 50 people work for them, but they’ve still managed to put together a relatively interesting collection of slot machines. The suite of games has a distinctive look and feel that may appeal to many players, especially if you’re tired of playing options from the same developers again and again. We haven’t seen these games at many sites yet, but they are still an interesting option to consider.
A Large Collection of Italian Treats
Octavian Gaming isn’t one of those companies that develops entire casinos for operators; instead, you’ll see their games included in larger platforms as a way to build a stronger slots selection. The company has produced more than 70 different machines that cover an array of themes and play styles, many of which have a sharp, realistic art style that is an interesting contrast to many other firms that either go for cartoonish graphics or branded content featuring video, photos, or other preexisting art assets.
Exactly what you’ll get out of these machines depends on precisely what you play, though. Looking at the earliest games created by the studio, there’s much more of that classical cartoonish style at work – and often, these older games look sub-par compared to the competition.
However, things have drastically improved as time has gone on. More recent additions to the company’s portfolio show a dramatic increase in artistic quality, with sharp drawings, interesting CGI creations, and a real sense of originality (in terms of style, if not the themes, which can be somewhat generic). One notable aspect of the game art is the inclusion of a lot of women wearing skimpy clothing. We’re not judging, as this is hardly rare at any media aimed at a majority male audience, but the prevalence is striking: of their newer games, around half of them feature promo shots that display women in low-cut outfits, which is a bit more risqué than most developers are willing to go these days.
But enough about how the games look: how do they play? Let’s take a look at a few of the newer machines, which we think will be the favorites of most players who browse this selection. We’ll start with Mars, a game that features a theme we’re surprised hasn’t been used more often in recent years: the exploration of Earth’s planetary neighbor. Along with some futuristic versions of the classic poker rank symbols, players will also be looking for explorers, space shuttles, robots and more across the game’s five reels and up to 10 paylines. Players can also earn free spins or enter a fun bonus round in which they can pilot a ship to pick up extra winnings.
If you’re a fan of shows like The Walking Dead, then you might want to give Zombie Lab a try. It’s a game that really tries to emulate the feel of the survival horror genre, doing so by starting with reels that feature the human scientists and other characters along with equipment like microscopes. But that all changes when you end up in the free spins round, where the reels become toxic, adding extra zombie versions of some of the characters to the reels as wild symbols. There’s also a zombie pick ‘em bonus in which you can quickly rack up a lot of free credits.
Another intriguing title is Golden Key, which sets itself in a high fantasy world of legends and heroes. You’ll be set with matching wizards, warriors, princesses and towers across the gorgeous reels, which also feature mystical runes and a lovely forest backdrop. The biggest prize comes if you can enter the free games mode and then collect enough keys to earn an opportunity at the dragon’s treasure, which could allow you to walk away with a king’s ransom in prize money.
Of course, these are just a few of the many titles you can find while you browse through the Octavian collection. A few of the other titles that we really found interesting while checking this company out include:
- Dragon’s Queen
- The Forge
- Icy Fruits
- 80 Days Around the World
- Mister X: Theft Master
- Blackjack Club
Beneficial Partnerships, But Payouts May Be a Concern
One of the things that we look for whenever we evaluate a new company is what other studios and firms they’ve worked with in the gaming sector. That proved to be a little challenging in the case of Octavian – much of their website is not translated from the original Italian, for instance – but we still found that they’ve worked to improve their collection and outreach by collaborating with some other groups.
For instance, we know that they have worked with fellow Italian developers GL Intrattenimenti to create some of their latest games, including the Mars slot that we highlighted above. While they haven’t been seen in many casinos yet, their games have been offered alongside those of Oryx, a young but larger firm that has more of a worldwide reach.
During our research, we did find one thing that might be of some concern to players. On their website, Octavian is kind enough to list the return to player on most of their games, which is something we wish more developers would do. Unfortunately, the percentages are rather low in this case: most of their slots return just 75% or so to players, which is relatively low. It’s unclear if operators have the ability to increase this percentage if they would like to, but it seems like these games are more about fun and interesting features rather than giving players a good shot at coming out on top in the long run.
A Rapidly Improving Provider
Octavian is one of the smaller firms that we’ve reviewed, but that doesn’t mean that they should be underestimated. Already, in just their first three years in existence, we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of the games they’ve produced, and that is likely to mean you’ll be seeing more of them in the Italian market and beyond.
Of course, we’d also like to see these machines loosened up a bit in terms of payouts: given the current numbers they display, these games aren’t going to be of much interest to players who are serious about getting the best odds possible. But if you’re looking for an artistic, entertaining option, and you have access to a trusted Octavian Gaming casino site, then we think you’ll get a lot of fun out of these games.