In any industry, it is easy to get pigeonholed into a role that a company no longer wants. That’s just as true when it comes to online casino software as anything else. Once a developer becomes well known for doing something well, more and more clients demand that service, making it difficult to branch out into other areas.
But one example of a company that managed to break out of this cycle is Push Gaming. This London-based firm was formed in 2010 as a group that wanted to fulfil a very specific service: take land-based slots and port them over for online play. It was a nice little niche for the group, and for a couple of years, their translated games became a staple at many major operators, particularly in the UK itself.
But in 2013, the company sought to expand into a new arena: creating their own games. Building them in HTML5, Push Gaming began to create a small library of slots titles that were entirely their own creations, and over the past couple of years, they’ve been able to get these products into some prominent casino sites. That has allowed the group to expand their business, and while they’re still a small contributor to the overall iGaming industry, they’ve found their way into partnerships with some of the biggest brands in Europe.
Attractive and Innovative Games
Right now, the Push Gaming portfolio is a very small one, with quality clearly being the focus. Most of these games have a very distinctive, 3D computer animated look to them. We’re not going to say that these creations are up to the level of a Pixar film, but the style is definitely reminiscent of those movies, which games these games a very different feel than most online casino games.
But while gorgeous graphics are nice, the quality of a slot machine will ultimately come down to its gameplay, so let’s take a deeper look at a few of these titles. First, there’s Hockey Hero, a game based on everyone’s favorite fast-paced ice sport. This is a 40-line, five-reel slot set against the backdrop of a sold out arena. Surprisingly, there’s not much going on in the background: despite the attractive nature of the artwork, it is mostly static, with only some basic animations used to denote a win.
Along with the basic poker rank symbols, you’ll also be matching pucks, skates, and helmets. The more interesting symbols are three hockey players who are extended to fill an entire reel (meaning they are essentially stacked), making it easier to match them several times; a stacked wild trophy also makes help you find wins. There are also a couple special features: land a full hockey player on the first reel, and you’ll get a free respin of the remaining symbols, while three scattered goal symbols will get you into a free spins round with a random multiplier added to all wins.
One of the cuter games in the collection is Meet the Meerkats, a slot machine based around the desert relatives to the mongoose. These particular meerkats are a bit more evolved than those found in the real world, however: they wear cloths and live just like humans. Like Hockey Hero, this is a five-reel, 40-line game with a few stacked symbols: this time, it is the meerkat family members who take on these high-paying roles, with a rambunctious little boy acting as the wild. Interestingly, the features here are exactly the same as described above: there is a hold and respin feature, as well as a free games bonus round that is triggered by hitting three scatters (door icons, in this case).
Just to show that not every game is exactly the game, let’s dive back into the world of sports with Ultimate Dream Team. This football (or soccer) themed game is another five-reel slot, though it uses just 25 lines. The object is to match the faces of a number of footballers across the reels, including the striker, who is (once again) large enough to fill an entire reel. Some of these players may look like famous stars, but as far as we could tell, there is no actual licensing going on here, so you’ll have to make any connections between these fictional players and your real favorites on your own.
The game is brought together by a golden ball, which acts as a wild. There are also two special features. First, hitting three shirt symbols will start the Reveal a Star Free Spins round, during which stacked shirt symbols will hit the reels, revealing either a player or wild symbols in their wake. But our favorite mini-game is the Dream Team feature, which is triggered when you match up three manager symbols. In this round, you’ll choose players in order to fill out your team’s lineup, earning instant credits each time until you find a second yellow card – removing yourself from the game.
Since this is such a small collection, there’s no sense in just highlighting a few of our favorites. Besides, the rest of the collection is of a similar quality to these: good gameplay, excellent graphics, though without the animations or extra polish you sometimes see in recent releases by larger companies. Their game list is as follows:
- Bonus Beans
- Gems of the Gods
- Golden Farm
- Hockey Hero
- Humpty Dumpty
- Meet the Meerkats
- Peter & the Lost Boys
- Star Fall
- Ultimate Dream Team
- Wild Neon
Building Partnerships with Bigger Brands
Push Gaming’s history may be interesting, but their transition from simply porting games to making their own titles may have served them well. The connections they’ve made over the years appear to be paying off, as even with a very small group of games to deliver, they’ve been able to get their products into some rather prominent and respected sites in the past few years.
Early on, the company was able to partner with major platforms like Openbet and Microgaming’s Quickfire, as well as see big operators like William Hill express an interest in their work. Since launching their own lineup, Push’s slots have also found their way onto Unibet, which signed an exclusive deal with the company to develop games for their sites. Since then, they’ve been able to further expand their business to Betsson and other operators, making them a common site in regulated markets in Europe – particularly their home nation of the UK.
A Push in the Right Direction
Push Gaming hasn’t done anything yet that could be considered a real step forward in the iGaming industry, but that doesn’t mean that their games aren’t worthy of some notice. Graphically, these are among the most attractive slots we’ve seen, due in no small part to the fact that they do look distinctive. Often, it is difficult to tell who made a slot based on its style alone, but this company definitely has a real knack for creating games that are truly theirs: if you like how one looks, chances are the whole line will appeal to you.
At the moment, the small number of games and the limited gameplay features means that there’s no reason you have to try these games. But if you’re in the right markets, you may well get a chance to play these titles even without making much of an effort, since the company has done such a great job of getting their library out there into the hands of major operators. If you find yourself playing at a site that does include these slot machines, do yourself a favor and give one or two of them a try, as they all offer a pleasant experience that’s just a bit different than most of what’s on the market today.