The modern online gambling industry is indisputably one that’s all about consolidation. Recent years have seen smaller companies bought out by larger ones, big companies merge to combine their strengths while cutting costs, and massive acquisitions that have changed the state of the iGaming world forever. This means that many studios that were once independent are now part of larger families of companies, producing games on their behalf but often still bearing the name of the smaller group.
That’s the case for Side City Studios. Founded in 1999, this studio, based out of Montreal, Canada, is a game development company that specializes in creating both online and land-based gaming products, with slots being their clear focus. One of their particular strengths is in 3D production, where they’ve created tools like character generators that help it create interesting and engaging games for players to enjoy. From design and programming to HD promotional videos and graphics, this is a firm that certainly knows how to put together a strong package for its clients.
While this provider once released games on their own behalf, this changed in 2015, when they became part of the NYX Gaming Group. But that move hasn’t changed much about the work ethic or creations that come out of this talented studio of developers. While they may not be known for a particularly prolific portfolio of titles, the games they have produced are well-liked and make a worthy addition to just about any casino, either on land or on the Internet.
Gaming in Three Dimensions
We’re always fans of providers who specialize in quality over quantity. That’s not to say that major suppliers who have made hundreds of games are bad; in fact, some of the best companies in the industry fit that mold. But there’s also plenty of room for boutique developers who work hard on crafting each machine, making sure each game is as enjoyable and fully-realized as possible.
Side City Studios definitely fits into that latter category. While they’ve only created a handful of titles for the online gambling world, each of these games feels like something that had a lot of crafting and work put into it. That means you won’t get the impression that you’re playing cookie cutter slots that play just like everything else you’ve ever seen. Instead, you’ll get to enjoy impressive graphics, interesting gameplay features, and a truly unique experience each and every time.
For instance, let’s look at one of the company’s most prominent games, Fortunes of the Amazons. This game uses the familiar theme of the world’s most famous female warriors, but it doesn’t resort to boring clichés to do so. Open up the game, and you’ll not only see a gorgeous green landscape with a purple sky behind the transparent reels, but you’ll see plenty of animated parts on both sides of the screen: weaponry, a banner, and a roaring fire. On the reels, the symbols are all crafted with fine details: each of the Amazons looks truly unique, while other icons have a gleaming look with plenty of work in the detailing to make them feel like you could reach out and touch them.
Once you get down to the gameplay, you’ll see that this is a five-reel, 50-payline machine in which players are looking to make matches from left to right across the reels. Smaller wins come from armor, weapons, and jewelry, while the Amazonians themselves are worth more cash, and the game’s logo provides the biggest payouts. Players have the option to set the cost of each coin from several denominations, and can bet up to 5 credits per line, giving them plenty of control over the cost of each spin.
Plenty of special features are here to prevent the gameplay from getting dull as well. Wilds can substitute for any normal icon, while a free spins symbol can get you 5 free plays with locked wilds that enhance your chances of winning. A bonus wheel feature can award an instant credits prize as well, while the randomly triggered Amazons’ Fire Feature gives you another free spin with four wild symbols randomly inserted on the reels.
Play Like an Egyptian
One of the more interesting thematic ideas in the Side City collection is Egyptian Rise. Now, you may be thinking that every single developer out there has at least one title based on Ancient Egypt, and you’d be right. But how many of them combine this idea with a sort of 1980’s retro vibe? In this case, you’ll see a colorful, laser light show background setting the stage for reels that feature symbols made to look like they are created out of neon lights. It’s an incredibly interesting and unique take on a theme that can easily get stale.
Egyptian Rise is a 243 ways to win game, which means you won’t have to worry about paylines as long as you connect identical symbols from left to right. Players are tasked with matching classic Egyptian symbols like cats, ankhs, falcons, and the pharaohs themselves, all of which provide prizes if you can hit three or more in a row. A scarab wild can substitute for any other icon and the “On a Roll” feature adds more of these to the reels during a free re-spin each time you score a winning combination. Make four winning spins in a row, and you’ll trigger the Pharaoh Feature, giving you free games until you fail to score wins enough times to use up all your “pharaohs.”
There are a few other games in the Side City portfolio that are also worthy of note. These include titles like the sea life themed Coral Reels, the Mexican classic Dia De Los Muertos, and the German-themed Bavarian Fest. These all include the same signature high-end graphics and feature-rich gameplay that we’ve come to expect from this provider.
A Valuable Purchase
While Side City may not have created a huge number of games over their years in the business, they have provided a great range of services to their clients, making them valuable in a variety of ways. From video and television production to digital signage and video game creation – including apps for the iPhone and other mobile devices – this is a firm that can do just about anything a gaming company might want from them, either for immediate needs or for promotion of related projects.
It is likely these abilities that made Side City Studios such a valuable addition to the NYX Gaming Group. The purchase, which took place in 2015, put the developer in the NYX Digital Gaming division of the corporation, and gave the group a firm footing in North America as a part of an overall global strategy. Today, the provider offers up their online games in HTML5, meaning that these add to the growing mobile-optimized collection offered by NYX, ensuring that these titles will always be compatible with whatever operating system you choose to play in.
Not Just a Side Project
While you may not be familiar with much of their work, we think that Side City Studios is certainly worthy of the attention of serious online casino gamblers. Their games are about as well made as anything on the market today, with fine graphics, smooth animations, and interesting and diverse gameplay options that help set them apart from the crowd. The fact that they are folded into the NYX collection means that while their library of titles is small, these games are now widely available to a great number of players around the world. If you have the chance to play at a gambling site that includes these titles, you’ll definitely want to give them a spin.