The 2021 Bigwinboard Awards Winners: The Results Are In!



Votes have been counted for the 2021 Bigwinboard Awards, and the players have spoken. We have to say upfront what interesting results they are. To say one specific provider had a fantastic year is something of an understatement! We’ll get to the big reveal very shortly, but let’s first lay out a few acknowledgements. One is for the game studios, the ear-massaging soundtracks, and the stellar collection of online slots that made the contenders list. We all know the staggering number of games released each year, so standing out from the bunch is an achievement in itself. Amongst the flow of new slots, the cream rose to the crop, and readers got to choose their favourites.

Helping navigate through the sea of releases throughout the year, Bigwinboard has been here, shining a light on those games we thought players would enjoy while flashing warning signs at others. As always, we remained impartial, judging each new slot on its merits, or lack thereof. We remain steadfastly independent, bending the knee to no provider, and will continue to do so in the future. Our loyalty is to the players, who we enjoy receiving feedback from, and what sends a louder or clearer message than a vote? We take these Awards seriously, so every vote registered was automatically and manually checked (IP, user agent, timestamp, etc.) for abnormal voting methods. Furthermore, nominees were picked following extensive research to make sure only the most popular creations made it onto the list. As for the best provider category, only accredited studios were eligible.

This year, there were three categoriesbest game, top provider, and most banging in-game tune. Votes for Game of the Year were a lot more widely distributed than they were in 2020. Last year saw the mighty Money Train 2 sweep the category, collecting over 20% of the votes. This year, there was a sweep, but of a different kind, as Nolimit City took out the top five spots. Yeah, we were just as stunned as you probably are right now. There was little doubt the studio was going to have a strong showing, but who could have foreseen the whitewash it turned out to be?

Game of the Year

san quentin slot

Coming in at the highly contested first spot was none other than San Quentin xWays. Released at the start of 2021, San Quentin xWays was a statement of the uncompromising direction Nolimit City was heading in. It was a game full of big characters that were almost as outrageous as the gameplay. The monstrous cherry on top was its 150,000x potential – achieved in spectacular style not long after the game was released.

Next on the list is Mental, which quite literally lived up to its name, being one of the most sinister, not to mention complicated online slots ever released. Few games require as much study to figure out all of its nuances.

Coming in at number three is the lighter-hearted xWays Hoarder, a humorous take on a post-apocalyptic future where toilet paper has become something like the de facto currency. A game that once again displayed the holistic creative prowess at NLC. While features are a focus, it’s not at the detriment of thematic ideas.

Securing the fourth position, Das xBoot took on the Kriegsmarine in an atmospheric slot version of the German film Das Boot. Incorporating elements of periscopes and torpedoes, Das xBoot is another elaborately crafted slot.

Rounding off fifth place is Fire in the Hole xBomb, a subterranean feature fest, which again entertained players with its clockwork-like gameplay.

From there, we move onto the non-Nolimit City slots, which are a nicely mixed bunch. Hacksaw Gaming put in a strong performance with a couple of entries in the top ten, as did ELK, largely due to their dynamic Gold range and a Wild Toro sequel. Megaways powered slots put in a respectable showing, but is the sheen starting to come off the engine? Megaways slots continue to be released on a regular basis, and a handful of new studios acquired licenses, but as the vote shows, players are also turning to alternative forms of gameplay in droves to get their kicks. Voters clearly value innovative features, unusual themes, a dash of sass, and the willingness to try something no one has ever seen or marketed before.

Soundtrack of the Year

winner slot

An important part of crafting an entertainingly original slot is its soundtrack. In this, Nolimit City again proved their expertise. Bebbing and a bopping its way into the top spot was the incredible 90s hip-hop-infused East Coast vs West Coast. Its explosion of sights and sounds was like tagging a freshly painted virgin white wall while a ghetto blaster, er, blasted.

ELK Studios‘ sound team was outstanding this year, too, with a strong performance in the voting results in which they grabbed the third position with Nitropolis. It’s hard to think of an ELK title this year that wasn’t greatly enhanced by a tasty tapestry of sound. Also interesting to note is Foxium who grabbed the sixth position with their flagship release Cossacks the Wild Hunt. The hugely ambitious production paid off as it left a lasting impression on the community.

Game Provider of the Year

nolimit city

That brings us to game developer, and it shouldn’t be hard to guess by now who took out the top spot. This one was clearer cut than the top slot category, with none other than Nolimit City coming in first place, garnering 18.75% of the vote. Creating some surprise, Hacksaw Gaming came next, managing to beat out Relax Gaming for second place. Kudos to Hacksaw, who have come a long way in a relatively short period of time from being the ‘scratch card guys’ to one of the most respected providers in the business. The rest of the top five was fairly controversy-free, where Relax Gaming, ELK, Push Gaming, and Big Time Gaming took out the remaining honours.

The Conclusion

So that was 2021, the undisputed year of Nolimit City and their ‘x’ features. The studio was consistently good, spreading their talents over a number of games rather than scoring a home run with one massive hit. Respect goes out to every studio, every game, or soundtrack that made it into the Awards. Each entry offered something special, which resonated with a demanding gaming crowd, making them stand out above the rest, deserving of a clap.

Shall we end on a cliché? The real winner in many ways is you guys, the players who get this wealth of entertainment to responsibly enjoy. Many thanks for voting, reading, and journeying through 2021 with us at Bigwinboard – see you in 2022!


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