Unlike the majority of websites that review casino games, we do it with the best interest of the players in mind. Most importantly, we have a long standing policy of never accepting commission or payments from game developers if it risks getting in the way of us maintaining an unbiased stance in our reviews. With no obligations towards those who create the games, we’ve taken the task upon us to write truly unbiased reviews in order to help our readers make educated decisions. Our world-wide reputation as an independent and truly unbiased source is something we value above anything else.
In spite of our sometimes exceptionally candid criticism, most game developers still take great interest in Bigwinboard.com and are more than pleased to be featured on the site. Not only due to the high credibility our site enjoys, but because developers tend to appreciate the input we provide them with in their continuous effort to improve their games. Moreover, Bigwinboard’s score system as become somewhat of an industry gold standard. Unscrupulous developers, meanwhile, are happy to fly under the radar in the hope of escaping any negative publicity. If you don’t find them here, it’s most likely because they lack the quality to be featured, or worse, they’re frauds and scammers.
One of the requirements we have for reviewing games is to be allowed full access before they go live, simply because we want our readers to know what they are up against before required to risk their hard earned money. This must be done with no legal demands made against us that in any way might be used to influence the outcome of our reviews. Doing so might lead to the loss of accreditation status and result in blacklisting.
Most will gladly offer us this opportunity and some will even allow us exclusive access. If you don’t see us reviewing games from a certain provider, the reason can be one of many, although usually, it boils down to the quality of the games which may be inadequate. If providers deny us access to their games we might also cease to cover them on our site, something that can be a warning sign in itself. Beware, desperate providers will happily pay site owners and casino streamers to paint their creations in a positive light – learn to see through it and do proper research.
While our reviews are fact-based to a large extent, all of them are concluded with a summary and personal reflection. Moreover, the final score is not written in stone and may be subject to change once a game goes live. Several factors may be taken into account post release, such as the frequency of big wins shared on social media, if there is a general agreement in opinion among players that greatly contradicts our score, or if the game behaves differently in a live environment compared to demo play.
Ultimately, most slots can pay, no matter how poorly designed, and players who have good runs on particular slots are more prone to hold them in high regard. In such cases, it really won’t matter what the rest of us have to say. Either way, we encourage our readers to talk to us in the comments section, to voice your opinion and to correct us if need be.
What we review
We understand that not every player is the same. Some like to try new games while others stick to old proven favorites. There are recreational players who don’t worry too much about variance or RTP, who only wish to escape reality for a while for some simple entertainment. Then you also have the hardcore gamers who are into high variance and high risk, who love the thrill of chasing big wins. Because of this, we need to keep an open mind and see the big picture when we review slots. That is also why we allow a panel of testers of different age and sex try the games before we settle on a final score.
The following are some of the key factors we take in consideration when we test new slots:
- Balancing – Does the game give you some play time or is the mathematical design unforgiving. Low quality games tend to be straight out cash grabbers, but some providers have mastered the art of keeping their games fairly well balanced.
- Playability – Annoying delay between spins? Slow win count-ups? Awkward and sluggish gameplay? These are factors that can have substantial impact on the overall experience.
- Variance – Most providers try to cater to a wide audience by producing a mix of low, medium and high variance games. In some cases, we’ve seen games that have been designed to play like high variance slots, but reward low variance payouts. Not cool!
- Bonus frequency & RTP – How long do we have to wait in between the features? Some providers are known to have significantly lower bonus frequencies than others. RTP is also a crucial factor that we look at. As a general rule, any RTP below 96% is currently considered low although the number is creeping downwards due to increased expenses from the impact of regulation.
- Originality – A slot doesn’t necessarily have to be innovative to be good. There are even examples of clones that outshine the original. What we don’t like, however, are lazy providers who systematically clone and re-skin their own (or others) games.
- Potential – For years now, there’s been a demand for increased potential and high variance brought on by massively successful slots such as Bonanza and Dead or Alive 2. Unfortunately, there are still providers out there who genuinely seem to believe that 20x is an “epic win”. It’s not.
Bigwinboard Review Scale
Slots reviews don’t just boil down to just “good game” or “bad game”. Bigwinboard reviewers, which includes both hardcore gamers and recreational gamers, are dedicated to thoughtful, well considered criticism that takes several factors into account. The final score is a point of reference, but if you really wish to understand whether a slot is for you or not, you will find what you’re looking for in the content of the review itself – including demo play in many cases.
Bigwinboard.com uses a 10-point scoring system with increments. The examples here are meant to clarify and describe what those scores most often mean to us. Scores are a helpful summation to the reviewer’s opinion, but it’s worth to accentuate that they’re not the review itself. A final score may be subject to change after a game has been released as the live performance of the slot can end up giving us a better understanding of it.
- 0 – 1.9 (Abysmal): Broken or offensively bad, possibly even rigged. Horrible value. A clear indication to stay far away.
- 2 – 2.9 (Terrible): In best case scenario, and if in a good mood, we might find one nice thing to say about it, but still far from being worth your time or money.
- 3 – 3.9 (Bad): A slot that has fallen short of its goals with very few qualities. Don’t waste your time.
- 4 – 4.9 (Poor): An entirely awkward or derivative effort. There is little to no reason to play this slot with so many other good slots to choose from out there.
- 5 – 5.9 (Mediocre): Disappointing or flawed.
- 6 – 6.9 (Fair): A slot of mediocre qualities. Other slots likely do it better, or its unique features aren’t executed as well as one would expect.
- 7 – 7.9 (Good): There’s something to it that there is to like, but can still only be recommended with major caveats.
- 8 – 8.9 (Great): A well-executed slot with superb features, great potential and compelling visuals.
- 9 – 9.9 (Superb): Extremely brilliant. This is far and away one of the best slots we’ve ever played and recommended to everyone who’s into gambling.
- 10 (Legendary): A game that has simply been unheard of and that could possibly be an industry game changer.
In almost all cases, slots are reviewed before they go live. In reality, some slots are not final at launch, or even a few weeks after launch, once bugs are patched out and other issues are dealt with. Whilst a final Bigwinboard review is mostly final, there are some cases where we will want to revisit a slot down the line and update the score, or even the review itself, to reflect the times.
It is also true that, once a slot has been released, our opinion of it may change as the time invested into playing it increases, thus allowing us to gain a better understanding of the mathematical model. To some extent, we also listen to, and factor in, what the casino community has to say. If there is overwhelming negative criticism, we may inspect the game even closer and make necessary changes if need be. Don’t forget that you can use our commenting section to voice your opinion!
Source Protection & Confidentiality
Bigwinboard.com is not just a reviewing site, it’s also an independent news site. Source protection is a right accorded to journalists under international law that prohibits authorities, including courts, from compelling a journalist to reveal the identity of an anonymous source for a story or article. The right is based on a recognition that, without a strong guarantee of anonymity, many would be deterred from coming forward and sharing information of public interests with journalists.