British casino mFortune have launched a new Hansel & Gretel-themed slot machine. The game, based on the classic fairytale, and arriving just in time for winter, offers a unique twist on the slots genre by dispensing with the reels altogether and is exclusive to mFortune.
mFortune, one of the thousand most inspirational companies in the UK according to the London Stock Exchange Group, is an online casino specialising in slot machines and award-winning poker and bingo games. The company’s development team creates all their gaming software in-house, which means that mFortune has a unique offering in the casino sector.
Launched in 2007, mFortune has a mobile-first philosophy and all their games are free to download and play on mobile – as well as on their website. The casino has more than twenty original slots games in its roster this winter, in addition to blackjack, European roulette, two poker variants in Texas hold’em and hi-lo poker, and bingo.
There’s some indication that physical casinos will need to change their business model to appeal to the next generation of players but online gambling remains a growth industry according to Statista, with global income in the region of $46 billion (£37 billion) forecasted for 2016, an increase of $16 billion (£13 billion) from 2011.
The sector is likely to post growth of 11% per year until 2020. That said, a lack of innovation in slot machines has produced a general decline in the popularity of the pastime among all but the over 55s.
However, mFortune’s constant investment in development and innovation is already bucking that declining trend in an area of casino that’s hungry for change. Hansel & Gretal is no exception with its unique twist on reels.
Despite the absence of the traditional reels, Hansel & Gretel is still recognisably a slots game, and easy to pick up by veterans or newcomers as a consequence. The distinction is in the fact that the symbols, which are themed around wildlife, chocolaty treats and forestry items, fall from cartoon trees instead.
The art style is definitely a highlight – mFortune’s game artist cited a need to contrast the “grotesquely cute with the macabre […] so, naturally, the art features a mix of teddy bears, puppies, axes, landmines, and killer bees”. There’s also a stark contrast between the innocent, doe-eyed protagonists and the haggard old witch.
Joining popular mFortune games like Double Your Honey, Bake Me A Winner, and Gold MacDonald, Hansel & Gretel includes a choice of up to 15 winlines (spins start at 2p a line) as well as an auto-spin feature. It will provide players access to mFortune’s lucrative reward system, which has seen the company pay out almost £45 million in prizes in the past 30 days.
To put that latter point into perspective, mFortune players have claimed individual jackpots of up to £32,553 in the past few months. The site also doubles first-time deposits, gives a welcome bonus to new players and offers up to 80 free spins on some slot games. A ‘keep what you win’ philosophy means there are absolutely no wagering requirements on any of their promotions.
Returning to Hansel & Gretel, a mFortune game developer intimated that making a game that stands out “from the fluid animations and sounds to the beautiful art style” was the foremost consideration. “Working on Hansel & Gretel was great fun and I believe it will show throughout the game. You can’t make fun without having fun.”
mFortune’s new slot game includes a pair of minigames in ‘Win Peaks’, which begins after the player spins two or more bird symbols in a valid winline, and ‘Witches Trail’, prompted by the appearance of two or more compasses. The two games give players the chance to enhance their winnings with prizes of varying size.
And let’s not forget about the jackpot – the appearance of five ‘buckets of jewels’ nets players the Jackpot.
Hansel & Gretel is the culmination of the efforts of a 20-strong development team at mFortune. The game is designed with compatibility at its core and functions on 99% of mobile devices on the market in 2016, stretching back to Android 2.3.1, the iPhone 4s, and second-generation iPads.
“We are constantly working toward improving the gaming experience for our players and thinking of ways to keep it fresh and entertaining, while catering to technical limitations on a different array of devices,” explained an mFortune product manager.
A preference for in-house development and building experiences their players ask for means that mFortune’s games are not available on any third-party sites; their website and iTunes are the only places players can download and play Hansel & Gretel or any other mFortune title.