If you have played slots by Aristocrat before, then Ainsworth games will have an air of familiarity. The link is that the owner and chairman of Ainsworth is one Len Ainsworth – who founded Aristocrat back in 1953 and was instrumental in growing that company into the world’s second biggest slot maker. Distinctive sounds, playing card symbols even the feel of the games are distinctively influenced by Len Ainsworth. For me, these games are better produced than the Aristocrat ones, with better graphics and animations.
Ainsworth focused on live slots for many years, and now operate in casinos in many jurisdictions including the US. Their online games have a live feel to them. This can be a big positive for players trying to recreate that live casino experience. If you are used to the intensive in-reel features and elaborate bonus rounds of online slots, the Ainsworth games can feel a little simple in comparison.
I think of Ainsworth slots as solid rather than innovative. They are polished and professionally produced, though do not have the breakthrough technology you will find from the slot makers which operate primarily online.
Free spins games do include some novel behaviour, for example sticky wilds or entire reels which stay wild for the duration of the bonus game. Compared to other makers, this is hardly cutting-edge these days.
When you spin the reels you are immediately greeted with a familiar mechanical whirr and distinctive ‘click-click’ as each reel comes to a stop. This is the same sound used for many years by Aristocrat. There are other hallmarks of these games which are shared between the two companies. These include playing card symbols (which make up small wins on a lot of games), winning tunes – and the optional ability to gamble your wins on the flip of a playing card.
There are a lot of slots with wildlife themes of the games I played. Without seeing the product roadmap of games to be developed for online play, it is too early to say whether this is going to be a recurring theme or if we can expect a bit more variety with future releases.
All of the online slots from Ainsworth are broadly similar – with solid in-reel play and a single free spins bonus round. These are great games; however which one you choose is more down to your personal tastes in the theme than anything else.
Sheer Magic is my personal top pick. This slot is based around the gear of a stage magician (with the famous white gloves, hat (no rabbit visible) and bunch of flowers. What I like about this one is the game within a game in the free spins bonus round. This involves the wild symbols, which are the white gloves. If you get 2+ on the middle reels, you trigger a respin, with the wilds held in place – with a new respin if you get more.
50 Dolphins takes an aquatic theme and does a great job of making it into a polished and playable slot. Dolphins are stacked in this game, filling several positions on the reels. As they are also wild, you’ll often see multiple winning combinations filled at the same time. The animation when the dolphins are involved in a win features water splashing outside of the reels.
Of the wildlife games Winning Wolf is nicely produced, think Native American wildlife symbols with solid game-play.
Founder and Chairman Len Ainsworth has a long history in the slots business, having founded Aristocrat in 1953. Both that company and Ainsworth are listed on the Australian stock exchange, and Len continues to hold a large stake in Aristocrat.
Ainsworth have focused on expanding their live slots across the globe, and have been very successful with this to date. They now have offices located in both the US and Europe, in addition to their Australian HQ. The move to bring games online is more recent. This has been made possible by the growing popularity of in-browser games. By allowing casinos to host slots from multiple producers (rather than offering a single download) the market has opened up for a diverse number of producers.
I would sum these games up as how Aristocrat slots could have been with some more care and attention to the graphics and the production. Don’t expect anything too innovative, just great looking, solid and playable games based on some familiar slot themes.
These games are recommended for players looking to recreate a live slot experience at home. With a large catalogue of games yet to make the transition online there is plenty more action to look forward to from Ainsworth slots.