Yggdrasil has emerged as one of the industry’s top suppliers of superior slots games. It provides content to the likes of bet365, Betsson Group, bwin.party, Cherry, LeoVegas, Mr Green and Unibet, including smash hit titles Vikings Go Wild and Holmes and the Stolen Stones.
Yggdrasil Gaming’s rise from start-up to top-tier slots developer has been meteoric. It has built a reputation for designing and developing some of the most graphically rich and mathematically smart games on the market, with a particular focus on tools and features that drive player engagement.
The company was founded back in 2013 by Fredrik Elmqvist, former head of account management and chief of global market operations for NetEnt. Elmqvist took Yggdrasil from idea to launch in less than 12 months, with the business expanding rapidly in the five years since.
The supplier is headquartered in Malta, but has additional offices in Poland, Sweden and Gibraltar, employing more than 160 people. It holds licences in Malta, Gibraltar, Romania and with the Gambling Commission in the UK. Its games have also been certified for launch in Italy.
Yggdrasil’s portfolio currently stands at 38 slots games, all of which come loaded with unique tools and features – such as the ability to share big wins on social media – that allow the developer to stand out from the crowd. Its titles also boast some of the most incredible graphics and animations on the market.
Unlike some of its rivals, Yggdrasil does not hold licences with entertainment brands and instead focuses on designing and developing original content. Some of its titles point towards well-known characters – Holmes and the Stolen Stones is a clear nod to famous detective, Sherlock Holmes.
The popularity of Yggdrasil content is unquestionable, and the developer has come a very long way in a short space of time. It may still consider itself something of an underdog, but in reality, it can very much hold its own among some of the largest and most established slots developers.
Compared to other slots developers, Yggdrasil Gaming has a relatively small portfolio of just 38 games. But considering the company has only been active for a little over five years, that in itself is impressive. The ethos here is very much quality over quantity, with the supplier rolling out around 12 new games per year.
Yggdrasil only creates slots, so no table games, poker or live dealer. This, however, has allowed it to really dial in on slots, designing and developing games that move the needle when it comes to theme, graphics, maths, mechanics, bonus rounds, tools and features.
All its games are developed in HTML5, and delivered to online casino sites via its iSENSE 2.0+ framework. This allows for simultaneous launches on desktop and mobile, so players can access Yggdrasil slots on pretty much any computer, smartphone or tablet device currently in circulation.
Its most popular titles to date include Vikings Go Berzerk, Holmes and the Stolen Stones, and Golden Fishtank. Its slots feature exciting bonus games – when the free-spin mode is activated in Golden Fishtank, 18 objects emerge from the depths and come to life. The player takes their pick, with each giving a different reward.
The supplier also offers two popular progressive jackpot games – Empire Fortune and Joker Millions – which regularly pay out and with big wins in excess of €5m and €3m to date respectively.
As a relatively new software supplier, Yggdrasil Gaming was an early adopter of HTML5. This has enabled it to roll out a string of innovative features and tools that really take the player experience to the next level. For example, the latest version of its development framework boasts retina support for crisper visuals.
Its games are supported by BOOSTTM, a collection of in-game tools that ramp up the fun factor for players. This includes missions, Super Free Spins (players spin until they win) and Cash Race (players wagering on a particular slot at a set time can see cash randomly drop into their wagering account).
Another ground-breaking tool offered to players is BRAG, which allows them to watch replays of big wins on tournament games or over the last 10 spins on a normal slot game, and share the footage with their friends on Facebook and Twitter.
The supplier’s latest breakthrough is the sophisticated Fusion Realms mechanics, which allows Yggdrasil to seamlessly mix different reel sets and multiple features in a single game. Fusion Realms is used in Yggdrasil’s most complex game to date – Jungle Books – where the mechanics allow the game’s five characters, each with two individual features, to jump between five different game modes while creating 45 different feature combinations for players to chase wins on.
All these tools have established Yggdrasil as a real innovator in the market and set it aside from its rivals.
Yggdrasil was one of the first game developers to switch to HTML5. All its games are HTML5 compatible, meaning they can be played on almost any smartphone or tablet device, and on iOS, Android and Windows operating systems. HTML5 is now the only platform it develops in.
The supplier’s iSENSE 2.0+ HTML5 framework allows games to be launched on desktop and mobile simultaneously, meaning players can access games regardless of platform. Its mobile games feature responsive design, blazing-fast load times, a slick UI, fast-play mode and a no-screensaver mode.
As such, mobile is now the dominant channel from which Yggdrasil slots are played, accounting for 56% of total gross gaming win.
Our top three Yggdrasil games
Yggdrasil may have one of the smaller game portfolios on the market, but it is certainly varied with a wide range of themes on offer. The mechanics of its games differ, too, as do the bonus rounds and features.
Here are Jackpot.co.uk’s top picks to get you started.
1. Holmes and the Stolen Stones
20 pay lines
Desktop and mobile
Players join Mr Holmes in his search for the missing stones. The game features eight regular symbols – including a leather notebook and a magnifying glass – but no wilds. There is a bonus symbol and a scatter symbol – a rusty keyhole for the former and a golden keyhole for the latter. Three bonus symbols unlock the bonus round feature, which sees players enter a warehouse and pick from a stack of boxes. The boxes contain rewards, such as cash prizes or a shard of diamond. There are five shards in total to collect, which unlock the jackpot.
2. Vikings Go Berzerk
25 pay lines
Desktop and mobile
This is the sequel to the Yggdrasil’s smash hit Vikings Go Wild slot. The game features four Viking characters; they each have a rage meter which increases whenever you win with their character symbol in the base game. Once their rage meter is full, that particular Viking enters Berzerk Mode – this means they always defeat the siren and remain a sticky wild until the end of the free spins feature. The game boasts stunning graphics and rich visuals, as well as a powerful Norse soundtrack.
25 pay lines
Desktop and mobile
This is one for football fans. BICICLETA has eight regular symbols that win if three or more are lined up in sequence on a pay line. The reels are set against the backdrop of a football pitch and a stadium full of cheering fans. The football symbol opens the free spins bonus round; three or more trigger the feature with 8, 16 or 24 free spins rewarded, depending on how many football symbols landed in the base game. The trophy symbol only appears on reel 5 and awards 8-12 free spins or up to 1,000 coins in the base game, and in the free spins game 2-4 spins, up to 1,000 coins or the wild reel feature.
Yggdrasil Gaming understands what ingredients are required for a blockbuster slots game. From theme to design, via maths, mechanics and smart features, the supplier has found its rhythm and established itself as an innovator and purveyor of top-quality games. And all this in just a handful of years.
Its portfolio may be a little thin on the ground, but what it lacks in variety it more than makes up for in added value. Players are drawn to Yggdrasil’s slots in part because of the stunning graphics and immersive gameplay, but also because of the features and bonus games designed to offer maximum entertainment.
The supplier has grabbed mobile gaming by the horns, and is very much a leader when it comes to developing games for smartphone and tablet devices. It is one of only a handful of developers able to launch games simultaneously across desktop and mobile platforms, which is a huge success in itself.
Yggdrasil has also taken a strong stance when it comes to licensing, regulation and responsible gambling. It holds permits with the most robust and stringent regulators in the world – including the Gambling Commission – and offers players reality checks when spinning the reels on any of its slots.
The company has achieved a great deal in a short space of time – expanding rapidly in the process. As it continues to launch more games and strengthen its portfolio, in addition to rolling out more innovative tools and features, it will undoubtedly rise further up the ranks.