Yggdrasil Gaming are a relative newcomer to the world of online slots, but they’ve very quickly built themselves up an enviable reputation as the producer of some very original and quirky games. If you want to sample Yggdrasil slots, then you should check out The Dark Joker Rizes, Cazino Zeppelin and Winterberries.
The company has its headquarters based in Malta and a major developmental office in Krakow, Poland. As well as slots, the company manufactures online scratch cards, keno and even live streams lotteries – all for both mobile and desktop platforms.
Before we dive into an exploration of Yggdrasil’s history, we’d better explain where the company gets that rather peculiar name from – and it may surprise you to learn that they didn’t do it by pulling letters at random out of the scrabble bag. Yggdrasil (pronounced Ig-dra-sill) is the name of the ‘tree of life’ in Norse mythology.
The company was lauched in July 2013 by Fredrik Elmqvist, a leading i-Gaming business consultant who was with NetEnt from August 2009. He served as the acting CEO at NetEnt for nine months before reverting to his previous role as Head of Account Management, but left two months later and began work on Yggdrasil Gaming in August 2012.
Elmqvist’s reputation helped to immediately establish Yggdrasil as a noteable force in the online gambling arena. Quickly, a number of leading online casinos – including Unibet, Vera & John and LeoVegas – signed up to take Yggdrasil’s games on board. While it soon became clear that the company’s remit was to develop ‘quirky’ slots in its own style, Yggdrasil also attempted to market its range of innovative non-slots, including lottery games, keno and scratch cards.
In 2015 the company was awarded a UK Gambling Commission licence, but they were already making a serious amount of cash. Yggdrasil’s revenues expanded by an incredible seven hundred percent in the final quarter of 2015 alone, reaching €1.1 million. Their earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rose from around €150k in 2014 to approximately €525k in 2015.
The company ended 2015 by securing the title of ‘software rising star’ at the eGaming Review B2B awards ceremony.
In the UK at least, Yggdrasil is famed for its range of slots rather than any other game type. While not yet having reached the heights in terms of quality and playability as NetEnt, or the heights in terms of sheer numbers as Microgaming, there is every sign that Yggdrasil is well on its way to becoming something of a true force of nature in the eGaming industry. It’s doing them a disservice to brush off their games as ‘quirky’, but there is something definitely unique about a lot of Yggdrasil’s slots.
Yggdrasil’s signature game is perhaps Jokerizer. This looks to be on the surface a very typical and non-too-thrilling game, with five reels and a mere ten pay lines, and all your typical ‘fruit machine’ symbols to boot. However, every win you score on Jokerizer allows you the option of playing in ‘Jokerizer’ mode. This is where the prizes and payouts become easier to land and more beneficial, but you can still lose your winnings though – it is called gambling for a reason!
This slot became so popular that Yggdrasil eventually popped up with a sequel – The Dark Joker Rizes. This was basically the same game, but the star of the slot – The Dark Joker – is an altogether more elusive chap than his friendlier alter-ego. The Jokerizer theme was explored again in the 2016 release Wicked Circus.
Another slot from Yggdrasil that’s definitely worth your consideration is ‘Seasons‘ – a game that comes with delightful graphics and a soothing soundtrack. The game takes place over all four seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter. The game mode switches once you have completed a certain number of spins. Each separate season brings new features and a different host animal to the reels, meaning that Seasons could be regarded as four slots in one!
In 2015 Yggdrasil broke new ground when it announced the release of its first slot with a progressive jackpot – Joker Millions. To win a life-changing amount of cash, you first need to land a joker symbol on each reel, which will grant you one jackpot spin. On your spin-in-a-million if you fill the reels with jokers then you’re a progressive jackpot winner. The jackpot seeds at €100,000 and the largest win at the time of writing is a tasty €720,127.
Yggdrasil games are featured at over sixty different online casinos. These include popular and well known operators such as LeoVegas, Mr Green, Unibet Casino, Betsafe and ComeOn Casino.
Like most video slots games, you can ‘try before you buy’ Yggdrasil slots by playing them for play money. Some casinos will offer you a free spins bonus as an enticement to join, but very few offer specific bonuses on Yggdrasil slots. You can usually use your free spins on any slot offered at the casino anyhow.
As yet, Yggdrasil has not ventured into the live casino market.
Yggdrasil has gambling licences issued by the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority.
From the get-go, Yggdrasil made the very intelligent decision to make sure that all their games worked as well on mobile platforms as they did on desktops. They did this by creating their own multi-platform development system, which they named iSense 2.0. This is an HTML5 framework that means games automatically work on smartphones and tablets when they are released for desktop sites.