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GONG Gaming

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About the Company

GONG Gaming Technologies Ltd. is an online casino slot developer launched in early 2020. The firm came into the limelight in April of the next year when Microgaming announced that the developers had joined the coveted Microgaming Studio Partners program.

Within days, big casino names like 888 had picked up the content from the Quickfire network to deploy at their casinos.

The top of the shop, the founders, share some commonalities with many of the rest of the team. There's also a tentative connection to Playtech's Tedi Sagi.

I say 'tentative' because the industry relationship is through the Skywind Group and some of its subsidiaries. To learn more about the interesting history of the Playtech founder's involvement with Skywind in the earliest days, please see our Skywind Software Review.

The two co-founders of GONG now have offices in Israel, while the remainder of the dozen-strong team work out of studios in Sophia and elsewhere in the area of Bulgaria.

Interestingly enough, both companies have offices or headquarters in Malta and Sophia. Some of the C-suite, as well as artists, developers, and math geniuses, list Spintech (part of the Skywing Group) or Skywind itself in their collective curricula vitae.

Why does this matter?

I'll tell you how I came to it.

Software and Games

My first reaction to seeing the splash screens for some of their slots was: "Who are these guys and where did they come from?"

My gut told me I had seen some of this style before, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it until a started researching a few of the designers. Boom - Spintech ergo Skywind.

You might ask...

Why does that matter?

Again, it's a personal observation, but I have never been so impressed by an "up and coming" developer as I was when we explored Skywind.

The themes... Sublime!

The maths and mechanics... Brilliant!

The depth and integration of cutting-edge technology... never seen before.

Granted, that's a pretty high bar of expectation to hold a new shop to, so I'll temper any disappointment in exploring the tech - not only out of fairness but because GONG Gaming is not as generous in sharing some of the proprietary capabilities they have developed or have access to.

The Genius Genome

All that is really shared in the public domain in regard to tech is their genius Genome. It appears to be a game engine with operators and other providers supported in building their own games. It is described as a "smart and simple tool allowing you to produce your games easier and faster".

While I am jaded and a bit of a cynic when I read self-promotional material - I was fortunate to establish a willing suspension of disbelief or even a positive bias by looking into the company before examining its digital literature.

When I read the following, I gave it the benefit of the doubt with very little hesitation. After all, the leaders and some of the team come to this place in their commercial journey with decades of important, verifiable experience and accomplishment. It reads...

"We have a proven ability to innovate creative mathematical logic, to dress it up in top-notch art, then to wrap it with well-optimized sophisticated gaming technology. It is this ability that paves the roadmap for the creation of sensational premium entertainment products and the fulfillment of GONG’s vision."

The games

We decided to dive right in and Skull's Heap first. It's a highly volatile 6x4 game with 4096 ways to win. The RTP is found to be a touch over 96%.

Six reels with four viable positions each full of stacked symbols including wilds was simply too tempting to pass up or even to put off to play later.

I personally love Mexican-themed games and when you throw in skulls, you have me for at least a few spins.

Each reel spins independently and stops in order from leftmost to right. Pays are also only from left to right. Rather than nothing or even static reel dividers, you'll see stacks of bones jiggling between the reels - just one of the many nuances.

When you land a full stack of skulls (the highest paying symbol) on reel number one, excitement mechanics are brought into play as the remaining reels spin faster in anticipation of landing more skulls from leftmost to right.

The free spin scatters can appear on any or all of the reels. The best you can hope for is 100 initial free spins by landing all six. Pays are multiplied by 2x, 3x, or 5x multiplier during free games when a wild Heart participates in the win.

Infinite retriggers are theoretically possible during the bonus game.

While I had hoped for more bonus mechanics to come into play, the pace and experience left nothing to complain about.

Expanded reel sets with added positions and the removal of traditional paylines can create confusing rules for some players when the maths are forced to deviate with added mechanics.

As well, if wilds were stacked on each reel (they don't appear at all one reel #1) and wild symbols had their own pay value, higher than the otherwise highest paying symbol, it would be akin to winning the lottery to catch the top prize and some or all others would be worth less than they are now.

The artwork, animations, and soundscape are top-shelf.

Inferno Gladiator

This 5x3 video slot with 25 mandatory paylines has classic mechanics and a theoretical return to player percentage (RTP) of just over 95%.

The art and animation are powerful and unique - taking what might seem a palette of garish colors then blending, shading, and accenting them with deft skill for maximum impact.

The soundtrack is epic, responsive to the game state, and not annoying. The sound effects are punchy when proper and other than lone scatters or unimportantly landed wild symbols, the effects work dynamically with the soundtrack.

Wild symbols appear on all five reels and have pay values for two or more from leftmost if blocked by a scatter.

Scatter symbols also appear on all five reels and 3, 4, or 5 appearing anywhere will award 10 free games. The games can not be retriggered.

When spins are activated the middle position of the center reel becomes a sticky wild for the duration of the spins.

Each bonus game has an increasing win multiplier (up to 10x) that begins at 1x. It's a hard nut to crack (highly volatile) so when you finally do land at least two the excitement becomes palpable. Of course, the game dynamics are right there with you.

Other games

Pirate's Quest was released in the interim between the two previously mentioned games. You can find it for real or practice play at any of the casinos listed on this page.

Other games to look for include Queen of Treasure (Cleopatra with a money wheel), Maya with GONG's trademarked Umax mechanics, Piggy Luck featuring Royal Bet, Zuma Riches with Royal League (RL) jackpot, Lucky O'mega, Queen of Norse, Book of Raider and Neptune's Harem with RL, Power Bison, and Empire Shields.

Queen of Treasure features the "Wheel of Luck". Spin the wheel to win up to 35 free games with multipliers up to 10x.

Some of the games seem more social cum real money-slash-casual. Maya has 248832 ways to win and Piggy Luck has some re-imagined fruity/emptier features including paths and ladders, free spins, and a multiplier pick'em bonus.

The Final Analysis

GONG Gaming Technologies was already known to a few players, thanks to a limited release prior to the system-wide Microgaming Studio Partners announcement.

The firm appears to have everything it takes to succeed in today's heavily competitive online gaming environment - not the least of which skills and talents include the Microgaming partnership.

This reviewer sees a diversity of fresh and reimagined themes, brilliant game maths, mostly familiar mechanics, and world-class work in the arts. Taken together, they create a package that is sure to develop a sort of cult following as well as attract niche players like me.

The fact that the offering spans the cerebral, as well as the social/casual along with the familiar game mechanics, bodes well for the games having broad appeal - there is everything from fun-factor to hardcore thrill factor in the catalog so far.

Who knows what the future will bring for GONG? It appears the stars are already aligned.

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  • Address: Sofia, Bulgaria Elite Business Centre, Trejqa ta' Box Box, Msida MSD1840, Malta
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