As Big Time Gaming readies its latest slot for take-off, CasinoBeats reflects on just what it is that gives the developer’s games that something extra

“Joey Tempest’s signature is on the contract.” It is ICE week and, in a dining room at London’s oldest restaurant, Big Time Gaming founder Nik Robinson is showing CasinoBeats a demo version of his company’s latest slot title, The Final Countdown.

Paying homage to what people in the eighties thought the space-age future would look like, the game centres on one of that decade’s most iconic rock songs, the gloriously bombastic and deliciously over-the-top The Final Countdown, from Tempest’s band of Swedish hair-rockers, Europe.

In 1986, the track topped the charts in 25 countries, inspired a legion of copycats and launched Europe into the rock elite with the now unmistakable keyboard riff that, try as he might, Robinson cannot seem to trigger in the demo version of the game.

Frustrated, he passes the phone on to the person next to him to have a go. Helpfully, it is Kim Hultman of CasinoGrounds, an expert player of slots, renowned across streamer networks as LetsGiveItASpin. Hultman clearly relishes the challenge. Finding his focus, he takes a seat and soon others are watching over his shoulder, sneaking a peek at the game everyone will be talking about in a few weeks’ time.

Just as Robinson draws breath to continue the conversation, the legendary keyboard motif of The Final Countdown bursts out of his phone. Hultman, who smiles broadly, clearly has the Midas touch. It is a feel-good moment and it frames beautifully just what BTG is continuing to deliver, time after time – games with that certain something.

“The Final Countdown somehow ticks a box you didn’t know needed ticking

The music continues for a moment, heads bob in time. Men who should know better think about the merits of wearing double-denim and perhaps growing their hair.

This thought-provoking wistfulness is part of the spell BTG casts with its games, combining exquisite graphics, compelling audio, innovative mechanics and some simply great ideas.

From the gloriously trippy Alice in Wonderland-inspired White Rabbit, to Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? and Extra Chilli – which was the best-ever performing launch on LeoVegas – BTG has continued to hit the mark, time and again. Danger: High Voltage – based on the high-camp 2003 Electric Six hit of the same name – is a case in point (interesting aside, The Final Countdown’s working title was Danger: High Voltage 2).

Like Danger: High Voltage before it, The Final Countdown somehow ticks a box you didn’t know needed ticking. And it does so in a way that simply cannot be ignored.

The developer that introduced the wildly popular MegaWays mechanic has once again raised the bar in Countdown. With three or more Scatters in place, players are given the choice of which feature to launch – The Countdown or Heading for Venus.

“Each new title is a case study in the BTG way of doing things

Both options are packed with extreme wins; The Countdown offers Roaming and Sticky Wilds with a multiplier of up to 256, while Heading for Venus offers huge Velocity Wilds with a multiplier of up to 888-times. The Countdown feature also enables players to level up and increase the game’s volatility.

Each new title from BTG is a case study in the developer’s way of doing things. It is about 20-plus years of online gaming experience from the company’s founders, about the creative pedigree brought to BTG from Rockstar Games. It is about the glint in Nik Robinson’s eye.

When Europe released The Final Countdown back in ‘86, it was something of a reluctant launch, based on an old riff and conceived as a concert opener “for the fans”. Thirty-three years later, it is a song that everyone knows. Never given a chance by critics and contemporaries, it is nonetheless an enduring success.

Big Time Gaming’s slot version, by contrast, is already steeped in pedigree. Time to hit the launch button and watch it take off.

The Final Countdown goes live at 10pm (CEST) on March 13, when Kim Hultman will play the first 100 spins, streamed live on his Twitch and YouTube channels. Check out his Twitch stream here.

For a reminder of the source material, watch the enduringly bonkers yet brilliant 1986 video for Europe’s chart-busting The Final Countdown at the top.