Slot Feature Explained
A common definition of a slot feature is its payout boosting capabilities. It is important to remember that the first generation of slots only has a 1×3 reel with 1 payline. There were no jackpots or multipliers among mechanical slots. With the introduction of digital slots, we start seeing 5×3 reels as well as wild and scattered symbols being the standard features among most slots.
It is not enough to entice casino patrons with the usual base game features. Software providers started adding new game mechanics and modes to make their slot bonus stand out from the rest. Features such as all-ways payline, larger reel structures, and mini-games made their way to various slots over the years with new gameplay and mechanics added to new titles.
As you play any online slots, below are the usual features you will encounter as you play most titles.
A wild symbol acts as a substitute for other symbols in the game, allowing you to match high valued symbols. In certain games, wild symbols tend to give the best possible payouts by matching five or three of them.
Apart from acting as substitutes, certain slots include additional features onto their wild symbols. This includes a multiplier function for any symbols it matches. Other games may have to expand, spreading, or duplicating wilds that increase these symbols on the reels, giving you more chances to create matches. Sticky wilds are another popular feature where wild symbols stay in place while the reels spin for free.
Modern slots have a wide variety of bonus modes and mini-games. To access them, you need to match specific bonus symbols during the base game. By itself, bonus symbols simply act as triggers for a slot bonus feature. In specific games, you are rewarded for matching more than three of these symbols such as instant cash prizes.
One example of a reward you can get from matching more bonus symbols is “chances”. Let us say the bonus mode gives you 3 chances of finding cash prizes out of 20 mystery boxes. If you manage to get 4 bonus symbols, you receive 5 chances instead of the default 3. You also get 10 chances if you match 5 bonus symbols. Matching more bonus symbols can lead to bigger payouts in certain slots.
One of the versatile slot bonus features is the scatter symbols. This bonus feature is the only symbol that you can match even if it does not fall under any active payline or are in adjacent reels. Its name “scatter” comes from the mechanic of matching this symbol regardless of its position on the reels.
A majority of slots use the scattered symbol as a way to reward players with an instant cash payout. Others use the scatter symbols as triggers for the free spins mode. Matching additional scatters often rewards players with more free games. Scatter symbols can also act as the game’s bonus symbols to trigger a mini-game or a slot bonus mode.
As the name suggests, bet multipliers increase the payout rate of any matches during one spin. A slot machine has multiple ways of incorporating multipliers into its game. One classic example is to make it a feature in their free-spins mode, which entices the player to keep spinning the reels until they trigger.
Multipliers are a staple among cascade reel slots or ones with an avalanche reel feature. In these slots, matched symbols are cleared to make way for more symbols. Every consecutive match gains an increasing multiplier score. When you trigger the bonus mode for these games, the value of its multiplier increases by three.
Paylines are where symbols can be matched and are usually limited to 25 or less among 5×3 slots. Slots with an all-ways payline mechanic get rid of that limit by allowing players to create matches anywhere on the reels. As long as the similar symbols are on adjacent reels, you can match them with the all-ways payline feature.
Software providers often took the all-ways payline feature to new heights by introducing larger reels. 5×3 reels slot with a both-ways and all-ways mechanic can achieve 720-paylines in its game. You also have massive Megaways slots with its incredible 117,649 payline number because of their unusual reel structure.
A cluster reel concept comes from blending the puzzle game matching and slot symbol matching mechanics together. Every symbol you matched in cluster pay slots vanishes to make way for more symbols to fill the space. What makes cluster reels slots appealing is the mini re-spin aspect that is present in the base game and free spins mode. With numerous consecutive matches, you can gain a substantial payout already.
To make a slot more appealing, software providers add more features to the cluster reel mechanic such as unlocking a bonus mode by making a certain number of consecutive matches. Others include a progressive multiplier when you make consecutive matches.
After making a match, certain games let you take a risk of doubling your payout through a gamble mini-game. Through this mini-game, you are given a 50/50 chance of increasing or losing your winnings. A good chunk of slots with the gamble mini-game usually features a coin toss where you predict which side lands facing up.
For other slots, their gamble mini-game consists of playing cards. Simply guess the right color of the facedown card to double your winnings during this mini-game. What makes the playing card gamble mini-game interesting is the inclusion of guessing the card’s suit. You have a 1 in 4 chance of guessing the right suit, but guessing the right suit quadruples your winning.
Slots with the twin reel mechanic pick two or more random reels during one spin. These reels will have the same symbols when the slot stops spinning. While this feature is overwhelming at first glance, there is a potential for higher payouts with having similar symbols on each reel.
Those affected by the twin reels can include wild symbols, making it easy to match five of the highest valued symbols in the game. In addition, twin reels are a slot bonus that frequently activates during the base game.
Matching bonus symbols can trigger three kinds of slot bonus games.
Possibly the most common feature is slot free spins mode where you receive a set of free games. In each of your free spins, your bet and active paylines are set based on the spin when you trigger this bonus mode. This mechanic alone makes any free spins favorable for any player if you are playing with max-bet and have all paylines open.
Software providers have the free-spins mode be the main feature of their slots. To make their game stand out, they often include other features to the mode such as extending this future by collecting more scatter symbols. Other slots incorporate bet multipliers or a progressive feature that rewards you with cash prizes.
Another way to describe mini-games is an “interactive” feature. These mini-games tend to have several options for you to choose from, which include mystery boxes or event paths. Several of these options usually contain random cash prizes. Progressive slots include symbols in these mini-games that reward you with one of its jackpot prizes.
Other slots combine the mini-game with its free spins mode. One example is entering an interactive mini-game that lets you win free spins, cash prizes, or bet multipliers. Once you finish this mini-game, you proceed to the free-spins mode to spend your free games while having a multiplier active if you manage to get them.
While similar to mini-games in terms of winning random cash payouts, prize wheels let you win one of the multiple payouts on the reels. This format does look straightforward for many players. However, there is nothing quite exciting to see the stationary arrow slowing down and stopping in one of the highest possible cash payouts.
To make prize wheels more exciting, progressive slots use this mode to give players a chance at winning one of its jackpots. You have several of the minor or small jackpots spread across the wheel while the grand jackpot sits in one spot, giving you a slim chance at taking home a fortune.
Slot Features: FAQ
When you need fast and digestible answers, below are some of the common questions on slot features as well as our answers for each of them.
What are slot features?
Slot bonus features are any game mechanic that can increase a player’s payout. These features include wild symbols that substitute other symbols to create matches.
What is the gamble mini-game?
When you get a payout, you can double it by winning a gamble mini-game. This game tends to involve a coin flip or card draw to give you a 50/50 chance of doubling your winning. Certain gamble mini-games give you a chance to quadruple your winning by guessing the right card suit.
Can you win more free games during the free spins mode?
A wide range of free spins modes gives you a chance to extend the bonus mode, which is usually done by matching three or more scatter symbols. There are several incentives for players to keep collecting free games such as higher multipliers in cluster pay slots. Other free spins modes have a bet multiplier that is always active during each free spin.
Can you create matches from left-to-right and right-to-left with every All-Ways slot?
Always win slots that feature 243 paylines only pay left-to-right. What you are looking for are slots with the both-ways win mechanic that have paylines going from left-to-right and right-to-left.
Which bonus games can you win progressive jackpots?
Progressive slots tend to give players a shot at their extremely high jackpot payouts through prize wheels and mini-game modes. Accessing these modes require matching bonus or special symbols during the base game.
Slot features such as wild and scattered are here to stay since they are a staple among these games. Over the years, new and exciting slot features make their way to new slot machines such as a massive number of paylines and skill-based slots.