Slots With Wilds

Wild symbols are the ‘substitute symbols’ in slots where they take on the value of specific symbols that are lined with them on the reels.

Wild symbols are always a welcome sight for any player thanks to their mechanism that allows you to form longer or high-paying matches.

If this wasn’t enough, some software providers have added in even more features for wild symbols, giving you even more high-payout opportunities! We’ll be explaining what those features are and how they benefit you.

A slot machine showing 3 cherries.

What Are Wild Symbols?

Wild slot machine symbols are the “substitute symbols” in slots, where they take on the value of specific symbols that are in line with them on the reels. If you have three “A” symbols and two wild symbols on the reels, the game sees this as five “A” symbols instead.

Through the substitution of non-bonus or non-scatter symbols, wild symbols help you match high-paying symbols. For certain software providers that is not enough to entice people to play their game so they have added additional features such as bet multipliers. Other slots have their bonus modes available to players who can match specific wild symbols on the reels.  

Types of Special Wild Symbols

There are a wide variety of additional benefits that wild symbols can bring to your game – it can be hard to keep track of them all! We’ve covered the most common ones so you can understand their benefits the next time you’re at a machine.

Sticky Wilds

Sticky wilds stay in their place while the reels spin. This type of wild usually comes with a free spin, allowing you to get the most out of a sticky wild when it lands on the reels.

For other games such as Yggdrasil’s Legend, slots with sticky wilds are a part of the free spins mode. As more and more sticky wilds appear, the higher your chance of matching high valued symbols during your remaining free games.

Wild Reels or Stacked Wilds

More wild reels result in better payouts, which is the main idea behind wild reels where there are multiple instances of a wild symbol in a row on a reel. These are often called “stacked” wilds as these wilds enter the reels in groups of three or four in a row.

Slots with stacked wilds not only increase your chance of matching high-valued symbols but also helps you get better returns from slots with adjustable paylines.

Replicating Wilds

Replicating wilds can turn other slot machine symbols into wild ones. There are different versions of replicating or duplicating wilds, such as ones where it turns a random number of symbols around the reel into wild ones. Another is where a symbol turns all adjacent symbols into wild ones.

Bonus modes are where you will most often see replicating wilds, with some slots having duplicating sticky wilds as well as a re-spin feature! 

Moving Wilds

Moving wilds are, true to its name, wild symbols that move around the reels. Think of these wilds as semi-sticky wilds where they remain within the reels, but will move to a new position every subsequent spin.

What makes them appealing is a guarantee of a wild symbol on the next free spin. Moving wilds are also a part of re-spin or free spin features where the symbols stay throughout your free game.

Expanding Wilds

An expanding wild is a feature that puts wild symbols on each space of a column. What makes these wilds different from stacked wilds is the guaranteed spread of wild symbols within a single column. Stacked wilds usually have a chance of leaving one or two wild symbols within one column.

Slots with expanding wilds tend to incorporate this feature in their free-spins or bonus rounds.

Mega Wilds

A mega wild is a massive symbol that takes up the three center reels. Yes, you heard that right, a mega wild symbol takes up more than half of a 5×3 slot or 3×3 space.

This type of wild symbol is limited to a select number of games. Due to its efficacy, you need to clear certain conditions to obtain this wild such as reaching the free-spins mode of Wolf Gold from Pragmatic Play and have the Wolf Wild symbol be the featured symbol.

Infographic on types of wild symbols
The different types of wild symbols you can encounter on a machine

Top 10 Slots with Best Wilds

Slot wild symbols can be more than just a symbol that substitutes others, as the top ten slots below can show you.

Game NameDeveloperRTPVariance
StarburstNetEnt96.09%Low
Wolf GoldPragmatic Play96.01%Mid
The Goonies Jackpot KingBlueprint96.06%Mid
Savage JunglePlaytech96.54%Mid-High
Great Blue JackpotPlaytech95.02%Low
Mr. MacauBetsoft97.07%Mid
Tahiti GoldELK Studios96.1%Mid
Egyptian EmeraldsPlaytech Origins96.36%Low-Mid
Fire vs IcePariplay94%High
Dynamite RichesRed Tiger94.76%High
Top 10 slots with best wilds

1. Starburst

Free spins you receive from online sites are likely for the popular Starburst from NetEnt that has a 5×3 reel structure and 10 win both-ways payline structure. It has a common jewelry or glitz theme that fits any slot or casino game.

There is no bonus game in Starburst. Instead, the magic happens when you get just one wild symbol on the reels. Wild symbols automatically expand to cover the entire column. In addition, you receive a free re-spin while the entire wild column is stickied to the reels. When another wild symbols lands on other reels, you get another free game while the first expanded wild symbol stays.

Given the high RTP of 96.09% and the low variance rate of Starburst, the expanding wilds within the base game allow you to take full advantage of the win both-ways payline mechanic.

2. Wolf Gold

Wolf Gold from Pragmatic Play is a progressive slot with 5×3 reels, 25 payline mechanics, a high RTP of 96.01%, mid-variance, and a Mojave animal motif. Being a progressive game, you get a shot at one of the three jackpots when you trigger the Wolf Gold Mega Jackpot mode when you get at least six Full Moon symbols on the reels. If you can fill all empty spaces on the reels with the symbol, you win the Mega Jackpot.

But what makes this game particularly interesting is the mega wild symbol. When you trigger the Wolf Gold Free Spins Mode, the game selects one of the common symbols or the wild symbol. This selected symbol takes up the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th reels, letting you create consecutive 4 and 5 symbol matches.

3. The Goonies Jackpot King

You are treated to six solid bonus modes with The Goonies Jackpot King slots, which correspond to the characters of the movie. These bonuses include Super Sloth Free Spins, Skeleton Organ Bonus, and Inferno Free Spins. Two of these bonuses have duplicating wilds feature, one of which is Super Sloth Free Spins. When you get a Super Sloth symbol to land in this mode, all Fratellis Character symbols turn into wilds. This slot has a very respectable 96.06% RTP with mid-variance.

Another bonus mode with duplicating wilds is the Goonies Go Wild where one of the Goonies Character symbols becomes a selected symbol. All selected symbols become additional wilds during this mode. Different Goonies Character symbols are selected in subsequent spins.

4. Savage Jungle

Playtech’s Savage Jungle has a 5×3 reel structure and 50 paylines. One of its signature features is the Savage Wild, which occurs during the base game. When a Gorilla Wild symbol lands on a space with a leaf and matches with other symbols, you receive a random bet multiplier for that match. Savage Jungle has an appealing combination of a 96.54% RTP with mid-high variance.

Gorilla Wild symbols become sticky wilds during the free spins mode. Should another slot wild symbol land on one that is stickied to the reels, you receive a bet multiplier that reaches up to 25x.

5. Great blue Jackpot

Great Blue Jackpot from Playtech is an aquatic-themed slot with a 5×3 reel structure and 25-payline mechanic. This game’s Whale Wild symbol does not just substitute all other symbols, it is also the highest paying symbol, where you get 400 times your bet when you match five of them. In addition, the free spins mode allows you to win a bet multiplier of up to x15 that allows you to get the most out of matching five Whale Wild symbols.

On top of those great multipliers, it offers a decent 95.02% return to player rate with low variance.

Being a jackpot slot, The Great Blue Jackpot can be active at random during the mini-game. Reveal three of four colors hidden inside each pearl to win one of the game’s jackpots. These jackpots correspond to your bets where higher wagers can lead to higher jackpot prizes.

6. Mr. Macau

Themed after Macau casinos, Mr. Macau from Betsoft has 5×3 reels with 20 paylines. This game has two features during the base game, Sticky Wilds and Mr. Macau’s Wild Boost feature. When one of the wild symbols land on the reels, it stays in its place while giving you a free re-spin. Triggering the second feature will create five to seven wild symbols around the reels.

During the free spins mode, every wild symbol landing on the reels stays in its place throughout subsequent free games. This slot also boasts an extremely generous 97.07% RTP with mid-variance.

7. Tahiti Gold

Tahiti Gold from ELK Studios features a 6×4 reel structure and an all-ways win mechanic that fits its avalanche reel design. What makes this standout is its growing reels where new symbols create new rows, leading to a massive 8×4 reel structure with 262,144 ways to win. With all those ways to win this slot offers a 96.1% RTP with a medium rate of variance.

This game has an interesting slot wild symbol in the form of a Forge symbol. This Forge drops liquid metal onto the symbols below, turning them into wild symbols. In addition to its expansion feature, wild symbols created by the Forge symbol stay in their place during the next spin.

8. Egyptian Emeralds

In Egyptian Emeralds from Playtech Origins, you are playing on a 5×3 reel structure with 10 paylines. This game’s Scarab Wild is the star of the game, which comes into the reels as stacked wilds. The game offers a 96.36% return to player rate with a low-mid level of volatility.

When you get three Scarab Wild symbols land on the reels, you are treated to a free spin. Those Scarab symbols move to random parts of the reels. You get another re-spin if you get another stacked Scarab symbol land on the reels.

9. Fire vs Ice – Pariplay

As a play on two opposing forces, Fire vs Ice from Pariplay has a 5×3 reel structure with 25 paylines. They play on this theme by having two sets of wilds – fire wilds and ice wilds. Although it has a relatively low RTP of 94% it is a high variance slot.

The Fire Wild 7 symbol can turn up to 3 symbols into wilds, whereas the Ice Wild 7 symbol can only turn one symbol wild but they are both stuck on the reels, and you are given one free re-spin. Both of these wild symbols appear on the two bonus modes of the game.

10. Dynamite Riches

In this gold mine-themed slot from Red Tiger, its Gold Spins symbols have four different features:

  1. Remove Low-Paying Symbols: Every low valued symbol on the reels is removed during each of the free games.
  2. Random Wilds Gold Wild: Symbols replace a random number of symbols on the reels throughout this mode.
  3. Multiplier: A compass will choose either x2, x3, x4, x5, x7, or x10 bet multiplier for a set number of free games
  4. Mega Wilds: A massive 3×3 wild can enter the reels during your free spins.

When the screen shakes, a highlight will select one of the symbols on top of the reels to trigger one of the four features. If you get three of the Gold Spins symbols on the reels, you can extend the bonus mode with additional free spins. As well as all these features, Dynamite Riches is a high variance slot that offers a 94.76% RTP.

Slots With Wild Feature: FAQ

We’ve collected and answered the most frequently asked questions about wild symbols:

What are wild symbols? 

Slot wild symbols act as substitutes for other symbols. If you have 4 ace symbols connecting with 1 wild symbol, the game will recognize this as 5 ace symbols instead of just 4 ace symbols.

Can wild symbols substitute every symbol?

Only symbols with cash values can match with the wild symbol. Scatter symbols or bonus symbols cannot be substituted with a wild symbol due to their specific function with certain games.

Are wild symbols the same as scatter symbols?

Scatter symbols reward players with instant cash prizes or activate a slot’s bonus mode such as free spins mode. On the other hand, wild symbols substitute other symbols on the reels so they are not the same thing.

How are expanding symbols different from stacked symbols? 

Stacked symbols enter the reels in groups of three, giving you a chance to have three or two slot wild symbols occupy a column. Expanding symbols guarantee a single column will have wild symbols occupy every space.

Will wild symbols appear frequently during free-spins? 

A majority of free spins always have wild symbols appear during its free-spins mode. For other slots, the mode turns other symbols into wild symbols, increasing the chances for more wilds appearing during its free-spins mode.

Wild symbols are a staple among 5×3 reels since they make it easy for anyone to create 4 to 5 matches so look out for them the next time you’re choosing a slot for a boosted chance of a higher payout.