Cascading slots break free from the typical 5-reel slots with multiple paylines. Instead, cascading slot machines dazzle gamblers with a unique puzzle game aesthetic.
In this article, we break down the common mechanics shared by free fall, tumbling, and cascading slots to see whether these games are worth betting on or not!
What Are Cascading Slots?
Cascading slot machines use a game mechanic where symbols fall onto the reels instead of the reels spinning and stopping in front of the player. Matching any symbols create more space for other symbols to enter the reels, creating a pseudo-re-spin feature.
Players flock to play free cascading slots just to get that rush of seeing symbols after symbols collapse and create more space for others to follow. Unlike your typical puzzle games, tumbling reels slots reward you with money instead of points.
Top 5 Best Online Cascading Slots
After playing nearly every online cascading slot in different online casinos, we picked five of the most recommended ones.
1. Gonzo's Quest - NetEnt
Gonzo's Quest, by NetEnt, has an RTP of 95%, along with medium volatility. It is made up of a 5x3 grid and 20 paylines. This is also one of the best online slots from NetEnt since numerous players across multiple casino sites have given this game a try at least once.
In Gonzo's Quest, matching symbols on the paylines are cleared to create more space for additional symbols. You do not need to increase your bet to activate a payline since all are freely open. Consecutive clearing of symbols rewards players with a progressive multiplier of x1, x2, x3, and x5.
Matching three or more bonus symbols triggers the Free Falls feature, where players receive 10 or more free games. During the Free Falls feature, all multipliers have triple values of x3, x6, x9, and x15.
2. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior - NetEnt
Based on the popular Capcom fighting game, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior pays homage to its IP with selectable characters that offer different gameplay features. Street Fighter II uses a cluster payline system where symbols are matched if four or more similar ones are adjacent to each other.
Many bonus features are hidden within the game, such as the Car Smash Skill bonus game that lets a player control their character to destroy the car and win bonuses.
3. Contact - Play'n Go
Contact, by Play'n Go, has an RTP of 96%, along with high volatility. It comprises a 5x7 grid, and a cluster pays gameplay.
Contact's stand-out feature is its 5x7 towering reels that use the cluster payline mechanic of clearing five or more adjacent similar symbols.
When you create matching symbols up to the top row, you trigger the bonus round that gives you three free spins. Filling the reels with matching symbols triggers the Super Bonus Round that provides 6 free spins. Each bonus rounds reward a bet multiplier and other bonuses.
4. Star Clusters Megaclusters - Big Time Gaming
Star Clusters Megaclusters, by Big Time Gaming, has an RTP of 96.54%, along with high volatility. It is made up of a 4x4 grid and cluster paylines.
Star Clusters is a transformative 4x4 slot that uses the cluster payline mechanic where 5 or more similar symbols sitting next to each other are matched.
What makes this Big Time Gaming free falls slot interesting is its Megaclusters feature, where matched symbols break into four smaller symbols. With the Megacluster feature, the 4x4 reel turns into an 8x8 reel where more symbols can appear.
5. Break Away - Microgaming
Break Away, by Microgaming, has an RTP of 96.42%, along with medium volatility. It is made up of a 5x3 grid and 243 paylines.
Microgaming Break Away has two base features that make the collapsing slot feature more exciting: 243 ways paylines and wild reels that can appear on one or more reels.
Having three or more scatter symbols on the payline triggers the bonus feature that provides you with free spins. During the bonus mode, matching consecutive symbols reward you with an increasing multiplier that ranges from 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, and 10x.
How Do Slots With Cascading Reels Work?
A common gameplay mechanic of each online cascade slot is its tumbling reels. Every matched symbol is removed from the reels, allowing more symbols to fill the reels and create more matches.
Symbols can be matched by being adjacent to each other in certain slots with cascading reels, while others require the symbols to be within active paylines like a traditional slot game. With the mechanic, every physical and online free fall reel slots have a dynamic re-spin feature that keeps on going if you keep matching symbols.
A slot with cascading reels includes bonus features that encourage players to keep spinning until they can hit a certain combo.
One example is Gonzo's Quest, with a progressive multiplier system that increases for each successive symbol matching that can reach up to x5. Triggering the Free Fall Multiplier triples the multiplier, allowing for a 15X payout when players match four or more consecutive collapses. You can see how the avalanche feature works without risks when playing free online cascading slots games.
As you now understand, free fall slots do indeed require a very different approach compared to other regular games and pokies.
Video Example of Cascading Slots
In the video example above, you can see how a typical cascade game in online casinos works. Matched symbols in Sacred Stones go away for more symbols to fall in.
When players can create at least five matches in a row, they are rewarded with 10 free games. An indicator at the bottom right part of the screen shows how many matches to go before triggering the bonus.
How To Win At Online Cascading Slots?
Getting the biggest possible payouts in any cascading slot games involves proper bankroll management and maximizing your bet on each spin. Here are a few ways you can nudge your chances of winning in any tumbling-reels slots.
Setting a Budget
One method for any house to profit out of patrons is to keep them playing, leaving certain players with a large credit card debt at the end of the month. It pays to set a budget when playing a cascade game online to help you avoid spending money you need for essentials.
Choosing to bet big on each spin can boost your payback probability instead of betting the lowest possible bets. Spreading out your bankroll with many small bet spins will only result in a small return. On other hand, large denominations can double or triple your initial bankroll when you chain more than three collapsing reels as well as activating the slot's bonus features.
Pros & Cons of Cascading Wins in Slots
Are tumbling-reels online slots better than traditional reel slots? We break down the reasons why you will enjoy playing them as well as why you will want to consider a progressive slot.
Advantages of cascading reels slots.
- Exciting tumbling reels gameplay that mimics popular puzzle games.
- Mid variance rate among popular cascading reels.
- Widely available among physical and online casinos.
- Popular collapsing reels slots come from prominent software providers.
- High payout opportunities for sequential tumbling reel matches.
Disadvantages of cascading reels slots.
- Top freefall slots barely have any bonus features such as multiple jackpot payouts.
- Lack of interactive features that can engage a player and break the game's monotony.
Cascading-Reel Slots - FAQ
Answers to the most common questions about tumbling slots.
What is the goal of online cascading slot games?
You aim to get a spin that clears away several symbols on the reel, opening the screen for more symbols to match.
Unlike regular slots, you want to match as many symbols as possible to bring in high-paying ones into the reels through the collapsing or freefall game mechanic.
What is the most popular online cascading slot game?
If you go through the best cascading online slots among gaming sites, you can see Gonzo's Quest a common entry on the list. While not having more features than other tumbling reels slots, Gonzo has a straightforward feature that is easy to understand and offer a good payout opportunity.
What is the RTP of slots with cascading reels?
Cascading reels have an average RTP range of 95% to 97%. Some examples include Gem Rocks from Yggdrasil that has an RTP of 96.20% and Reel King Megaways from Inspired with its 96.23% RTP. Another example is Tiki totems from Gamesys with its RTP of 94.97%.
Do cascading-reel slots payout more often than regular slots?
Every online tumbling-reel slots offer the same RTP and variance as traditional slots. While the freefall game mechanic offers a high payout opportunity, other slots have features that give the same chance of a big return on your bet. Examples of bonus features include wild reels, sticky wilds, and twin reel features.
Is it easy to understand how to play cascading slots?
Certain freefall-reels slots use the same payline system as regular 3 or 5 reel slots to match symbols. Slots with a cluster payout feature are straightforward in their rules of matching symbols such as having 4 or more similar symbols sitting next to each other to clear them from the reels.
Cascading slots are a fun alternative to traditional slots with the tumbling reel features generating the same excitement as clearing out a puzzle game board and seeing your winnings increasing.