Slot machines were once simple mechanical devices with three spinning reels and a lever that you pulled to spin the reels and line up matching symbols. Today, they have evolved into sophisticated gaming experiences that captivate players around the world. The evolution of the online slots casino games has marked the integration of innovative features that enhance gameplay, increase excitement, and offer diverse opportunities for winning.
Playing a slot machine isn’t complicated but if you want to maximize your gameplay, you should become acquainted with the various features that are found on the machines. No slot machine includes all of these features, or even most of them, but every slot includes several of these elements. This gives you the chance to review each slot machine’s features as you find the slot that suits your own individual gaming preferences and interests.
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Wilds and Scatters
Wild symbols and scatters are among the first features that game designers inserted into slot machines and they became so popular that they are a staple in today’s slots gaming. Wilds and scatters started to appear when Vegas casinos made slot machines a highlighted casino experience. First came Wilds – symbols that substitute for other symbols on the reels to facilitate the creation of winning combinations. Scatter symbols were initiated to provide an extra element of surprise – you can create a scatter combination when matching symbols appear anywhere on the reels, not only on the same payline.
Over the years, both Wilds and Scatters have evolved. Today, a scatter combination not only signals a winning combination but, on games with free spins or other bonus rounds, a scatter combination can also activate those bonus games. Wild symbols still act as substitutes but there are now different types of Wilds in addition to the regular substitute, including
- Expanding Wilds – Wilds that stretch to cover an entire reel which gives the player more chances to complete paylines and win payout prizes.
- Sticky Wilds – Wilds that stick to the reels even after you spin the next spin. That means that your wild has another chance to complete a combination.
- Stacked Wilds – When 2 or more |Wilds join together to cover entire reels. They can stretch to up to five stacked wilds at once to create a Wild Reel where all positions are wild and more easily complete winning combinations.
- Striking Wild – Activates randomly to transform a regular reel into a Wild Reel. Generally, only 2 or three reels are transformed
- Exploding Symbols – When a winning combination occurs during a spin, the symbols in the winning combination explode and disappear after you are paid.
There are a number of special reels features that keep the action moving. Most of these features are limited to five-reel slot machines but some of the newer 3-reel slots have these added features as well. They include:
- Rolling Reels – When you’re playing a slot with Rolling Reels, the winning symbols are removed from the reels every time you complete a payline, either by exploding, flashing or simply disappearing. After that, new symbols roll down to fill the empty places on the gameboard. That means that you can get new wins within the same spin. Sometimes there’s a multiplier trail as well that increases the multiplier to boost payouts. Rolling reels are sometimes called “Cascading Reels.”
- Mystery Symbols – Mystery Symbols are a new innovation in the world of slots but games with Mystery Symbols have proven popular and it’s safe to assume that this feature will start to appear more often in future games. Mystery symbols are symbols that don’t have any predetermined value. They often appear as question marks but they don’t appear on the paytable. If your spin results in a Mystery Symbol, it can take the form of any of the game’s other symbols, including Wilds, bonus symbols, scatters, etc. Mystery Symbols can stack on the reels.
- Morphing Symbols – Morphing symbols are also a new slots innovation that has gained popularity. In games that feature a Morphing Symbol, you choose your preferred morphing symbol before reels spin. That Morphing symbol then expands to cover an entire reel.
Check your preferred slot to see if it features any of these popular features:
- Buy Bonus – You can place money down to buy more free spins or other bonus
- 243 Ways to Win – Instead of creating winning combinations on paylines, you have the whole gameboard on which to create your combinations. You’ll receive payouts for adjacent matching symbols that start on the left and move towards the right. On a five-reel slot, you have 243 Ways to create winning combinations on each spin.
- Free Spins – When regular gameplay triggers the free spins, you are allotted a set number of times that you can spin the reels for free and collect the resulting winning payouts. Some slot machines feature Respins which means that, if the triggering combination occurs on a free spin, you are awarded more free spins
- Multiplier – Multiplies your wins by a pre-determined multiplier value
- Pick-a-Bonus – Can be triggered randomly by a regular game spin to allow you to choose your preferred bonus round from multiple choices
- Jackpot – Some games have 1 jackpot and others have multiple jackpots. Regardless, a pre-determined result of a spin will trigger the jackpot prize. Sometimes the jackpots are progressive, meaning that the winner receives all of the progressive jackpot deposits of all participating players from around the world.
Every game has its own mix of features. Read the games’ reviews and find a game whose gameplay suits your personal game expectations and playing style for some major online slots casino FUN!