When the first slot machines appeared they were pretty dull to play, according to today's standards. The first classic slot machines would pay out a win once 3 symbols lined up on a winning pay line. No Wild symbols, no bonus features, nothing. But today the situation with slots is very much different. Pretty much every video slot today has one or more bonus features, a series of mini-games and features in the bonus round itself. This makes the games interesting to play and gives them the potential for big payouts. So let’s take a look at the features that can be found on slots today and what they’re all about.
Both Ways Pay
In most online slots today the payouts occur when a number of matching symbols lands on a pay line from left to right. But in Both Ways Pay slots wins are formed starting from the first and starting from the last reel. This concept was most known from Starburst, which is one of the most popular NetEnt slots.
243 Ways to Win
The 243 ways to win feature removes all pay lines from the reels. This mode is used on slots featuring 5 reels and 3 rows, making up for a total of 243 ways to win. The idea here is that you only need to land matching symbols on the first 3 reels in order to win, regardless of their position on the reel.
1024 Ways to Win
The 1024 ways to win concept is basically the same as the 243 ways to win. But here the only difference is that instead of 3 rows the game has a total of 4. This way the game can produce payouts which can be calculated in up to 1,024 ways to win.
4096 Ways to Win
The slots designers didn’t stop with 1,024 ways to win and wanted more. So this led to the creation of slots with 6 reels and 4 rows, with a total of 4,096 ways to win. These games were a novelty on the market and were quickly embraced by players because of their potential to pay big.
Mega Ways Feature
The Mega Ways feature was first introduced and licensed by Big Time Gaming. Afterwards they formed partnerships with many other providers, so today you can find a big number of Mega Ways slots. The idea here is to add more reels and rows in the game, with the addition of slots symbols which can take up more than one space on the reel. The end result is a slot with a massive payout potential and an enormous number of ways to win.
Reel Nudge is a pretty common feature at a big number of slots in the industry today. The concept behind this feature is that the reel can nudge up or down one or more positions in order to form a winning combination with the rest of the symbols on the screen.
This feature was first used on Microgaming slots and spread to other providers from there. With this feature the player has the option to hold one or more reels in place, while the other reels’ re-spin. The trick here is to get matching symbols on the reels which re-spin in order to get bigger payouts.
Pick and Win Bonus
The Pick and Win bonus feature is common with slots that have several bonus rounds to offer. The concept behind this feature is that the player will need to make picks on the screen from a number of items and each one will reveal a different cash prize or trigger another feature.
Free Spins Bonus
The free spins bonus is the most common feature when it comes to slots. The feature is usually triggered by landing 3 or more Scatters on the reels and the player is awarded with a number of free spins, free of charge. The free spins bonus usually comes with extra features, which can produce big payouts.
Free Spins Re-Trigger
The free spins re-trigger is something that players want to see the most when they trigger the free spins bonus. This feature awards you the same number of free spins or even more, allowing you to hit bigger payouts.
The Wild symbol is often referred to as the Joker by many older players. This symbol will replace all other symbols in the games and can come with extra features attached. In many slots the entire bonus feature revolves around the Wild and that’s the symbol you want to see the most on the reels.
The Scatter slots symbol is responsible for triggering the free spins bonus in most slots. Usually 3 or more Scatters will instantly trigger the bonus round, while another 3 during the feature will award a re-trigger. In some slots landing 5 Scatters comes with a hefty payout of 500 times the total stake.
The bonus symbol in most slots triggers either the free spins bonus, if no Scatters are installed, or the cash pick and win a slot machine bonus. It all depends on the game in question and what feature is awarded to the bonus symbol.
The Win Multiplier feature is pretty much self-explanatory. In most cases this feature is awarded to the Wild slots symbol, so all payouts with a Wild involved come with a x2, x3 or even a higher payout multiplier.
This feature can be found under many names, including Rolling Reels and Tumbling Reels. The concept is pretty much the same. The winning symbols on the reels will disappear and new ones will land on top to fill in the empty spaces. This way more winning combinations can occur for the price of a single spin.
The Sticky Wild feature is common in many slots, there are many slots with sticky wilds in online casinos. With this feature, the Wild will remain in the position it landed in for the duration of the bonus or for a predetermined number of spins.
The Expanding Wild feature is pretty straightforward. When the Wild lands on a reel it will expand to cover the entire reel.
Sticky Expanding Wild
This feature is basically a combination of the two features above. When the Wild lands on a reel it will expand, covering the entire reel, and will remain in position for the duration of the feature.
The Stacked Wild is basically a Wild which can come as a single or as a combination of several symbols on a single reel.
The Transforming Wilds feature is used in some slots where a certain symbol can be transformed to a Wild symbol.
The Transferring Wild is usually used in mode complex slots. Some games use this feature for example when the Wilds covers an entire reel. When this happens the Wilds are transferred to another position on the screen.
The Random Wilds feature is pretty common during many bonus features on slots. On each spin a random number of Wilds is awarded on random positions on the reels.
The Extra Wilds feature is basically the same as the Random Wilds. But the only difference is that in most slots the number of Extra Wilds awarded is smaller than the number of Random Wilds.
The Walking Wilds feature is also popular, especially in newer slots. The concept here is that when the Wild lands on the reels it will walk one position to the left or right with every spin. This way you can land a big number of Walking Wilds at the same time and hit bigger payouts.
The split symbols feature is also used in a big number of slots. This feature allows for certain symbols to split, basically creating bigger winning combinations. In some slots the Split symbols feature allows for 6 of a kind wins to be formed.
The Double symbols feature allows for a single symbol on the reels to count as two symbols in the winning combination. This way the payouts from double symbols can be much bigger, because of the higher number of symbols which contribute to the win.
The progressive jackpot feature is common to many jackpot slots. The concept behind this idea is that the top prize in the game is pooled across the entire network of casinos. So every bet made by every player at every casino which has this progressive jackpot goes towards the top prize.
The Auto Play feature is one of the best inventions when it comes to playing slots. This feature allows you to set the number of spins you want to play, sit back and relax. This is a great feature to use in long spinning session when you want to give your hand a rest.
The gamble feature has been around on slots from pretty much the start. This feature allows the player to gamble their winnings, instead of collecting them. With this feature the player can substantially increase their wins, with some luck on their side.
About the author
Aaron "SlotScribe" Mitchell, Ireland's very own slot enthusiast, effortlessly merges the classic tales of the Emerald Isle with the digital spins of today. As a prolific writer for SlotsRank, he unveils the magic behind the reels, captivating readers across the globe.