Most slots at online casinos are referred to as 'Video Slots'. Video slots are so popular because they are easy to play: you select your game, place your bets, and hit the Spin button. Moreover, the exciting themes and graphics make for a fantastic entertainment experience.
Let's look at the features of video slots.
Every video slot has a number of spinning reels. They contain the symbols that you help form the winning combinations. Earlier they were mechanical wheels inside the slot machine; today at an online casino they are virtual. Video slots have multiple reels, usually 5. The Thunderstruck II Slots from Microgaming, for instance, has 5 reels on it.
The payline is a line across the reels where the symbols land. When the right symbols land across the paylines a winning combination is formed. Games can have anywhere between 1 and 100 paylines. Paylines usually run left to right.
Some games have fixed paylines while some have adjustable paylines. Adjustable paylines give you the luxury of choosing the paylines you want to play. Take for example the Book of Ra slot from Novomatic; that is a game with 5 reels and 9 adjustable paylines.
The wild symbol is a symbol that takes on the value of any of the other symbols (except the scatter symbol usually) to help form a winning combination. Some wild symbols appear at any point in the game and others appear only in the bonus rounds. There are different kinds of wilds, including sticky wilds, stacked wilds, expanding wilds, trailing wilds, and more. Some wilds come with multipliers.
A good example of the wild symbol can be seen in the Mega Moolah progressive slot from Microgaming. The wild in this game is the lion.
The scatter symbol does not always need to be in a win line; it can actually appear anywhere on the reels. While it is not mandatory for all slots to have scatter symbols, you find them in most games.
The scatter symbol has special functions: it can give you wins, or it can launch special bonus rounds or free spins. For instance, the slot 1 Can 2 Can from NextGen Gaming has a scatter symbol that launches the Fruity Free Games feature when you land 3 or more of them anywhere on the reels.
Multipliers help multiply your original possible winnings. This can happen in the base game as well as the free spins and bonus rounds. For instance, in the Battle Star Galactica slot from Microgaming, landing 3 or more Battle ship symbols gets you 15 free spins and they come with a 3x multiplier.
Bonus rounds are triggered when you land a specific symbol a specific number of times across the reels during a spin. Almost every online casino software provider has a barrage of slots with bonus rounds or feature rounds.
The bonus round can be a free spins round or a special round. For example, the Pirate Plunder slot from Cadillac Jack of the NYX Gaming Group has the cool Pirate Ship bonus feature that is triggered by landing 3, 4, or 5 pirate ship symbols across the reels. You get to select a pirate ship to reveal your bonus prize: the more symbols you land the higher the prize.
The progressive jackpot is the biggest example of a bonus round. This bonus is very significant because if you hit it right you could win a payout that could change your life forever.
This is a special feature that becomes active once you hit a winning combination. It gives you a chance to double your winnings from that spin. All you have to do is click the Gamble button that becomes active. The standard gamble feature requires you to choose the colour of a facedown card or the suit of the card. Choosing rightly doubles your winnings while choosing wrongly causes you to lose your winnings from that spin.
There are many other options available as well, depending on the software provider:
A good example of a game with the Gamble feature is Avalon from Microgaming. This game has the Gamble feature loaded when you hit a winning combination. Clicking the Gamble button takes you to a fresh screen where you get 2 options: pick the right colour or pick the right suit. Picking the right colour gives you a win of 200, while picking the right colour gives you a win of 400. Choosing the wrong option means you lose the winnings from the spin.
Free spins are among the most commonly seen bonus features in an online slot. This feature is triggered when you land the wild symbol or the scatter symbol – depending on the game you are playing – a certain number of times across the reels. In some games this bonus feature is triggered regardless of which reels you land the symbols in, while some other games launch this feature on landing the specific symbol on particular reels, for instance on reels 2, 3, and 4.
That is not all; in some games the free spins may be re-triggered. Also, free spins bonus rounds usually come with other features to give you extra wins, including features like multipliers, sticky wilds, expanding wilds, and more. A good example of a game with the free spins bonus is Greedy Goblins from BetSoft Gaming. Landing a minimum of 3 Elfania symbols in the game launches the free spins round.
This is the same free spins bonus feature that we discussed just above, but with a multiplier attached to it. A good example is again the Greedy Goblins slot from BetSoft Gaming. During the free spins bonus round in this game some symbols can get branded with up to 10x multipliers. The free spins round can be re-triggered in this slot.
There are slots across a range of themes including nature, sports, adventure, lifestyle, entertainment, fantasy, and much more. One of the themed slots that you see in slots from quite a few providers is the branded slot. These are slots that are themed on hit television shows, reality shows, well-known comics, famous novels, and blockbuster movies from Hollywood.
Here are a few of the most well-known branded slots from different providers:
There are a large number of video slots with bonus features to help you win more. There are different kinds of bonus features you get. These include, among others:
The popularity of video slots means one thing: every online casino software provider makes them. There are different kinds of video slots that are available nowadays. You get standard video slots with 5 reels, while Real Time Gaming also has video slots with 6 reels. There are video slots with single paylines, and these can go up to as many as 100 paylines. Some video slots come with fixed paylines, while there are many that come with adjustable paylines.
Some of the best video slots are from software providers that are considered the best in the business. Video slots from NetEnt are loaded with innovative features and are all available in instant play mode only. There are fantastic video slots from Microgaming that you get in both download and instant play modes. Some of the other top providers for video slots include BetSoft Gaming, Playtech, Real Time Gaming, Rival Gaming, Elk Studios, and Blueprint Gaming.
There are video slots that come with amazing jackpots. There are games with standalone jackpots that give you modest wins. And there are also games that come with massive progressive jackpots.