Types of Slot Games

When you come across the words “slot games,” you likely already have a certain image conjured up in your mind. And especially for people who are new to the gaming industry, it’s probably a set of generic features that you picture. Chances are you’re thinking lame fruit images and that ding-ding-ding sound you hear when you win, or something along those lines.

However, the truth is that there is so much more to slot games. In fact, it’s a whole world of colors, sounds, themes, and experiences. Plus, there are so many different types of structures, and there’s a whole array of software developers out there, each eager to show players their unique approach. Not to mention all those crazy and exciting built-in features that many fans practically live for!

Furthermore, you can divide slot games by their ability to pay out, which is certainly high up on the list of important aspects. Is your head starting to spin already? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. This article will help clarify what exactly makes online slot games the most diverse of all casino offerings.

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Setup Differences

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the overall setup of an online slot game. For example, picture the most basic of video slot games. You will see a grid of 5 reels (vertical) and 3 rows (horizontal). This is what most people would consider to be the industry standard, and that’s because most games truly are structured this way. But there is by no means a rule saying that that’s how it’s supposed to be. The number of reels and rows can be less or more, depending on the developer and the game. As a matter of fact, certain slots feature massive grids of up to 12 rows and 8 or 9 reels. Others, like your classic slots that pay tribute to their old-school cousins, have smaller, 3×3 layouts.

And with different layouts also come different numbers of paylines, aka win lines. What are paylines, you say? These are quite literally lines that normally run from left to right across the layout of the game. Once you land a certain number of identical symbols on one of these lines – bam! You score a win. There is always a page in the game rules that shows you exactly where these lines are. And it’s fairly common for you to be able to press on the payline number on the side of the reels to see it directly on the screen. Paylines can range from anything as little as 1 and up to an insane 1,069 or more. Oh, and once you get up into the crazy numbers, you will see them referred to as “ways to win.”

Many slots will even allow you to regulate the number of paylines that are active during your session. And you will even have the opportunity to alternate between different numbers within that same session. Say you played with all 10 paylines the first spin. You could always change your mind and lower them to 5 lines for your next spin. By experimenting, you will get a good feel for what works best for you.

On a very important note, though, we should point out that the paylines will affect the size of your stake. In the majority of cases, you bet per payline (or per a given number of paylines). Therefore, selecting more paylines will likely result in a higher total stake. But that will also mean better winning chances. For example, if you bet 1c on all 25 paylines, your total stake will amount to 25c. In doing so, you will also increase your potential of landing a winning combination during a spin.

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Slot Designs

Slot DesignsSo, we’ve gone over what the layout of a slot game looks like. But there is more to a slot than just its reels and paylines. A game’s overall feel is largely defined by its appearance and design. And that’s where the developers have the freedom to let their imaginations run wild. This is what makes every game unique and different from the sea of other online slots out there.

Things that you normally look out for first include the controls. Where are they? Are they easy to access? Do they fit the theme? Next, you will probably find yourself looking at the game’s backdrop and how well it works with the reels. Many developers go to great lengths to create a stunning atmosphere with the help of scenic or animated backgrounds for their games. We should also mention the music and sounds in this section, too, as these are also part of the design, not to mention how important the sound is in sculpting a certain vibe.

Moving on, you will almost instantly begin to notice the different symbols on the reels. They typically reflect the theme of the game and can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be generic fruit icons (plums, cherries, etc.) or playing cards (Ace, King, Queen, etc.). Or they can be completely unique to the particular game you’re playing, which is always a cool thing. Notice also the quality of the graphics. Many (if not all) top developers strive to deliver high-quality 3D graphics these days, and with good reason. With characters standing by the reels and sometimes interacting with them, this single aspect can often be the difference between an average and outstanding gaming experience.

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Built-In Perks

Online Casino BonusesIt’s one thing to craft a visually appealing game, but there also needs to be some sort of substance behind the fancy graphics. And by this we mean the special features, of course. This is what will essentially make or break the slot. Now, whereas there are true old-school fans out there who would want nothing more than a basic, featureless slot game to play, in most cases, it’s quite the opposite. Players want there to be a little extra to the gameplay. After all, just endlessly spinning the reels with nothing else happening can get kind of boring.

So, developers introduce things like bonus rounds, random features that appear out of nowhere, and more. In addition, the interactive characters we mentioned earlier are also a fun perk. Especially when those characters take part in a special feature, things just get even more entertaining.

Now, bonuses and extras vary from game to game. What is somewhat consistent are the so-called special symbols. One is the Wild symbol, which very often pays out more than the rest. But more importantly, it can substitute for all of the regular icons when forming combinations. Thus, it’s a helping hand that can better your chances of winning. Another common example of a special symbol is the Scatter. The term comes from the fact that these don’t need to land on an active payline in order for you to benefit from them. Instead, they can just be “scattered” across the screen. And frequently, these also trigger various bonus rounds, say, you need to land 3 or more Scatter symbols during a spin to activate the special feature.

As for the special feature itself, there are two most common ones that you are likely to come across in slot games. You have free spins on the one hand and pick-me games on the other. Free spins rounds are perhaps among the most attractive bonus feature for players because you receive a given amount of spins without spending a dime. Once again, the number of these free spins can vary dramatically, depending on the provider and the specific game.

This brings us to the pick-me games. These can be very fun when they work together with the theme. The objective, however, is extremely simple. You will have a number of objects before you to pick from. The number of picks, as well as how many items there are, is again up to the developer. Sometimes your pick can lead to a subsequent level in the bonus game. And sometimes you can even trigger another special feature as a result of it!

Slots can also contain random features that take place without you having to do anything. These can be random cash prizes, re-spins, extra Wilds, an additional Scatter – you name it. And any game can have any number and combination of special features in it. There are some that will offer you only one or two, while in others, you will run out of fingers trying to count them all. The bottom line is that these features can be an amazing way to spice up and diversify gameplay. Plus, they offer a chance to gain something for nothing, which never hurts.

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Differences in Win Possibilities

Well, this one is pretty easy. If games can differ so wildly from one another in terms of their setup and visuals, obviously they’re going to pay differently, too. Right? Right. But there’s more than just one aspect to how much you can win from any given game.

One thing to consider if you want to know approximately what your winning chances are is the RTP. RTP stands for return to player ratio. It’s a percentage that will tell you on average how much of your money you can expect to get back after playing a slot. For example, if the RTP of game XYZ is 95%, then that is how much of your total investment you can expect to walk away with.

Some slots offer pretty low RTPs, like 89%-90%. And those are the ones you will probably want to steer clear of. Others will give you fantastic estimates of up to 98% and even 99%! Speaking of which, certain games can even offer you to adjust the RTP as per your bet. A higher bet can give you better winning odds by, for example, giving you a higher chance of triggering special features. Or a larger stake may simply guarantee you winnings at a higher frequency. These options normally come labeled as Big Bet mode.

Also, there is something called variance, or volatility (both terms are interchangeable). The variance can range from low to high, and it will also give you an idea of what to expect in terms of winnings. Low-variance offerings typically provide frequent wins but smaller amounts. In contrast, highly-volatile titles will make for larger winnings but at less frequent intervals.

Another thing that can greatly affect your winning opportunities is the presence of a jackpot. Especially if it’s a progressive jackpot that we’re talking about, you can be facing some huge potential payouts. A slot game with a progressive jackpot is a major attraction to players. From each bet that every player makes, a small amount will go towards the pot, making it grow constantly. And then if you happen to fulfill the necessary requirements (e.g., land all five jackpot symbols), you score the big prize!

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Thematic Thrills

Slot ThemesWe already mentioned themes several times throughout this page. And after you have gotten around to playing different games, you will likely develop a taste for certain themes. These can be anything spanning from nature and animals to holidays, sports, luxury, fantasy, and more – way more. Popular themes include Ancient Egypt and the pyramids, for example. There are dozens of slots in which you will find yourself scouring a pharaoh’s tomb in search of treasure. Similarly, the pyramids of Mesoamerica are also quite popular in slot games. Other themes you will be sure to come across are movies and TV shows, and some of the separate offerings are truly amazing. Irish luck games are also pretty big, as are Norse-themed titles.

However, we couldn’t possibly aim to tell you about all of the different themes out there – even an entire article wouldn’t be enough for that! What we can tell you is to just get out there and start exploring the world of online slot games. Amidst the immeasurable array of offerings available, you will be sure to find something with which to fall in love and have a blast.