Jun 23, 2023

What Are The Most Common Bonus Features in Online Slots?

Online slots, digital replicas of the traditional slot machines found in brick-and-mortar casinos, have revolutionized the gambling world over the past few decades. These games of chance, once confined to the physical corners of gaming establishments, are now readily accessible from the comfort of one's home or on the go, thanks to advancements in technology and the rise of online casinos. They come in various forms and themes, ranging from classic fruit slots to ones inspired by blockbuster movies, attracting a diverse range of players with different preferences.

Importance and Attraction of Bonus Features in Online Slots

The thrilling unpredictability of where the spinning reels will land is certainly a central attraction of online slots. However, what distinguishes these games and makes them increasingly captivating are the bonus features they encompass. These additional features not only enhance the gameplay and make it more dynamic and engaging but also provide more ways for players to win, multiplying the excitement manifold.

Understanding Online Slot Bonus Features

Bonus features, often known as bonus rounds or special features, are additional game functions built into online slots, designed to offer players extra winning opportunities beyond the base game. These features are typically triggered by specific combinations or symbols on the reels and can take a variety of forms. They can range from free spins and multipliers to interactive mini-games, each offering a unique twist to the gameplay.

Explanation of How Bonus Features Increase the Excitement and Chances of Winning in Online Slots

While the primary thrill of online slots lies in the randomness of the game, bonus features add a layer of excitement and anticipation. They not only break the monotony of simply spinning the reels but also bring forth the potential for substantial wins.

Every time a player spins the reel, there's the anticipation of landing a combination that triggers a bonus feature, adding a sense of exhilaration to the game. Bonus features can significantly increase a player's chances of winning by offering additional rewards like free spins, which provide more opportunities to land a winning combination, or multipliers, which can boost the amount won.

Moreover, many bonus features involve a degree of interactivity, allowing players to make decisions that can influence the outcome. This not only enhances the overall gaming experience but also provides players with a sense of control in the inherently unpredictable world of slots, making these games all the more appealing.

What Are The Most Common Bonus Features in Online Slots?

Free Spins

Explanation of Free Spins: Free spins are perhaps one of the most coveted bonus features in online slots. As the name suggests, these are spins that players can use without betting their own money, while still keeping any winnings they earn. It's like getting extra shots at the target without any risk.

Common Conditions for Triggering Free Spins: Free spins are usually triggered when a certain number of specific symbols, often referred to as scatter symbols, appear on the reels. The exact number of symbols and the number of free spins awarded can vary greatly between different slot games.

Examples of Popular Online Slots That Offer Free Spins: Games like NetEnt’s "Gorilla Kingdom," Microgaming’s "Immortal Romance," and ELK’s "Poltava" are famous for their generous free spin features.


Explanation of Multipliers: Multipliers, as the name suggests, multiply the winnings by a certain number. They can double, triple, or even increase the winnings by a higher factor, offering the potential for substantial payouts.

How Multipliers Affect Winnings: When activated, multipliers increase the payout of a winning combination by the multiplier's value. For instance, if you land a win with a 3x multiplier, your winnings for that spin would be tripled.

Examples of Online Slots That Use Multipliers: Slots like "Reactoonz" by Play n Go and "Mega Moolah" by Microgaming are known for their use of multipliers during both base play and bonus rounds.

Bonus Games

Overview of Bonus Games: Bonus games are mini-games within the main slot game that provide a break from spinning reels and offer additional winning opportunities. They often have a different game mechanic and are typically highly thematic and interactive.

How These Games Within Games Operate: Bonus games are generally triggered by landing a specific combination of symbols. They can take various forms, such as pick-and-win games, where players choose from several options to reveal a prize or skill-based games where the player's input can influence the outcome.

Examples of Online Slots with Innovative Bonus Games: "Blood Suckers" by NetEnt and "Pink Panther" by Playtech are just a couple of examples that have creative and engaging bonus games.

Wild Symbols

Definition of Wild Symbols: Wild symbols are special symbols that can substitute for most other symbols on the reels, much like a joker in a deck of cards, helping to create winning combinations.

Role of Wild Symbols in Online Slots: By substituting for other symbols, wilds can complete or extend winning combinations that would otherwise have been missed. Some wilds may also come with multipliers or other special features.

Examples of Online Slots with Unique Wild Symbols: In "Starburst" by NetEnt, the Starburst Wild expands to cover the entire reel and triggers a re-spin.

Scatter Symbols

Explanation of Scatter Symbols: Scatter symbols are unique because they don't have to appear on a specific payline to grant benefits. They can appear scattered anywhere on the reels and often trigger free spins or bonus games.

Importance of Scatter Symbols in Triggering Bonuses: Scatters are the keys to unlocking a slot’s main bonus features. Getting a certain number of these symbols usually leads to bonus rounds, offering a chance for players to win big at slots.

Examples of Online Slots Featuring Scatter Symbols: In "Book of Dead" by Play'n GO, the book serves as both a wild and scatter symbol. In "Cleopatra" by IGT, the Sphinx is the scatter symbol that triggers free spins with a multiplier.

Progressive Jackpots

Understanding Progressive Jackpots: Progressive jackpots are jackpots that grow over time. Every time a player places a bet on a slot offering a progressive jackpot, a portion of their wager contributes to the jackpot pool, which keeps growing until someone wins it.

The Rarity and Excitement Surrounding Progressive Jackpots: Progressive jackpots are particularly attractive because they offer life-changing amounts. The downside is that they are not won frequently, and triggering the jackpot often requires a maximum bet or a specific combination of symbols.

Examples of Online Slots with Progressive Jackpots: Slots like "Mega Moolah" by Microgaming and "Mega Fortune" by NetEnt are renowned for their progressive jackpots, which have turned many lucky players into instant millionaires.

Cascading Reels/Avalanche Feature

Explanation of Cascading Reels/Avalanche Feature: This feature, often found in modern online slots, involves symbols falling from the top of the screen rather than spinning on a reel. When a winning combination is formed, those symbols disappear (or explode), and new symbols drop down to replace them. This cascade can create a chain reaction of wins from a single spin.

Common Conditions for Triggering Cascading Reels/Avalanche Feature: Unlike other bonus features, cascading reels/avalanche is not triggered by particular symbols or combinations. Instead, it's activated whenever a winning combination is achieved, providing an immediate re-spin of sorts.

Examples of Online Slots That Offer Cascading Reels/Avalanche Feature: "Gonzo's Quest" by NetEnt and "Bonanza" by Big Time Gaming are two popular slots that utilize this innovative feature.

Gamble Feature

Explanation of Gamble Feature: The gamble feature offers players an opportunity to double or even quadruple their winnings by predicting the outcome of a simple game, such as guessing the color or suit of a hidden card.

How the Gamble Feature Affects Winnings: While the gamble feature can significantly increase winnings, it's a double-edged sword. A correct guess can multiply winnings, but an incorrect guess results in losing the initial win.

Examples of Online Slots That Use the Gamble Feature: Novomatic’s "Book of Ra" and Microgaming’s "Game of Thrones" both include a gamble feature, giving winners the option to risk their winnings for a bigger payout.

Colossal Symbols

Definition of Colossal Symbols: Colossal symbols are oversized symbols that take up multiple spaces on the reels in a grid. They can cover an area of 2x2, 3x3, or even larger, increasing the chances of forming winning combinations.

Role of Colossal Symbols in Online Slots: By covering larger areas, colossal symbols make it easier to form winning combinations. When combined with other bonus features, these large symbols can lead to some significant wins.

Examples of Online Slots with Colossal Symbols: NetEnt's "Spinata Grande" and "Secrets of Atlantis" both feature colossal symbols that add an extra layer of excitement to the gameplay.

Cluster Wins

Explanation of Cluster Wins: Instead of traditional paylines, some slots award wins based on clusters of symbols. A cluster is a group of identical symbols that are adjacent either vertically, horizontally, or in both directions.

How Cluster Wins Operate: A certain number of identical symbols must touch each other in a cluster to form a winning combination. The bigger the cluster, the larger the win.

Examples of Online Slots with Cluster Wins: Popular games that use the cluster pays mechanic include "Aloha! Cluster Pays" by NetEnt and "Tiki Pop" by Yggdrasil.

Choosing Online Slots Based on Bonus Features

Different bonus features appeal to different types of players, adding an extra layer of strategy to the selection of the ideal online slot game. For example, players who love extended playtime might be attracted to slots with free spins or cascading reels. Risk-takers might enjoy slots with a gambling feature, offering a chance to multiply their winnings. Progressive jackpots cater to those aiming for massive, life-changing sums. At the same time, features like cluster wins or colossal symbols provide a novel experience for those seeking something different from traditional paylines.

Understanding the bonus features of an online slot before diving in is crucial. Each slot has its unique set of rules and bonus features which affect the gameplay and winning potential. Without an understanding of these features, players could miss opportunities or make incorrect decisions. Hence, a good strategy is to review the paytable and rules of any slot game before playing.

There are several strategies to maximize the benefits of bonus features. One is to manage your bankroll effectively, ensuring you have enough funds to potentially trigger the bonus features, as these usually require a minimum bet. Also, understand the rules and mechanics of the bonus features, know what triggers them, and how they can enhance your winnings. Lastly, consider playing slots with a higher return to player (RTP) percentage, as they tend to payout more over the long run.

Impact of Bonus Features on the Future of Online Slots

Bonus features are a key determinant in the development of new online slots. As the online casino industry becomes increasingly competitive, best slots providers are continually seeking to innovate and offer new bonus features that differentiate their slots from the competition. These features can often dictate the game's theme and mechanics and are crucial in attracting and retaining players.

Looking ahead, we can expect to see more creative and complex bonus features in online slots. The integration of video game-like features is a likely trend, given the crossover between gamers and online slot players. Also, with advancements in technology, we can expect more immersive features leveraging virtual and augmented reality. The use of AI could also personalize bonus features based on player behavior. The future of online slots looks to be exciting, with bonus features continuing to play a pivotal role.

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