Video slots have allowed us to bring the fun and excitement of casino slot machines into our homes, offering a dazzling array of themes and genres. In fact, there is often so much variety on offer that it can become difficult to choose a slot game: do you go by theme, graphics, gameplay, strategy, or even simply earning potential? Join us as we go over the basics of video slots, as well as the most popular video slots on offer by both big names and smaller up-and-coming developers.
Video slots, also called 5-reel slots, are based on the classic 3-reel slot machine. However, these games bring an extra layer of complexity, immersion, and fun, with detailed, themed graphics and a more complicated gameplay based on several paylines. In a three by three 3-reel slot grid, the payline is simply the middle row: if the symbols match your bet, you win. Video slots usually have three rows and five columns, and the paylines are various patterns across the grid: there can be up to 100 paylines in each game, although most average 25.
This means a significantly higher earning potential for players, especially when combined with special features such as wilds (which work as jokers), scatters (which unlock special features and bonuses), and multipliers. Newer games have begun to adopt features from other gaming industries, such as the use of Candy-Crush-style collapsing columns or story-based gameplay options.
Because of the increased paylines, it can be a bit harder to keep track of the game for beginners. All games have a paytable, in which the paylines and how much they are worth are detailed. For more complex games with more paylines, paytables can be a bit intimidating and complicated, which is why many prefer to start out on classic 3-reel slots before moving onto the higher earning potential of video slots.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned slots veteran, make sure you have an appropriate betting strategy before starting your game: know how much money you are willing to gamble, and at what point you are willing to walk away.
Many slots enthusiasts have their preferences when it comes to developers, and keep a keen eye out for what different companies are offering, and where they are innovating. There are hundreds of video slot developers, however a few big players dominate the industry. Here are just a few of the biggest and most popular developers.
There are literally thousands of video slots available online, with different gameplay dynamics and covering every theme imaginable. Here are a few of the most popular video slots, as well as some personal favourites
One of Microgaming’s big success stories, The Dark Knight takes the themes, characters, and atmosphere of Christopher Nolan’s hit blockbuster and brings it to the world of video slots. There are hundreds of branded slots out there, many based on huge film and TV franchises, however The Dark Knight has remained a favourite.
One of NetEnt’s most famous creations, Gonzo’s Quest has been a favourite with slot players for many years. The game tells the story of Gonzo, a Spanish adventurer on a quest to find El Dorado, and features great graphics and sound effects as well as addictive gameplay, including a free fall bonus. To make things more exciting, NetEnt previewed a virtual reality version of this classic game at ICE 2017, opening a world of possibilities for the future of online slot gaming.
From the imagination of the folks at Thunderkick comes this Mexican-inspired game, featuring singing, exploding mariachi skulls. Original and addictive, this game combines whimsical graphics and sound effects – the skulls sing a melody as the paylines accumulate – as well as a great multiplier function and the potential for big wins.
Cleopatra is a classic in physical slot machines, and a Vegas favourite. The online version has an almost nostalgic factor for experienced slot players, with many loving the option to relive this iconic offline slot from the comfort of their own home. Another bonus is that the online version has a better RTP (return to player) rate, meaning you are even more likely to win!
Microgaming’s Mega Moolah is one of the most popular slot games of all time, probably due to its huge earning potential. Known as the ‘Millionaire Maker’, the game has a progressive jackpot that allows for big winnings and an African safari theme, although several spin-off games with other themes have also been created.
Fantasy has always been a favourite genre for slot lovers, and this game from industry innovators Yggdrasil has been a hit with players worldwide. With its beautifully illustrated and animated dragons, an epic soundtrack, and high resolution visuals, it is a modern game perfectly tailored to on-the-go mobile gaming.
One of Rival’s most popular i-Slots, As the Reels Turn is actually a trilogy of slot games, all revolving around a soap opera theme, set in a high-stakes glamorous casino. Animated cutscenes introduce the character and plots, creating an immersive experience with a lot to offer both in terms of entertainment and earning potential.