What are cluster pays slots?

Slots are some of the most popular games at the casino, online and offline. With this being the case, several different aspects and gameplay mechanics make up some of the biggest titles. From wilds to free spins and bonus games to respins, there are lots of extras that you can find. One of these is the cluster pays mechanic developed by NetEnt which you can find in a whole range of slot games across the internet.

This guide will go through the exact nature of the mechanic, where you’re likely to find it, and some of the games that employ it.

What are Cluster Pays?

In traditional slots, the jackpot is paid out when a horizontal payline is achieved. That is when a sequence of repeated or matched symbols appears from left to right on the reels. This can differ from game to game, as some will include paylines that are read vertically, and others may be diagonal or in a zigzag shape. However, cluster pays slots do away with the traditional construction of paylines for a different approach to jackpot wins.

In cluster pays, instead of having to simply achieve left to right or up and down, symbols can pay out when they appear in a cluster anywhere on the reels. All that is required is that you have a cluster of symbols together and that they touch any of the four sides. When these clusters are matched and paid out, the symbols will disappear from the reels, and those above will cascade into their place, potentially making up more clusters that can pay out, too.

The payout amount will depend on the value of the symbols that make up the cluster and the number of symbols in it, as well as what you staked on the round. This makes it a more dynamic approach to slots, as it gives players multiple ways to win rather than just the standard payline.

While this kind of play may increase the number of ways that someone can win, it’s important to note that winning is not guaranteed, and losses are just as likely.

The Different Types of Cluster Pays Slots

While this is a unique mechanic in its own right, there are a number of different types of cluster pays slot games that you will find at any good online casino. These will have slightly different types of gameplay specific to the type that you pick. Here are some of the most popular kinds of cluster pays slots that you can play online.

Avalanche Slots

This kind of slot uses the cascading symbols approach to slots that employ the cluster pays mechanic. When the winning cluster is matched, the symbols are removed from the grid and others fall into their place. This can lead to further wins being matched and more payouts if successful clusters are found.

This was developed exclusively by the originator of the mechanic NetEnt, and they continue to employ it in their range of slots to this day.

Megaclusters Slots

These slots are different from the avalanche type as they don’t use the cascading symbols mechanics in the same way. Instead of clusters being wiped from the grid and replaced by falling symbols, here, the Megaclusters take a completely different approach.

When a winning cluster is matched, the symbols will break down into mini sub-symbols instead of being removed from the screen. This means that further wins are possible within these mini clusters, and the grid effectively expands to accommodate these new symbols.

This kind of game was developed by Big Time Gaming, and one of its common features is the inclusion of bonus rounds, as well as Wilds and multipliers that can increase the winning payout of a cluster.

Random Wilds

These kinds of slots make extensive use of the Wild symbols that take the place of the regular symbols on the grid. So, instead of needing to build a cluster of specific symbols, you can switch out some for the Wild.

These will either display after a particular number of spins or as part of a bonus game. It means that players can form their clusters without matching every one of the required symbols. This is similar to the standard payline slots but with the cluster pays mechanic.

Top Cluster Pays Slots

Cluster pay slots have become a popular option for online slot players, and there is a wide range of options available. To narrow things down, we have handpicked some of our favourite titles.


Set in the outer reaches of space, this cluster pays slot game is a great option for those looking for a slot with a sci-fi theme that introduces this special pay mechanic.

Giga Jar

Spot the Giga Jar to the side of the reels, sporting the bouncing headphones as the cube-styled fruit symbols drop onto the grid. With its unique reel layout, winning combinations are created via the cluster pays mechanic.

Jammin’ Jars

This popular slot game blends classical fruit symbols with a neon music design. Within the gameplay, there is the chance to create wins with the cluster pays mechanic, but you can also find bonus Jam Jars and free spins.

Aloha! Cluster Pays

This tiki-themed online slot takes you to a tropical island with volcanoes and clear seas visible in the backdrop. Most of all, the slot incorporates the cluster pays mechanic, as well as a range of bonus features.

Take Time to Think | BeGambleAware.org | 18+

We're sorry!

Unfortunately, 21 isn't available in your country.