What makes a slot game a video slot? Is it the theme? The number of reels? The bonus features? Well, we want to let you know exactly what distinguishes video slots from classic slots.
What are video slots?
To know what video slots are, we first need to recognise the importance of classic slots and the role they play in the creation of video slots. As a foundation, the classics feature static reels, minimal animation, and few bonus features, whereas video slots come in all shapes and sizes, and that includes the symbols on them.
Video slots are modern and very varied. Reels aren't confined to just spinning for straight-line wins and 10 paylines, but are free to use cluster pays, cascading reels, and Megaways, to name a few features.
Unlike retro slots, which imitate land-based slot machines, there's a huge amount of variety in video slots. There are also many different themes, whereas classic slots stick with fruit-based type games, video slots range from space to animal to Egyptian slots.
How do video slots work?
Slots can vary wildly within the video slot games genre. 5x3 slots are still common for this kind of slot game, but some like Kathmandu Gold have expanding reels that grow with wins. Similarly, there are symbols that do not confine themselves to a single space on the slots and move around the reels. Expanding symbols or mega symbols are also regularly present on video slots, to create more diverse gameplay.
Let’s talk about the many features of this type of slot.
Do video slots have free spins?
They do indeed, free spins are an avid feature in most slots, within both classic and video variants. The trigger for free spins is usually confined to a "match three" policy, but that's not necessarily true with video slots, especially when dealing with things like cluster pays, which need a minimum of five symbols to generate a winning combination. Some will also offer free spins in the form of respins, where reels will spin or clusters will generate until no more wins are made.
What are mega symbols?
Mega symbols are something introduced into this genre of slots to add some extra variety. As slots evolve, we're moving away from the idea of simple, single space symbols, and into the world of mega symbols, where they can expand during bonus games to cover a full 6x6 slot, or they can randomly generate inside a base game as a 2x2, 3x3, and sometimes 4x4 symbol. Mega symbols are good for generating wins, much like wilds, as long as there is a matching symbol on the preceding reels, there's a chance to generate multiple wins across multiple reels.
What are expanding wilds?
Another interesting addition to video slot games is the expanding wild. Wilds hold great value, especially when positioned between matching symbols, so expanding wild symbols add an extra layer to this. Games like House of Doom: The Crypt are perfect examples of effective use of expanding wilds because they give reel modifiers that vary depending on which expanding wild appears.
What do the reels of video slots look like?
There is a lot of variety within video slot reels. 5x3 reels are still very common, but so are expanding reels, which trigger expansion upon generating a winning line. In some instances, slots like this can get up to eight reels high, and in various cases, this is how bonus rounds are triggered.
In the case of cluster pay reels, they very rarely start below 7x7 reels because of the need for more than five symbols to create a win. These tend to have cascading reels features, where winning clusters will disappear, and the other symbols above will drop into the empty spaces. With games like this, it's not necessary to spin the reels again until there are no more wins generated on the grid, and a certain number of collected symbols or clusters will trigger bonuses.
Why play video slots over classic slots?
There's nothing wrong with the classics, but generally speaking, variety is sparse and bonus rounds are few, so if you're looking for something fresh, or maybe just something thematically different from the slot machine look, then video slot games are perfect for that. As you read above, there is an abundance of features in video slot machines that you won't find anywhere else, and that's only a small portion of what you can expect. Themes can be gothic, space-age, Egyptian, pirate and sea-themed, and so much more. There's definitely something for everyone when it comes to video slot games.
The one thing you need to consider before trying out different slots is their volatility, which varies from low, to very high in cases like the Nitropolis series, or most games from NoLimit City. This high volatility adds a lot of bonuses and high potential payouts, but payouts are fairly infrequent, so make sure you choose the right game for you.
What are the best video slot games?
Video slots are so prominent inside online casinos that there are huge amounts of variation, with bonus rounds, the number of reels, and ways to win, all varying depending on the type of slot. But it's the more simple style of online video slots that seem to shine the brightest.
Starburst is possibly the most popular online slot in the world. This 5x3 slot has extra layers that pull it away from the title of "classic", such as its win-both-ways system, which generates payouts from both left and right of the reels. Free spins are on offer, including extra spins, and wins can reach up to 500x stake in this incredible space themed slot.
Legacy of Dead
Another of the most popular video slots to date is Legacy of Dead, popular for its simple layout, impressive and immersive Egyptian theme, and interesting bonus round feature, which randomly picks a symbol to become an expanding symbol, generating plenty of winning potential and a maximum potential payout of 5,000x stake. Despite its high volatility, slot players love this online casino game, making Legacy of Dead very popular amongst our UK players too.
Whether it's a land based casino, or an online casino, Fishin' Frenzy, and its many variants, can be found wherever you look. Appraised for its fishing theme and interesting collection feature, in which a fisherman on the reels with fish of varying values, will collect each value into himself for massive win potential, this goes well with its free spins and interesting fishing symbols.
Video slots on 21.co.uk
Hopefully, this helps our players understand the interesting elements present in video slots. We've talked about only a small selection of the best video slots, and there are plenty more to view on 21.co.uk, all with their own unique slot themes and interesting gameplay. For more casino games, check out our slot game catalog and play online with us, the UK's number one online casino.