One of the biggest appeals of playing online video slots is their bonus rounds. From random respins of the reels and multipliers to free spins features and elaborate bonus games, there are hundreds of innovations that have made slots the most preferred type of casino game both online and in land-based casinos. Nothing compares to the excitement of triggering a bonus game and winning tons of prizes in a row but which games have the best bonus features?
There is no simple answer to this question since even the most basic online slots can sometimes offer extremely profitable free spins or other special features. Some players believe that they should choose slots by their average return – the Return to Player (RTP) percentages, displayed in most online casinos. Others look for games with huge progressive jackpots. All this could be great indicators of whether a slot game is worth playing or not, and we have discussed these topics in separate sections of this guide. Another important aspect of online slots is how to trigger the bonus round as frequently as possible so that you can make your playing session not only profitable but enjoyable, too.
Unlocking Bonus Games
Bonus and Scatter Symbols
Tumbling or Cascading Reels
One of the most frustrating moments for slot players is when they play their favorite game for an hour or so without activating any bonus features at all. This is not a likely scenario but it is certainly possible since all slots, as long as they are offered by a legitimate, respected online casino, are based on Random Number Generators. This means that each spin is completely random and independent from past or future outcomes. The RNG software is crucial for bonus games, as well, especially for those features that are triggered at random.
Many slot machines feature randomly activated bonus games and this is a preferred option for some casino patrons who have experienced the following – you make a bet, click the Spin button, and you get two bonus symbols lining up only to discover that you need a third matching image fall on that same payline to activate the generous free spins round. This happens frequently and can be avoided by simply choosing a game where the bonus feature activates randomly.
Depending on the rules and mechanics of the particular slot, this could occur once in 10 to 15 spins or after more than 300 spins. Slots may differ significantly so players need to check the rules and information, displayed within the game itself. Many developers reveal the average returns, the volatility, or the hit frequency of their games.
The paytable also provides crucial information – typically, slots with huge jackpots and more generous payouts offer low hit frequency and bonus games that are really hard to trigger. Games with lower prizes for completing combos, on the other hand, tend to activate their special features more frequently. Once again, this may vary greatly from one slot to the next, and sometimes, the best way to tell what game you play is to actually spend a little time (and money) to test it.View more...
Random Bonus Games
Sometimes, the bonus rounds within slot games involve some skill or decision making on players’ part. More often, these bonus games are completely random in their nature. One such type of mini-game is the picking or pick’ em game, which opens in a separate screen and shows several symbols. Players then pick one or more symbols to reveal a coin prize or a multiplier behind them.
The reward is collected instantly and added to the winnings of the current round. If it is a multiplier (2x, 3x, 4x, etc.), the profits from the main round are multiplied by the corresponding number. Even though these types of games seem to have a skill element, the outcome is completely random and determined by the RNG of the game.
Blood Suckers – Mini Game Gameplay
2Wheel of Fortune
Originally, the Wheel of Fortune was a 1950’s television game show but its popularity has made these types of games a truly global phenomenon. Online casino game developers have also created multiple versions of this fun wheel, which has various sections with prizes on each of them. A digital and simplified variation also appears as a bonus game within many modern video slots.
Once players unlock the game, the main reels disappear and are replaced by the bonus game screen with the wheel of fortune in the center. Players click the Spin button and the wheel spins until it stops on one of the sections. Depending on the game, it could reward a wide range of things – from cash prizes to multipliers, free spins, or collectible items that trigger yet another bonus feature.
Mega Fortune – Bonus Game Gameplay
3Card Comparing Games
Some slots offer complex, multi-level bonus games while others have returned to the basics with much simpler mini-games. A good example is the addition of card comparing games, in which players are presented with several cards – a face-up card for the dealer and another three or four options that players should choose from. These several cards are face-down and when players pick one of them, it compares to the dealer’s card. The higher card wins, of course. If players win, the bonus feature either doubles their winnings from the current round or rewards them with a cash prize. If they lose, they return to the base game without winning anything.
This is an interesting bonus feature that is not commonly used and quite rare to find. It is typically used as an added bonus to a free spin (or multiple free spins) that has been triggered in the base game. It starts with the free round, which is automatic and runs with the same bet placed by the player in the main round. Once the free spin ends, the game pays out any winning combinations as in a conventional free round.
Then, the reels rotate 90 degrees, while the paylines remain the same. This could form a new combination of symbols and players receive another payout. The rotation of the reels continues for two more times until they return to their initial position. This exciting rotating reels round gives players four opportunities to win per spin and is certainly among the best special features you can find in video slots.
Bonus Games Based on Skill
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I have noticed that some slots offer the option to purchase the bonus game. Is this option worth it?
It depends on your luck. Slots with the Bonus Buy feature may be quite risky as this option typically costs several times your original bet per spin amount. You may see features that cost 30x, 50x, or even more times your bet size. Needless to say, the winnings you land during a bonus feature may not come even close to the amount you have spent on triggering the feature instantly. Nevertheless, if you do not mind the high risk and the potential loss of money due to the Bonus Buy feature, you might actually find great value in this type of slot variation. Although pricey, this feature will allow you to instantly start the bonus game, which may turn out to be extremely rewarding and compensate you for your extra purchase.