The world of slot games has progressed a long way since its humble beginnings of three-reel, single payline fruit machines.
Since the online casino industry was born in the mid-1990s, slots have undergone many evolutions thanks to a combination of increased popularity, both of the game type and of casino in general, and technological evolutions that have allowed slot games to offer features and animations that would have been unthinkable just a couple of decades ago.
One of the most popular features that a slot game can have is actually quite a simple one, and it’s known by a variety of names, including Freefalling Reels and Tumbling Reels, but for the sake of continuity we will use one of the most frequent here, Cascading Reels.
Cascading Reels is a feature that occurs in the base game of a variety of slots, and can lead to big wins if you’re lucky.
In simple terms, Cascading Reels mean that when you pick up a winning combination, the symbols that make up that win will disappear, and the symbols above them will fall into their place. This readjusts the symbols on the reels and allows for more wins to be picked up if new combinations appear on one or more paylines.
This does not count as an extra spin, as the reels have not been spun, meaning that if you pick up a second win, you do so without being charged the set amount you have selected to bet per spin.
Technically, this can happen an unlimited amount of times, so very lucky players may see a plethora of winning combinations come in one after another, as the symbols that make up each individual win will disappear and the Cascading Reels feature will occur again.
Not all slots offer the Cascading Reels feature, but those that do tend to find a certain level of popularity with players thanks to this feature alone.
However, as a fair number of slot games offer a variation on the feature by this point, some will find more success than others.
Instead of you having to play every single slot with this feature to pick your favourite, we have hand-picked a few of the best for you to try out, which we will list here.
Let’s start with one of the most popular online slot games of all time, the first NetEnt slot that went platinum, and the first slot that has been made available as a virtual reality slot by the Swedish software giant.
Based around the journey of main character Gonzo, and taking influence from the legend of Don Quixote, the giant blocks that make up the symbols here shatter when they make up a winning line, to be replaced by those above them.
Taking its lead from popular symbol match games such as Candy Crush Saga, Gemix is a mix of that game type and a slot, making this seven-reel game an instant hit with players.
With a 7x7 grid to play with, you can pick up some huge winning combinations here, and this is further enhanced by the presence of Cascading Reels, which can lead to some incredibly big wins occurring in combination on a single spin.
This is a slot that is unique in its set up, as the reels don’t technically spin here. Instead you get a series of birds that fly in and land on three wires to create a 5x3 grid of symbols.
If you get a winning combination those birds fly off, and instead of being replaced by those above them, a new selection of birds flies onto the screen to take the place on the wires left by those birds which have just evacuated the area.
Microgaming’s Basketball Star has been one of the surprise hits of the iGaming world. A staple of all Microgaming casinos for some time now, this high octane, basketball themed slot offers many ways to win, one of them being Cascading Reels, allowing for multiple winning combinations from a single spin.
The same feature also exists on another similar Microgaming slot based on a different popular sport, Cricket Star.
One of the most insane and beautiful slots around, Esqueleto Explosivo (which, on a side note, is also great fun to say) is a Day of the Dead themed slot that sees various sugar skull headed skeletons adorn the reels.
A multiplier builds up with the Cascading Reels feature here, which means you can pick up some truly Herculean wins if you manage to land a few winning combinations in succession.
Another NetEnt slot with a Cascading Reels feature, this is a sequel to the original Jungle Jim slot.
With a feel that is not entirely dissimilar to the aforementioned Gonzo’s Quest slot, Jungle Jim El Dorado has also taken the base game feature of its popular predecessor.
The second Tomb Raider based slot from Microgaming, Secrets of the Sword sees everyone’s favourite raider of tombs up to her old tricks.
Land a winning combination here to trigger the Cascading Reels feature.
If you are a fan of Cascading Reels, then Energoonz is a slot that you are really going to want to be aware of.
Taking very clear inspiration from Pokémon, Energoonz are little monsters that evolve and grow as the game continues.
There’s an Energy meter that fills up as the Cascading Reels feature sees more and more monsters leave the screen, if you manage a fair few one after the other, multipliers are unlocked, and if you get far enough up the meter and empty enough monsters from the screens you will pick up an extra 1,000 coins on your win, so there’s some gigantic wins available here.
The Cascading Reels features at the slots mentioned above are, for the most part, pretty much the same, although the addition of building multipliers in some definitely adds to their charm.
However, NetEnt have a different feature, that is similar to the Cascading Reels feature, but takes away one of the biggest issues with it.
With the Avalanche feature, if you land a winning combination, all the symbols are removed from the reels, not only those that made up the win, which means that all those pesky non-winning combinations that are not altered in the Cascading Reels feature, and therefore guaranteed not to add any more wins, are taken away.
One of the most popular NetEnt games to utilise the Avalanche feature is Pyramid: Quest for Immortality.
When you land a winning combination on this Egyptian themed five-reel slot, all the symbols will cascade from the reels, to be replaced by an entirely new set, meaning you can land a winning combination in any position on the reels, and if you do, you will then benefit from the feature occurring again, it can do this as many times as you keep landing wins, so there’s big wins here.
Those big wins can become huge thanks to Pyramid: Quest for Immortality having the ability to go as high as a 50x multiplier.
That means that the highest coin win here is a massive 3,600,000 fixed jackpot, which you could technically win, and then win again thanks to the feature.
It should be pointed out that the chances of winning one jackpot are immensely rare, and the possibility of landing further jackpots using the avalanche feature are even more unlikely, but there’s something pleasing about knowing that it would be possible to do so.
Mentioned above are just a small percentage of the slots that exist with Cascading Reels, we would also recommend you check out Da Vinci Diamonds, Cleopatra, Cosmic Fortune, Pixies of the Forest, Golden Ticket, Elements, Cosmic Fortune, and Big Bad Wolf. The list could go on and on, but these, combined with those above, should be enough to get you started.
There is no doubt that there is a huge amount of benefit to be found from a slot that offers a Cascading Reels feature, but don’t be fooled into thinking that a slot with this feature is automatically more likely to pay out well than one without it.
Ike with all online casino games, make sure you put your research in first, ensure that the slot you are considering playing on comes from a trusted software developer, and check out the RTP (return-to-player) which is a good indication of how lucky you are to pick up one win, let alone a combination of the.
You could play a Cascading Reels slot for hours and never see more than a single win happen, so make sure you have a spending limit set out in advance, and you’ll be fine.
That being said, if you are playing a Cascading Reels slot, and you do manage to land a few winning combinations in succession from just a single spin, it can be a truly joyous experience, and one that is possible (although far from guaranteed) at all the slots listed in this article, as well as a whole lot more!