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All You Need to Know About the Best Cascading Slots in 2023

Cascading reels slots are some of the most popular modern slot types found at online casinos today. Many high-quality software developers include this mechanic in their creations, from NetEnt to IGT and Microgaming.

What Are Cascading Reels Megaways™ Slots?

As the name suggests, cascading reels Megaways™ slots are online slots that implement two very well-known game mechanics: cascading reels, also known as tumbling reels, cascading symbols, avalanches or win reactions, and the Megaways™ engine, the latter of which was first introduced by software developer Big Time Gaming in 2017.

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How Do Cascading Reels Megaways™ Slots Work?

Cascading reels Megaways™ slots combine the best of both worlds, as we mentioned above. Not only do players get the chance to trigger between 2-7 special symbols and get up to 117 649 ways to win on every spin, due to the Megaways™ engine, but they can also create chain reactions or consecutive wins, thanks to the cascading reels mechanic.

Unlike a regular slot, in which the reels spin and then stop to pay out a winning combination, cascading reels slots work slightly differently. When a winning combination gets triggered, the symbols involved either disappear or get blasted off the reels with spectacular animations, only to be replaced by new ones falling from above.

Cascading Reels Slots – A Short History

Cascading reels slots have a very impressive history, having taken the industry by storm since their inception – even more so in 2021. Today, they are among the most well-received and played slot types worldwide.

The reasons for that are obvious – they are statistically more profitable than regular online slots, offer higher RTPs and can even trigger additional prizes for players, such as win multipliers, free spins or bonus games.

The first cascading reel slot invented was the iconic Gonzo’s Quest, brought to us by NetEnt in 2010. Later on, due to the feature’s immense popularity, many other software providers began to implement it, including IGT, Playtech, Quickspin and Microgaming.

Each one of these providers tried to come up with their own original spin on the mechanic by combining it with multipliers, Megaways™ engines or free spins.

For that reason, you will also find it under different names, such as collapsing reels (coined by Playtech), tumbling reels (IGT), swooping reels (Quickspin), rolling reels (Microgaming) or reactions (Big Time Gaming).

The Cascading Reels Mechanic Explained

Although the cascading reels mechanic can be seen in regular slots as well, such as NetEnt’s Gonzo’s Quest, nowadays it is predominantly found in Megaways™ slots, such as Big Time Gaming’s Bonanza Megaways™.

Once the cascading mechanic is triggered by a winning combination, other symbols will drop down to replace the gaps. The mechanic will continue until as no more new winning combinations are formed. For that reason, it is extremely profitable for players, especially when paired with an unlimited win multiplier.

If you are particularly lucky, you can trigger what is called a chain reaction. There have been numerous cases where one spin led to 5 or more winning combinations in a row. In a nutshell, that is the beauty of the cascading reels mechanic – it manages to create the same level of excitement in the base game as well, comparable to that incited by free spins or a bonus game.

Most Popular Slots With Cascading Reels

Slots with cascading reels are launched every year and, on top of the most modern titles by BTG, Blueprint, Skywind and Stakelogic, there are also timeless classics that still maintain the same popularity over a decade later.

Here are our top 3 picks for the most popular tumbling reels slots:

1. Gonzo’s Quest

Gonzo’s Quest is a 5-reel, 3-row video slot with 20 paylines, launched by software provider NetEnt in 2011. It has a medium-high level of volatility and an estimated RTP of 95.97%. It follows the story of a famous Spanish explorer, Gonzo, as he ventures into the golden city of El Dorado. To find those antique treasures buried within, he is helped by 7 different stone symbols.

Gonzo’s Quest was the first slot with the avalanche reels feature, enhanced by a 5x multiplier for every avalanche win in the base game. The game also features wild and scatter symbols and up to 10 free spins with an increasing multiplier during the Free Fall bonus feature.

2. Bonanza Megaways™

Bonanza Megaways™ is one of the most well-known cascading reels Megaways™ slots on the market. Developed by Big Time Gaming and launched in 2020, it features up to 117,649 ways to win and a free spins round with increasing multipliers. Its estimated RTP score is 96% and the game has a great hit frequency of 37.47%.

Players are invited to go mining for gold, all to the tune of a Western soundtrack, as multicoloured gems await on the reels. The slot offers us a reaction feature that blasts winning symbols off the reels to be replaced by new ones – it also remains active during the free spins feature and every explosion increases the multiplier by 1, with no upper limit.

3. Aztec Gold Megaways™

Aztec Gold Megaways™ is another iconic cascading reels Megaways™ slot, launched by iSoftbet in 2019. It offers many things players appreciate in an online slot in a visually appealing package: an ancient Aztec theme, the cascading wins mechanic, up to 117,649 ways to win and an Aztec Gold Cash Respins feature.

Aztec Gold Megaways™ has an RTP of 95.99% and offers a maximum win of 19 200x your stake on a single spin. There are also 3 types of jackpots (mini, major, mega), awarding players with between 30x and 1000x their stake.

Advantages of Cascading Reels

Because win reactions can happen after each and every win, players may prefer cascading reels slots over regular online slots, since the mechanic is easier to trigger. This is particularly the case with some online slots with high volatility, which make it difficult for the player to enter a bonus game or a free spins round organically.

Aside from offering consecutive wins and the chance to unlock multipliers, bonus rounds and hit more profitable symbols such as wilds and scatters, cascading reels also have spectacular animations and visuals to accompany the mechanic, from explosions to symbol destructions.

Lastly, cascading reels slots are a great choice if you want better control over your bankroll. These types of slots can help you recoup losses or stretch your bankroll until you trigger a special feature of a game.

Cascading Reels vs. Regular Reels

On a regular online slot, a winning combination is usually triggered by 3 or more matching symbols on an active payline. Once you get your payout, you have to pay again to keep spinning the reels and try your luck at triggering more winning combinations.

However, on a cascading reels slot, once you match those winning symbols, they will disappear and get replaced by new ones from above. That means that, if these new symbols keep making winning combinations, you don’t have to pay for another spin, and you can get chain reactions and consecutive payouts on a single spin.

Moreover, this mechanic can also make the gameplay feel more alert, similar to playing iconic fast-paced slots like Starburst or Candy Crush.

We explore this in more detail in our Megaways™ slots vs video slots article.

Cascading Reels Megaways™ Slots – RTP, Volatility and House Edge

On average, cascading reels Megaways™ slots have higher RTPs than regular online slots (96% and above), as well as medium-to-high levels of volatility.

However, do keep in mind that some of the more popular cascading reels Megaways™ slots, such as Bonanza Megaways™, Rainbow Riches Megaways™ or Extra Chili Megaways™ , have extremely high levels of volatility. With that in mind, they might not be the best choice for risk-averse players.

With that said, they can and do offer spectacular wins if you’re lucky, even if those wins have a lower frequency. Our advice is to look for cascading reels slots that offer a hit frequency of at least 35-50%, so you'll know that roughly half of your spins in a game session will be successful.

Cascading Slots Free Online & Mobile Play

Because the avalanche mechanic is a very modern one, most slots that implement it use HTML5/JavaScript technology, making them compatible by default with mobile devices (smartphone, tablet) and operating systems (Android and iOS).

Plenty of reputable casinos such as Casimba, King Billy, or All British Casino offer the best cascading slots free online after registration. Non-UK players can also try out dozens of top free cascading slots on the go right here, on this page, such as Aztec Pyramid Megaways™ or Black Gold 2 Megaways™.

Another bonus is that the tumbling reels mechanic looks even more spectacular on a smaller screen, especially if it’s accompanied by explosions or other animations.

How To Choose a Cascading Reels Slot

Although the cascading reels mechanic is one of the most captivating in the industry, visually and also extremely profitable in practice, the presence of this game engine shouldn’t be the sole factor to keep in mind when choosing cascading slots online.

There are additional aspects that matter just as much for your gameplay, such as design, the presence of progressive jackpots, unique bonus games, free spins, the Megaways™ mechanic or unlimited win multipliers.

For example, in slots such as Reel King Megaways™, Megaways™ Jack and Deal or No Deal Megaways™, the cascading reels feature not only boosts your chances of scoring a win, but it also triggers the free spins bonus round. That is why these games offer double the excitement!

In other cases, developers keep things fresh by offering both cascading reels and unlimited multipliers in the same game. They will typically increase by 1x for every winning cascade and, due to the construction of the slot, they can theoretically increase to infinity. A good example would be the quality cascading slot, Wolf Legend Megaways™.

What We Think About Cascading Reels Megaways™ Slots

There are few features that are as well-received and popular in 2021 as cascading reels. Coupled with the world-class Megaways™ engine from Big Time Gaming and other extras such as free spins or multipliers, avalanche slots can offer incredibly engaging gameplay all throughout, along with a huge win potential.

Cascading reels slots give players more entertainment compared to classic slot mechanics, changing the game by offering chain reactions that can lead to consecutive wins. For these reasons, we are eager to see them evolve even more in the following years.

FAQs

Cascading reels is the name of a unique game mechanic in which your winning symbols are replaced by new ones, creating the opportunity for consecutive wins in a single spin. The mechanic can be present in both the base game and the bonus rounds.

Some of the most played cascading reels slots worldwide are Gonzo’s Quest, Extra Chilli Megaways™, Legacy of Gold Megaways™ and Bonanza Megaways™.

The tumbling reels engine was first introduced by NetEnt in 2010 with the launch of their famous Spanish explorer-centric slot, Gonzo’s Quest.

Yes – non-UK players can find a selection of the best cascading reels Megaways™ slots right here, in demo version, straight from your browser. You can also try them from a mobile device, with no downloads necessary.

Casimba and Dream Vegas are solid picks, but we have listed more casinos with cascading slots right here on this page that accept both EU and UK players.

No. Cascading reels do not affect the theoretical RTP score of a slot – however, they can and do create more opportunities for winning combinations.

No, it is not a fixed rule. There are plenty of great online slots with cascading reels that do not have a Megaways™ mechanic as well, such as Gonzo’s Quest, Break Away, Bonanza, Jammin’ Jars, Voodoo Gold or Gems Bonanza.

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Cristina Tudose

Cristina Tudose

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I’ve been writing for the online casino industry for over 2 years now. During this time, I became passionate about player-centric content, especially slot and brand reviews.

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