So many slot machines out there, with an incredible variety of themes, coin values and jackpots, and so many different bonuses, tie-ins, side games and features to keep in mind… or are they? As a video slot machines fan, I have observed that, although they are known by many names, slot machine bonuses are basically the same. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, as the immortal British playwright would say. Let’s review the basic bonuses offered by slot machines.
This is a bonus feature that is available on almost every slot machine out there, be it online, offline, video or otherwise. As its name indicates, the Free spins bonus means free spins. Most of the times the free spins are awarded to the player by different bonus games, in different numbers. The machine will usually automatically proceed with the free spins, collecting all winnings and introducing them in the player’s account at the end.
Most online video slots associate free spins with multipliers, so the winnings accumulated during these spins is much higher than usual.
Usually met during free spins, but there are exceptions – some slots offer multiple payouts for winning combinations formed using at least one Wild symbol. As their name indicates: multipliers will multiply the standard payout of a winning combination by a certain factor.
This is the only bonus category that offers a real variety when it comes to slot machines. These side games and tie-ins that are triggered either randomly, or by certain combinations of symbols, can lead to the highest payouts during slots games – some of them may even trigger the progressive jackpot, if any.
Most side games I have seen in classic slots are simple high/low or red/black guessing games, but they can take one of several forms – wheels of fortune, memory games and such. I have even seen one slot (with a backstory) where the main character had to shoot her archenemy with magic bolts in order to free a small animal from a cage. The possibilities are endless.
Some types of slot machines, usually the ones known as ‘fruit machines’, offer some special kinds of bonuses, like holds (the possibility to block one or more reels for the next spin), nudges (the possibility to push one or more reels in one direction to form a winning combination) or bonus trees (most of the times on real life slot machines – a skill side game where the player has to stop a running light on one of the bonus amounts or multipliers placed vertically).
Bonuses, side games and tie-ins can make the slots not only more lucrative, but also more enjoyable – a game without such special features can get boring quite fast.