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Cascading/Falling Reels

Online slots used to be so simple: the reels spun, the paylines lined up, and winnings were paid out if you matched consecutive winning symbols.

A new generation of social games has led to a change of style in slots. Boring old-fashioned reels just won't cut it anymore. That's why Falling Reels are so popular.

What Are Falling Reels?

Like Candy Crush or Bejeweled, Falling Reels is a feature where the symbols simply fall into place on the reels rather than the reels spin in traditional fashion. They are still governed by a Random Number Generator, however, meaning that every spin is governed by set algorithms which decide where symbols will fall.

Falling Reels goes by other names, depending on the developer - Cascading Reels, Rolling Reels etc - but in general there are two features that will happen.

First, if a winning combination is formed the symbols will explode and vanish from the screen. The symbols positioned above the payline on the reels will then drop down to replace them. If a new winning combination is formed, this will also disappear, and the process carries on until no winning combo is formed.

Where Can I Find Them?

Falling Reels slots can be found at most online casinos, while the design of some slots make the feature ideal for mobile users.

Falling Reels/Cascading Reels have only been around for a couple of years, and the jury is still out as to whether they benefit players. Certainly, a series of winning combos can massively increase a player's winnings - but are they just fuelling addiction?

The biggest problem with the feature is going through a barren spell. It's important, then, to test out Falling Reels games for free at to see if it's worth a punt for real cash.

Benefits of Falling Reels

Bigger Excitement: With consecutive wins, the action can be crazy. If you're lucky, you can effectively hit five winners in a row for the price of one.

Prize Multipliers: Multiplier trails not only award you for hitting consecutive wins, but also increase your prize multiplier after every spin.

Extra Chance of Hitting Scatters and Bonuses: With most Falling Reels games, you'll still be able to trigger free spins or bonus rounds by landing Scatters. Any Wilds you land will also be included in your wins.

Better Graphics and Animation: Most games featuring Falling Reels feature some of the best 3D graphics and animation. It's another reason to hunt out the games.

Different Types of Falling Reels

Since the original falling reels feature was introduced, most developers have cottoned on to their appeal. Although every developer has trademarked their own feature, they work in more or less the same way.

Cascading Reels

Developer: WMS / Barcrest

One of the original falling reels features was WMS's (Williams Interactive) Cascading Reels. Symbols drop down the screen to form winning lines. They then disappear to form new combos, and new combos keep on being formed until the wins stop.

Barcrest also pioneered the feature, known on their slots as 'Cascade Reels'. With each winning cascade, the multiplier increases from 1x to a maximum 10x.

Example Slot:
Invaders From the Planet Moolah - Part of the Innovation series, Invaders From the Planet Moolah features a Free Spins bonus which kicks in if the player hits four or more consecutive wins using Cascading Reels. 'Clumped', or Stacked, Wilds also appear during the bonus round.

Rolling Reels

Developer: Microgaming

Popularised by the developer's ice hockey-themed 'Break Away' slot, Microgaming's own take on the feature is Rolling Reels. The newer Football Star features many of the same elements, like a prize multiplier.

Example Slot:
Break Away - Break Away introduces a prize Multiplier Trail in the bonus game which increases the player's prize on every consecutive winner. A progressive multiplier sits on top of the reels, running from 2x to 3x, 4x, 5x and 10x. The more consecutive wins you hit, the higher the multiplier goes.

Avalanche Reels

Developer: Cryptologic / NetEnt

Both Cryptologic and NetEnt have their own versions of the falling reels feature. NetEnt's tend to have 'Free Falls' (as in the 3d slot, Elements: The Awakening) attached. In that game, four or more consecutive 'Avalanches' triggers 10 free spins. Expanding Wilds also appear during the game.

Example Slot:
Bejeweled 2 - Based on the classic online puzzle game, Bejeweled 2 is, on the face of it, a normal 5-reel online slot. However, Cryptologic keep their 'Avalanche Reels' for the bonus game which is triggered by three or more bonus Scatters on the reels.

When this happens the player is transported to a bonus screen made up of an 8x8 grid of jewels. Vertical and horizontal lines of matching symbols will disappear from view and are replaced by the symbols above.

Tumbling Reels

Developer: BetSoft/IGT

BetSoft and IGT have pioneered Tumbling Reels, IGT with their massively popular Da Vinci Diamonds and Pixies of the Forest slots, BetSoft with newer 3D games like Sugar Pop which play more like social media games.

Unlike other developers, IGT's Tumbling Reels doesn't generally feature a multiplier after every winning spin. BetSoft's do, however, with the Aztec-themed Rook's Revenge a classic example.

Example Slot:
Sugar Pop - Why take the cascading reels feature and apply it to slots when you can just make a gambling slot based on the classic Candy Crush itself? That's what BetSoft did with Sugar Pop.

Part of its eye-popping 3D range, Sugar Pop features a 5x5 grid full of juicy sweet symbols. To fit in with the social game theme, there's even a 'Game Score' bar and 'levels' that the player can progress through (the further you progress, the more multipliers you can earn).

Both vertical and horizontal combinations pay out, and disappear from the screen when formed. Bonus wins can be added with 'Special Candies' which appear at random on the reels. Meanwhile, a randomly-triggered 'Lollipop' feature rearranges the symbols at random to form new combos.

Collapsing Reels

Developer: Playtech

Example Slot:
Hot Gems - A fairly basic 5-reel slot, Hot Gems features two separate 'Collapsing Reels' features: one in the base game and one in the bonus round.

The base game is fairly standard: symbols fall into place and winning lines disappear to be replaced by the symbols above. However, if you trigger the Free Spins round you win 15 free games with a Collapsing Reels multiplier attached. The multiplier trail begins at 1x and progresses up to 5x with every consecutive winner.

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