As the slot gaming industry grows and evolves, developers continue to bring creative ideas to the reels to entertain and captivate players. Storylines, visuals, and novel game mechanics are the factors that will make or break a game. Some game mechanics are so groundbreaking that they become the industry standard, like cascading reels and 243 ways.
Now, Megaways is the new style of slot gaming making waves in a big way. Gaining popularity as an exciting alternative way to play, it revamps the 243 ways slot design. A fascinating take on what has become a classic slot game mechanic, Megaways is poised to become a commonplace feature like those game-changing gimmicks before it.
Developed by Australian-based development studio Big Time Gaming, Megaways multiplies winning combinations and takes payline possibilities beyond six-figures. To understand this style of payline multiplier, we can look at 243 ways slots, a sort of predecessor to Megaways.
Do the Math
Created by developer Microgaming, the 243 ways reel was first used in the 2009 slot game “Burning Desire”. Classic slots have paylines running straight across, from left to right, and three matching symbols mean a payout. In 243 ways, however, specific combinations of matching and adjacent symbols on the 5×3 reel grid will result in a payout. This way, winning combinations are a little more complex than more straightforward reels, but there are more ways to win–243 ways!
Other developers have expanded on this idea as this mechanic has become more popular in slots, increasing the possible combinations up to 720 ways, and 1,024 ways. Learning to read the payout for configurations like these can get complicated and it may take time to learn the layouts. But being able to spend less for the chance to win more frequently generally makes slots that use mechanics like these more popular.
It All Adds Up
If 1,024 ways to win is a lot of math, Megaways is astronomical. The majority of Megaways games have at least six reels with 2-7 different symbols of varying heights. So the number of winning combinations comes out to 117,649 ways–depending on the game.
The mismatched heights of the symbols are what really sets Megaways apart. They can be hard to interpret at first, but most Megaways slots have displays designed to help keep track of the symbols and winning combinations. All the unconventional sizes make for a visually captivating layout and, much like cascading reels, keep gameplay alluring.
A Winning Combination
The first Megaways game from BTG was a slot game called “Dragon Born” released in 2016. Since then, they’ve continued to churn out several Megaways hits like “Holy Diver”, “White Rabbit”, and “Bonanza”. In a few short years, these unique games have caught the attention of other developers who have started to pay BTG for licensing to make their own Megaways games.
Blueprint Gaming, Pragmatic Play, and Merkur are just some of the developers behind the best Megaways slots available today. With the popularity of Megaways still rising, we’re sure to see even more of these games appear on the market in the years to come, especially as online casino revenue continues to grow.
While BTG seems to have perfected its Megaways game methods within the past four years, the opportunity for others to jump on an upward trend has had some interesting outcomes in the world of game development. One of the most notable uses of the Megaways gameplay is in “Laser Fruit” from Red Tiger Gaming, where there are a total of 60,446,176 possible winning combinations.
If cascading reels and 243 ways opened up new doors in the slot industry, Megaways has sprinted through those doors and taken developers to entirely new places. Where 243 ways toyed with the idea of subverting traditional paylines, Megaways’ varying reel sizes playfully did away with them altogether. This unique game mechanic questions what makes a slot game and assures developers that players are not only interested in games that go outside the grid, so to speak, but that those games can achieve popularity in the industry.