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Megaways is a unique online slots mechanic that offers players a huge range of ways to win. These games, powered by Blueprint Gaming and Big Time Gaming, can feature up to 117649 winning ways during their base games.
These hugely popular games have made quite the impression on slots players across the web, so it’s no wonder we’re seeing so many new Megaways releases, like the Temple of Treasure Megaways slot,Buffalo Rising Megaways and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Megaways.
How Does Megaways Work?
The reason Megaways slots can offer up so many different winning combinations is due to the number of symbols that the reels can accommodate. Each reel can display between 2 and 7 symbols, and some games feature an additional reel along the top of the game to add to the potential winning ways.
You would expect a game with this many potential winning combinations to be quite expensive to play, but that’s not the case in Megaways slots. Players can wager as little as 10p per spin, and most games allow players to bet up to £100. This makes these slots popular for all players across the web, whether they are high rollers or penny slots players.
History of Megaways Slots
The first ever Megaways slot was released in 2016. Dragon Born made its debut in the online casino market, as an exclusive game available only at LeoVegas. It was the first time that an online slot offered players more than 4096 ways to win, allowing players to potential cash in on payouts across over 100 000 winning ways.
In just over two years, Big Time Gaming has launched five more Megaways slots. Eventually, Big Time Gaming licensed the Megaways mechanic to Storm Gaming and Blueprint Gaming – which resulted in the launch of Buffalo Rising and Primal Megaways – and there are many more to come over the next few months.
Take a look at Blueprint Gaming's version of a Megaways slot, Buffalo Rising:
Megaways Feature Drop
Several Megaways Games offer players the Feature Drop function. For a price, players have the chance to place an extra bet (worth 50x or 100x) their stake to trigger the free spins round automatically without having to land the required bonus symbols.
In our investigation, we took a look at Feature Drop in White Rabbit Megaways and Extra Chilli Megaways to determine whether or not it’s worth it to spend money on this function. You can read our results, but the general consensus seems to be that you can earn a pretty good prize by spending the extra cash on the Feature Drop.
Slots developers are constantly on the lookout for the next Big Thing in online gaming, in an attempt to retain their huge customer base and keep players spinning the reels of their favourite games. And no software company has managed to exceed the efforts of Big Time Gaming, a software development company based in Australia, with a reputation for innovation in almost everything that they produce.
Thanks to the clever programmers and developers at Big Time Gaming, Megaways Slots have become the favourite type of slots game for millions of happy online players. Turning the entire gaming mechanic on its head, Megaways Slots do away altogether with the concept of paylines, and even beat the popular 243 Ways To Win formula into touch. That’s because, with Megaways, there’s the potential for up to 117,649 Ways To Win.
Yes, you read that right. It’s not a misprint or a typo. Megaways offers a staggering 117,649 Ways To Win!
The history of Megaways Slots
If you’re a keen slots gaming fan, then you’ll almost certainly be familiar with the Megaways brand, since there are loads of games currently available that feature the mechanic. But perhaps surprisingly, the feature is still incredibly new, having only been launched as recently as 2016 - although the game developers at Big Time Gaming have almost certainly been working on the concept for much, much longer.
The very first title to be released using Megaways was the highly-regarded Dragon Born online slots game. This was a newsworthy event at the time, attracting a great deal of publicity throughout the gaming industry, as until Dragon Born was launched, the maximum number of Ways To Win had topped out at 4,096. But even this was considered ground-breaking at the time, especially when you consider that the earliest examples of slots games in land-based casinos had often relied on one single payline! Some fruit machines and one-armed bandits offered up to three paylines, but it was online gaming that unleashed whole new levels of winning opportunities on an unsuspecting public.
But back in 2016, with the launch of Dragon Born, slots gaming history was being made with the introduction of the new gaming mechanic. Created on Big Time Gaming’s proprietary OMNI HTML5 software platform, the Megaways mechanic was instantly hailed as being one of the biggest and most important innovations within the gaming industry for decades, which proved to be an incredible boost for Big Time Gaming, which was quick to trademark the concept, to prevent other game designers from poaching their idea.
Since then, other software houses have been clamouring to get on board with the Megaways mechanic, so Big Time Gaming has added another string to its already-impressive bow, by licensing the principle, so that other developers can create similar games. And they’re certainly reaping the benefits, as a host of developers are falling over themselves to get on board with Megaways. Blueprint Gaming is one of the main producers of Megaways slots, hot on the heels of Big Time Gaming itself, but other companies are also following suit in their droves. Currently, Red Tiger Gaming, Fantasma Games, Kalamba Games, SG Interactive and NextGen Gaming have all produced Megaways titles, with still more software houses hoping to join the party in the coming months.
In the case of SG Interactive, Megaways is credited with raising the company’s profile, since their popular Battleship Direct Hit game attracted more attention than any of their previous releases, helping to lift the company into the big time.
How does the Megaways mechanic actually work?
When you play the majority of online slots games, you’re usually faced with a number of fixed or variable paylines. With variable paylines you get to decide how many, or how few, to include with each spin of the reels, adjusting your stake accordingly. And since wagers are usually placed according to the number of paylines, the more you select to play with, the greater the amount of your stake. Fixed payline games also tend to operate on a ‘pay per line’ basis, although there’s less need to adjust your stake accordingly, since the number of paylines can’t be altered by the player.
The 243 Ways To Win mechanic offered a new concept in wagering, since rather than lining up symbols on consecutive reels across a payline, there is only a need to match symbols on consecutive reels to achieve a win, with the first instance of the symbol occurring on the leftmost reel, which is standard for most online slots games.
But with the Megaways mechanic, the reels behave altogether differently. Rather than presenting the player with a fixed 5x3 or 5x4 grid, with Megaways there are usually six reels in total, all of which can have random numbers of symbols on them. Usually, the number varies between two and seven, and the player has no ability to influence how many symbols will be in view with each spin.
To achieve a win in Megaways, the player must spin matching symbols onto adjacent reels, as with the 243 Ways To Win mechanic. Symbols don’t need to be touching, but the first symbol must appear on the leftmost reel of the playing area, with subsequent occurrences appearing on consecutive reels. And because the number of rows within each reel is completely variable, this means that the likelihood of achieving a win varies with every single spin.
It’s all down to the maths
Anyone who isn’t even faintly interested in the mathematics of Megaways should skip this section, without feeling that they might be missing out on anything important. That’s because the Megaways mechanic is dealt with automatically by each game’s software, so there’s no need to completely understand the reasoning behind it. You’ll still benefit from the wins, even if you don’t understand quite how the system works, so don’t feel obliged to try to get your head around it if maths really isn’t your thing.
But for those players who have a naturally curious mind, the maths works out something like this:
Assuming that you’re playing a Megaways game with six reels, containing seven symbols in each row, which tends to be the maximum, you simply multiply each reel by the next one.
So, 7 multiplied by 7 gives you 49. Multiply that again by 7 and you get 343. Multiply that by 7 and you get 2,401. Multiply that by 7 and you get 16,807. Multiply that for a sixth and final time, and you arrive at the magic number of 117,649.
So essentially, you’re multiplying 7 six times (always assuming that the game has six reels, of course), to arrive at 117,649.
But do bear in mind that this figure only applies to games with six reels with seven symbols in each reel. And since the whole point of Megaways is that the reels are dynamic, constantly changing the number of available symbols on each reel, this figure represents the absolute maximum number of Ways To Win, whereas in actuality the figure will often be much lower. You may only have two symbols in one reel, for example, and perhaps three symbols in another reel, resulting in fewer Ways To Win.
The magic of Megaways is that the odds are constantly changing, so the excitement never ends. And since the majority of Megaways slots games are created with painstaking attention to detail, often using innovative graphics and sounds and boasting loads of unique features, these types of games have quickly gained a huge online following, with fans eagerly awaiting each new release.
One feature that often seems to go hand in hand with the Megaways feature is Cascading Reels. Also known as Tumbling Reels or Avalanche Reels, this mechanic removes all winning symbols from the playing area, allowing new symbols to drop down from above. This effectively gives the player a free Respin, since new winning combinations can be created from the new symbols, potentially creating some very tempting cash awards.
Top Megaways games to enjoy
The type of game that players enjoy is entirely down to personal taste, but with so much choice available, most keen slots fans are practically guaranteed to find a Megaways slot that will appeal to them. We’ve picked out some of our favourites to get you started, but keep checking back to find out what’s new, as software developers are constantly working on new titles.
The first Megaways slots game ever produced by Big Time Gaming, Dragon Born continues to attract players, thanks to its innovative features.
Set against a background scene of lakes, mountains and valleys that could have been lifted directly off a Game of Thrones film set, Dragon Born offers up six reels of variable rows, containing images of kings, queens, knights, banners and precious jewels.
The Wild Symbol for Dragon Born is a Joker, which can appear stacked to fill an entire reel, greatly enhancing your chances of achieving a win. Players can receive up to two stacked Jokers with each spin, and since each Joker brings multipliers worth up to 7x, the rewards can be highly generous, creating multipliers of up to 49x with a single spin of the reels.
You’ll also find a diamond Scatter Symbol on the reels of Dragon Born, and landing three Scatters will award you 6 Free Spins. Four Scatters will result in 12 Free Spins, five Scatters will earn you 25 Free Spins, and if you’re fortunate enough to land six Scatters with a single spin, you’ll benefit from an astonishing 50 Free Spins! Every extra Scatter that lands during the Free Spins will award one extra spin, so there are plenty of chances to scoop a major prize.
Also from Big Time Gaming, and arguably one of the best known of the Megaways Slots games, is Bonanza. This mining-themed game takes place on a rocky hillside, with a water wheel gently turning to the right of the reels, and a small workman’s hut situated to the lower left of the screen. In addition to the six reels of the game, each of which can contain up to seven symbols, there’s a further horizontal reel at the top of the screen, on which a train carries mining carts containing symbols, so there are even more chances to win big. And just above the horizontal reel is a further window which displays the number of Ways To Win which applies to each spin, making it easy to spot how the Megaways system works.
One of the great attractions of the Bonanza slots game is that it employs Cascading Reels to further the player’s chances of scoring a win. Following any win, the symbols that contributed to it explode, leaving empty spaces, which are filled by new symbols raining down from above. This has the potential to create further winning lines, effectively providing a Respin with every win, so there are plenty of opportunities to amass a nice little prize pot.
The Scatter symbols in Bonanza are large golden nuggets, each containing a different letter. Spell out the word ‘GOLD’ in Scatters, and you’ll be awarded 12 Free Spins on a separate set of reels, deep down inside the mine. Blowing up sections of the mine will result in Multipliers being awarded to your wins, and since you can generate extra Free Spins during the feature, it’s possible to scoop some very big wins during this part of the game.
If you’ve spent some time spinning the reels of Bonanza, then you’ll find the experience of playing Extra Chilli eerily familiar. Also created by Big Time Gaming, the developer seems to have taken the entire Bonanza game, changed the theme and turned it upside down to create Extra Chilli, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The main difference is that the horizontal reel has been moved to sit underneath the reels in Extra Chilli, rather than being placed at the top, as it is in Bonanza.
Rather than spelling out the word ‘GOLD’ to trigger the Free Spins bonus round, as is the case in Bonanza, Extra Chilli still offers up gold letters, but in this game you need to spell out the word ‘HOT’ to win your Free Spins. However, if you find that luck simply isn’t on your side, there’s also an option to purchase the feature, with the current price displayed to the right of the reels. This is great if you’re desperate for some Free Spins, and even better if you’re playing for free, since there’s no actual financial cost to you at all! But of course, the downside is that you won’t be able to benefit from any of the money that you win during your Free Spins either.
You might want to dose yourself up with anti-seasickness medication before launching the Vikings Unleashed game from Blueprint Gaming. That’s because the action takes place on a Viking ship that’s sailing through choppy waters, so the horizon dips and rises in a highly authentic manner!
Across the reels you’ll find a collection of marauding Vikings and their magician, hell-bent on discovering new lands to plunder and take for their own. A stirring background soundtrack adds to the authenticity of the theme, and since Viking games are proving particularly popular at the moment, Megaways fans are likely to want to try their hand at spinning the reels.
You’ll find Wilds and Scatters in this game, which features six main reels and one further horizontal reel across the top of the reels. Once again, this game operates on the Cascading Reels principle, so every win results in the winning symbols being removed from the reels, allowing new symbols to take their place and possibly create more wins for you. There’s a Free Spins round too, achieved by collecting Scatter symbols.
Rather than using the standard 6x7 grid used by the majority of Megaways titles, Temple Tumble from Relax Gaming uses a 6x6 grid format, so it offers a potential 46,656 Ways To Win. And the game also bucks the usual Megaways trend by using fixed-size symbols too, creating the Megaways mechanic by leaving some of the symbol spaces empty with each spin.
You’re taken deep into the heart of the Aztec jungle for Temple Tumble, where you have to cross fiercely hot deserts, wrestle with tigers, steer clear of snakes and ford rivers to reach the lost temple, in search of untold riches. The game takes place in the entrance to a ruined temple, where Cascading Reels in the form of stone blocks come crashing down from above, to create an exciting and immersive game.
Clear all the blocks with the Cascading Reels mechanic, and you’ll be allowed to venture further into the temple, where you’ll be granted 6 Free Spins. Here you are allowed to choose which bonus you would like, each of which offers its own unique rewards, so you can tailor the gameplay according to your playing style. If you thrive on high-risk, high-stakes gaming, then you’ll want to choose the Multiplier option, or if you’re a little more cautious you may prefer to choose the Extra Spins and Multipliers combined. Or you could play it much safer and just go for Extra Spins, which gives you a greater chance of winning a prize, although the sums involved will be lower than for the other two options.