When someone tells you that there is good news and bad news, most people tend to ask for the bad news first. Well this week, we are going to be looking at ten different features that you can find on some of the top casino slot games in the world today, such as at BetMGM Casino, BetRivers Casino and more.
Only, the first article will look at five features which will drive you mad with frustration at times. Sure, they can also lead to some sizeable wins, but often they can leave players ready to launch their smartphone or tablet into the stratosphere due to how annoying they can be.
The second article this week will look at the flip side of that coin, five features which when you see they have been included on a slot game, you know that they are going to tick all the right boxes for you when you play!
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How of course, we must add a caveat here. Game designers don’t add these frustrating features on purpose! They may well operate in a way that frustrates players, but the payoff with these features is that on the rarer occasions when they go well for you, they can offer you a sizeable cash prize, or some other bonus.
However, having now played slots for over 30 years and sampled pretty much every type of bonus feature that a slot game manufacture can throw at you, I’ve quickly learned to realise which features are the ones that I find tend to make a game more enjoyable, and which are more frustrating.
Note, I used the terms enjoyable and frustrating there – not the most profitable, or the ones that will eat big chunks out of your bankroll!
Anyway, let’s lead off on our five frustrating fruity features, with this little gem.
Ordered Scatter Symbols
Most of the slots I have played that use Scatter symbols to trigger one or more in game bonuses, tend to do so with a little leniency for players. By that I mean, you don’t need to land the Scatters on one of the pay lines in the game in order to trigger a win, but you can land them in any position across the reels.
Usually, you need to land three or more Scatters across the reels in any position to trigger a bonus, some games may offer you a small prize (such as your stake back) as a consolation prize for landing two Scatters. Although not universal, this is generally how many modern slot games work.
However, there are a small number that eschew this and instead, for the user to land Scatter symbols in the same order and position as standard winning pay lines in the game. So you need to land them at least on the first three reels and on a pay line in order to trigger a win.
I cannot tell you how frustrating this is when you start a game, land three Scatters, or sometimes even more, across the reels, but because it is not on a pay line on the first three reels, you don’t trigger a bonus.
This is exacerbated somewhat by being conditioned by games that do offer a bonus when you land three Scatters anywhere, but what makes this all the more annoying is that games that don’t offer this, will often see you land three or four Scatters, but they won’t all be on a pay line from left to right.
Landing three or more Scatters on a slot happens rarely enough as it is, making it even less likely does seem a little unfair on players.
Another bugbear of mine tends to come on very low variance slot games, where you seem to win on a very high proportion of spins, so you think the game is being very kind to you. You keep spinning, you keep winning and then you click spin and, wait, what’s that? You’re out of funds? How did that happen when you were winning?!
This is achieved by games offering what I call Micro Wins. Sure, you get all the bells and whistles of a big money win, but the actual amount you get back from a spin is often far less that what you are gambling. So for example, if you are playing for $0.50 per spin, then a micro win for me would be any win of $0.10 or less per spin.
That’s because on these type of ‘wins’, you are still losing 80%+ of your stake on that spin. That isn’t a win, that is just a slightly smaller loss!
This is why keeping an eye on your bankroll whether you are winning lots, or not winning at all, is always a key skill to learn when slot gaming.
Post-Win Gamble Feature
This may be a controversial selection, as the gamble feature has been a feature of many slots for a long, long time now, but I do think that it is essentially just added on as a temptation for greedy players, and to offer the casino a chance to win back the winnings the game has just awarded you.
It’s so tempting to think that you could use the gamble feature to turn a small win into a much larger one, but the key thing to remember when thinking about this, is that to do that you are going to have to win several times in order to achieve this (or risk a very large win once). The casino only needs you to lose one of those gambles for it to claim everything that you have won previously.
I seldom use the gamble feature now and I only ever use it on wins where I have been awarded back less than my stake. If I gamble that amount up so that it matches or exceeds my stake, I always cash out.
My reasoning here is that I have already lost on that ‘win’ as the win is less than my stake. So I am going to gamble with money I have already effectively ‘lost’ on that spin, to try and break even.
Any wins at the same level as my stake, or higher, I refuse to gamble with. Some casino gamers may baulk at that suggestion, but it is a method I have used for some time now.
Non-Paying Blocker Symbols
An issue that I have come across on, thankfully, relatively few games are symbols that are on the reels, but which serve no benefit to the player in terms of offering them a chance to win any cash. I call these ‘blocker’ symbols, simply because when they appear on the reels, especially the first three reels, they effectively block your chances of landing a win.
There are relatively few slots that use these symbols and they tend to be on more specialised and unusual slot games, but there is nothing more frustrating than hitting spin without realising the game has these symbols, seeing several line up across the reels, then see absolutely zero payout coming your way.
Slot games are, by their very design, going to be in the favor of the casino. Adding these symbols to the reels just seems to be adding another level of difficulty in games that are already heavily stacked against the player.
Buy The Feature Slots
This may be a controversial opinion too, but I am not a fan of slots where you can pay a lot of credits in order to buy a chance to play the main bonus feature.
Firstly, the cost to do this is usually very high and secondly, the amount you win when you play the bonus is usually considerably less than what you paid in order to play it.
And on the rare occasion you do make a profit with the bonus round, your natural instinct is to think that the game is being generous, so you will try and play it again to make another profit and usually end up losing any profit you have won, if not more.
However, I also feel that the Buy The Feature bonus robs the feeling of achievement from the player when they trigger the bonus when playing the slot in standard mode. Sure, it may take a fair few spins to unlock, but when you do unlock it, it costs the same amount as a standard spin so the chances are you will make a sizeable profit on the bonus compared to your spend on that spin.
It is that robbing of the sense of achievement that I think the Buy the Feature option takes away from the game and that, to me at least, is a bad thing.
Join me later this week when I’ll bring you details of the five features that I love when playing slots!