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Megaways: What Are They?
While most online slots tend to have no more than 200 or so paylines, many of BTG’s slots run on the firm’s Megaways engine, which gets ride of paylines and replaces them with an exciting gameplay mechanic, providing you with more ways to win.
The first slot built on a Megaways engine was BTG’s Bonanza, which was released back in December 2016 and quickly became a hit. But what makes Megaways so special?
How Do They Work?
The first thing you should understand about Megaways slots is that the number of ways to win can vary with each spin and this is all because of the symbols.
The symbols present on a Megaways slot can vary in height and can take up either one to seven spaces on the reels, this means that each reel can have a different number of symbols from two to a maximum of seven. In addition, the symbols all act as scatters which means matching adjacent symbols running from the leftmost reel to the right form winning combinations.
The number of symbols present in each reel affects the number of ways you can win, causing the number of ways to win to change with every single spin. For example, landing the maximum seven symbols on each reel in Bonanza Megaways will give you up to 117,649 ways to win while landing a mixture of symbols can give you more or less than 3,528 ways to win. It all depends on the number of symbols that land on your reels.
What’s more is that games like Bonanza will show you how many ways of winning the current spin has so you know exactly what’s happening. Combine this exciting gameplay mechanic with several fun bonus features and you have a recipe for success.
Big Time Gaming Megaway Slots
BTG has developed a wide range of slot games, but none are more popular than their games that are built on the Megaways engine. Since launching Bonanza in 2016, their first Megaways slot, Big Time Gaming has continually developed and releases other Megaways slots.
At the time of writing, Big Time Gaming’s most popular Megaway slots include Extra Chilli, White Rabbit, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Dragon Born, Holy Diver, Queen of Riches, and Starquest. So let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Bonanza Megaways is the slot that put BTG on the map. Launched back in December 2016, the slot became hugely famous for being the first of its kind to offer up to 117,649 ways to win, which was huge at the time. It also became popular due to its high-quality graphics, stunning soundtrack and its fun bonus features.
Bonanza uses a five-column reel displayed on what appears to be the edge of a cliff. The game’s symbols include purple, red, blue and green gems as well as the generic letters and numbers. Above the reels are four mine carts which each add an additional symbol to the second, third, fourth and fifth reels.
The game features a wild symbol, represented by dynamite, which substitutes for all symbols except the scatter. Landing a wild as part of a winning combination will cause it to explode and clear any nearby symbols.
The game also uses reactions as every winning combination causes a reaction where symbols explode and are replaced by new ones falling from above. In addition, four new minecarts slide across the screen with every spin.
There are four GOLD scatters, each symbol displaying a letter from the word. Landing four of these in one spin will trigger the Free Spins feature, rewarding you with 12 free spins. You will then be taken to a new screen deep inside the mines.
During this feature, landing additional scatters will reward you with more free spins. Landing three will reward you with five free spins and landing four will reward you with 10 free spins.
If you like the sound of Bonanza Megaways but don’t want to commit and spend any real money, you can always try the free-play version! Some online casinos allow you to demo the game in order to learn the mechanics and decide whether you enjoy it.
White Rabbit Slot
White Rabbit was another hugely popular Megaways slot from Big Time Gaming. Based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland novel, the online slot features up to 16,807 ways to win and symbols based on characters from the story and the reels themselves are set in the fantasy land of Wonderland.
Like Bonanza, the slot is comprised of five reels which all display symbols of various shapes and sizes. While playing, you’ll spot symbols including the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, Tweedledee and Tweedledum as well as red, blue and green gems and letters and numbers.
Alice herself is the wild symbol, appearing on the second, third and fourth reels. Alice helps to substitute for all other symbols excluding the scatter, cupcake and feature drop symbols.
The Caterpillar is a bonus feature that is randomly triggered during the base game, adding bonuses and bonus wilds to the reels to help you create more winning combinations. When the Caterpillar feature is triggered, it will blow smoke onto the reels, adding multipliers or wild symbols.
The bonus wilds increase the value of any winning combination its part of with a x2 or x3 multiplier. However, the scatter and feature drop symbols are exempt from this feature.
The White Rabbit symbol acts as the scatter, appearing only on the second, third and fourth reels. Landing three White Rabbit scatters will trigger the Free Spins feature and reward you with 15 free spins. When this happens, you’ll be taken to a brand new screen featuring a new reel.
This feature includes two new symbols not found in the base game. When you land the cupcake symbol, it is replaced by two new symbols and increases the number of symbols on that reel by one, a gameplay mechanic known as extending reels.
Once you’ve extended the reels to a maximum height of 12, you’ll retrigger the Free Spins feature and receive anything between 3 to 15 free spins. When this happens, the tall reel will transform into the Queen’s Reel with extra Red Queen and wild symbols. You can retrigger the Free Spins feature up to five times.
It’s important to note that with the extended reels and maximum of 12 symbols per column, the number of ways to win can increase up to 248,832 which is huge.
Meanwhile, the feature drop gives you the opportunity to buy the Free Spins feature at any time. It can either be bought for the price displayed underneath the Feature Drop button or if the price is reduced to a zero balance.
This is done by collecting Feature Drop symbols which look like gold coins. The bigger the symbol, the more the Feature price will drop.
White Rabbit Free Play
All of the game’s special features and Megaways reels help make it more fun to play. However, if you’re still unsure about it, you can always play a white rabbit demo at most online casinos which is completely free to play.
Websites such as Casumo Casino allow you to try out games for free so you can decide whether you actually like them or not before spending any money!
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Slot
The Who Wants To Be A Millionaire online slot is another game developed by Big Time Gaming on their popular Megaways engine. Launched in November 2018, the slot is based on the popular UK game show of the same name and features 117,649 ways to win along with several exciting bonus features.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Megaways slot takes a lot of inspiration from Bonanza as it is comprised of six reels and features an additional fourth row underneath the main reels, adding additional symbols to help you make more combinations.
The game features symbols which include purple, red, blue and green gems as well as letters and numbers. Each winning combination sparks a reaction where symbols vanish and are replaced by new falling symbols from above on the main reel and from the right on the extra bottom reel.
The wild symbol, represented by a question mark, helps substitute all other symbols except the scatter, which is represented by the gameshow’s logo.
Landing three scatter symbols will trigger the Free Spins feature and reward you with eight free spins. Players will be presented with the Hot Seat bonus round where you can gamble the free spins and earn more by selecting a random letter (A, B, C or D) or click the ‘Walk Away’ button and use your eight free spins.
If you’re successful, you’ll move up a rung on the free spins board. Keep guessing correctly and you can win up to 50 free spins but if you fail to select the correct letter, you’ll lose your free spins. Luckily, rungs two and seven are safety nets and will allow you to keep your 10 and free spins even if you fail the gamble. When gambling your free spins, you’re given a lifeline which are:
50/50: Two incorrect answers are removed
Phone A Friend: The most likely answer is revealed
Ask The Audience: All answer codes are revealed
Meanwhile, the free spins round features an unlimited multiplier which starts at one and increases with each reaction. In addition, you can collect even more free spins by landing three additional scatters, rewarding you with four free spins, or landing four additional scatters, rewarding you with eight free spins.
Return To Player
Return to Player percentages (RTP) is a value that tells you the percentage of all the wagered money a slot will pay back to players over a long period of time. For example, if you make one hundred £1 bets on a slot that has an RTP percentage of 96%, the game should pay back £96 over a period of time.
It’s important to understand that RTP is calculated over a long period of time and includes multiple players. So even if you do make one hundred £1 bets on a game, it’s unlikely you’ll get your £96 back.
In addition, many people assume that because there are more ways to win in Megaways slots, the RTP also increases. However, the RTP percentages for these games actually stays similar to traditional online slots as it still follows the same rules and utilises a random number generator (RNG).
Megaways Slot RTP
The RTP of Big Time Gaming’s slots can differ dramatically so we thought it’d be great to make a note of their return to player percentages.
- StarQuest: 96.90%
- Queen of Riches: 96.90%
- Extra Chilli: 96.82%
- Holy Diver: 96.54%
- Who Wants To Be A Millionaire: 96.24%
- Dragon Born: 96%
- Bonanza: 96%
The above list shows the RTP percentages of some of Big Time Gaming’s most popular Megaways slots. You can see that the return to player rate here is almost the same as those found on other popular slot games such as Starburst (96.1% RTP), Immortal Romance (96.86%), Aloha! Cluster Pays (96.42%) and so many more.
Note: It’s important to understand that the RTP percentage and payouts for licensed games, such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, may be lower as game providers will need to pay a license fee to use the property’s name and/or characters. This doesn’t just apply to Big Time Gaming’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire as it also affects slots based on television shows, movies and even Marvel and DC-based slots.
Big Time Gaming
BTG was founded back in 2011 by a man named Nic Robinson who today remains the CEO. Robinson had been in the online gambling industry since 1996 when he founded New Tech Media which was sold to News Corp and later merged with Orbis to become OpenBet.
The company, which operates from Sydney, Australia, first started out by making games for other developers including Quickfire. However, the firm wanted to create games for themselves. Eventually, they did, releasing several games including Vegas Dreams (June 2013), Feathered Diamonds (June 2013), Frenzy Slot (August 2013) and so many more.
Today, Big Time Gaming is known for their megaways slots and has become one of the most popular game providers, almost as well-liked as Microgaming and NetEnt. Their Extra Chilli and Bonanza Megaways slots broke records and topped the European iGaming charts. More recently, Big Time Gaming has begun licensing out its Megaways engine, allowing other software providers to build their own games with it.
BTG possesses licenses from the UK Gambling Commission (License #38696) as well as the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (License #62A) and the British Columbia (License #205762), making the firm’s games incredibly safe and fair to play.
BTG & Blueprint Gaming
In May 2018, Big Time Gaming signed a deal with slot developers Blueprint Gaming, allowing them to create their own games using Megaways. Several months later, Blueprint Gaming released their Diamond Mine Megaways, a slot which has since become hugely popular.
Since the deal, Blueprint Gaming has gone on to release several other popular Megaway games including Buffalo Rising Megaways, Vikings Unleashed Megaways, Primal Megaways, Irish Riches Megaways and Slots O Gold Megaways.
The firm has also allowed smaller developers such as Relax Gaming, Storm and Silver Bullet studios to use the engine and create their own Megaways slots.