Learn about the Cascading Reel Slots

Learn about the Cascading Reel Slots

Cascading reel slots have grown in popularity in recent years, ever since the creation of the first Megaways slot in 2017. Cascading reels now appear in a variety of game systems adding a new dynamic to the online slot formula. These slot games have the potential to create multiple winning combinations with one spin as symbols tumble down the reels to replace old ones.

Carry on reading to learn all about cascading reels with Gambling Zone.

How do Cascading or Tumbling Reels Slots work?

Cascading reels may also be called tumbling, swooping, or avalanching reels. Although these terms differ depending on which game developer has made the title, the main thing to remember is that on a core level, they all do the same thing.

When a player chooses to spin on a cascading reel slot and a winning combination of symbols is made, usually 3 or more, the winning symbols will drop off or disappear from the reels. If there are any remaining symbols above then they will drop down into their place, and any gaps will be filled by brand new symbols that fall down from the top of the reels.

With the addition of these new symbols and the changing of position of others, the chances are that another winning combination could be made. If this is the case, then the steps above take place again, and again, until no more winning combinations can be made. At this point, the spin ends, and the player receives a payout for all winning combinations made during the spin.

Something you may also note when exploring slots with the cascading reel function is that a first glance, the paytable usually looks underwhelming, with payouts starting at 0.1x a player's stake and extending to around 8-20x when compared to video slots which can have high-paying symbols starting at 200x or more. However, remember, multiple winning combinations can be achieved out of a single spin, with the total of all combinations being added together for a final payout when no new combinations can be made. Alongside this, a lot of cascading reel games feature increasing multipliers during bonus features, which increase with each cascade.

5 Popular Slot Games With Cascading Reels

Bonanza Megaways

This slot from Big Time Gaming was the first Megaways slot created and when it was released the 6-reel slot with its 117,649 paylines was revolutionary. This gem mining-themed game has a 96% RTP, and is well known for its free spins game which has an infinitely growing multiplier up to a max payout of 10,000x your wager.

The Border

No theme is off limits from developer Nolimit City, as can be seen in their slot called The Border. Taking a tongue-in-cheek stance on the somewhat controversial subject of border control, The Border boasts one of the biggest max wins of cascading slots out there, at 44,288x your wager. This super high volatility slot has cluster pays as well as tumbling reels with an RTP of 96.17%.

Jammin Jars

Jammin Jars has a large fan following thanks to its unique cluster-pays, match-3 format made common by mobile games. Created by developer Pragmatic Play, this 8x8 slot can drop up to 64 symbols on each spin with a chance to win up to 20,000x your bet. Jammin Jars has a hefty 96.83% RTP and features a modern take on the iconic fruit machine, with players aiming to mix fruits together to make delicious jars of jam.


Play ‘n Go’s Reactoonz features cheerful monsters and aliens on its 7x7 reels. With a max win of 4,570x and an RTP of 96.51%, instead of conventional triggers for special features, Reactoonz uses a cluster-pay system and has a charge meter that when filled will activate various bonuses and special features, such as the massive Gargantua wild symbol. Energoonz is another slot featured in this series which is perfect to explore if you already love what the Reactoonz slot has to offer.

Sugar Rush

Sugar Rush from Pragmatic Play is a sweet-themed game that will remind you of a very popular match-3 mobile game. The fun takes place on a 7x7 grid with cascading symbols. With multipliers for making matches in the same position twice or more on a spin, Sugar Rush can award a maximum payout of 5000x your wager. With a generous RTP of 96.50%, there is even an Xmas version of the game for fans of the festive season.

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Popular Cascading Reels Slot Game Developer

More and more slot game developers are breaking into the cascading reels market, with the expectation that we will see more cluster pays mechanism games in the coming year. There are currently hundreds of slots within the Megaways genre alone, and there is no sign that this will slow down any time soon. Almost all developers have a handful of cascading reel slots on their books, but there are some developers that place more of an emphasis on this element and have gained a following from slot fans for doing so. Some of the top names in the cascading reels niche have been discussed below.

Big Time Gaming

When it comes to cascading reel slots, the Australian developer is royalty as they wear the crown for creating the Megaways reel system, first seen in their Bonanza slot. Since then, the team at Big Time Gaming have licensed the Megaways concept to almost all the top developers;  Big Time Gaming is well known for coming up with the Megaways concept, which has become incredibly successful and licensed to other developers. While a lot of developers like to keep the proprietary concepts to themselves, by sharing the Megaways system with other developers, slot fans are now spoiled with hundreds of Megaways games. Outside of the Bonanza slot, popular cascading reel games from BTG include, Monopoly Megaways, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire Megaways.

Blueprint Gaming

Blueprint Gaming was one of the first developers to get a license to create their own Megaways slots from Big Time Gaming. Their top titles include Megaways variants of their existing popular slots series such as Eye of Horus Megaways, and Fishin’ Frenzy Megaways as well as licensed games from TV and cinema such as the Ted slot.

Pragmatic Play

This developer has also dabbled in Megaways features, but they have also taken their own spin on cascading reels with their tumble feature, seen in games like Loki’s Riches. The tumble feature combines cluster pays and cascading reels, meaning that if there are 5 or more symbols grouped together to form a winning symbol, they will all drop off the reels. This makes for more dynamic use of cascading reels than simple horizontal matches and is more similar to popular match-3 mobile games. Other popular titles include Gates of Olympus and more recent releases such as Floating Dragon New Year Festival Ultra Megaways.

Play'n Go

Play ‘n Go helped to pioneer the way for grid slot games, which benefit from being able to use both cluster pay and cascading reels due to their massive size compared to other slots. Play’n Go is a mobile-first development company, and the cluster pay system works particularly well on portrait-oriented phone screens. Reactoonz and Energoonz are some of the biggest titles created by Play ‘n Go, but players also enjoy games like Rich Wilde and the Tome of Madness, and Cash of Command, with the latter forming symbol cascades using cannons at the bottom of the reels in a unique twist on the format.

No Limit City

No Limit City is well known for creating cascading reel slots, as well as for slots with big maximum wins, gaining a reputation quickly even though they only started making titles in 2023. We have already mentioned The Border with its 44,288x max win and unique border control theme, but players also enjoy Devil’s Crossroad with a theme inspired by shady business deals that have payouts of up to 13,180x your bet, and Dead Canary which presents a gritty fantastical take on the classic mining slot that has a max win of 65,000x your wager.

Push Gaming

As we have already learned, Push Gaming is the team behind the Jammin Jars slot game and the sequel Giga Jar which are beloved by many players. The development house was founded in 2010 and since then has pioneered the cluster pay slot model known as Cluster Links, seen in popular titles such as Retro Tapes and Retro Sweets.

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Cascading vs Standard Reel Slots

The major advantage that cascading reels have over standard reel slots is that on a standard reel slot, once you make a winning payout, that is it. While some standard-reel slots may offer additional payouts if more than one winning combination is formed, most will only pay out the combination with the highest value. However, in cascading reels slots any winning symbols are removed from the reels, allowing new ones to drop from the top to take their place. This means that from just one spin you get the potential for multiple winning combinations and payouts rather than just the one or from your fixed number of paylines.

The great thing about this is that the cascade feature does not have any limits assigned to it. It can keep going so long as there are still winning combinations to be made. This can increase the playtime of each reel spin, without the need for a large budget while still keeping players entertained.


Overall, cascading reels have been a truly dynamic way to spice up the video slot scene. Offering players the chance at multiple winning combinations per spin, they can prove very popular, especially among players with smaller budgets hoping to get the most impact out of every wager. This being said, always remember to gamble responsibly and to make sure you pick the right cascading reel slot for you.

If you want to explore top cascading reel slots further, or want to stay up to date with new and exciting cascading reel slot releases be sure to save Gambling Zone to your favourites. We are dedicated to keeping tabs on all the latest releases and slot news, as well as providing informative articles (such as this one) to help players make informed decisions.


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