Cascading Reels in Online Slots: The Feature Explained

Cascading Reels Explained: Top 5 + Full List of Best Paying Games

Cascading, Avalanche, Sweeping, Swooping, Tumbling, Collapsing, Rolling, Falling reels are exactly identical in terms of their meaning. I guess different software providers call this feature differently because of possible copyright issues, causing some confusion among slot players along the way.

Cascading reels (I will stick to this name throughout the article) means that if you have managed to hit some win per payline, then involved paying symbols are going to disappear (often being accompanied by vivid animation). New symbols are going to replace them falling from the top (that’s why this feature is called the way it is). These new fallen symbols might or might not form a new winning per line. This is the whole point of having the cascading reels feature from the players’ perspective.

If newly cascaded symbols produce a new win per line, then they are going to disappear as well. Their place will be taken by a new batch of cascading reels. This is going to continue until there is no win per line hit.

As you have figured out, Cascading reels may transform even small winning into something much bigger.

Best Paying (RTP) Online Slots with Cascading Reels

(Players from United States are welcome)

Elite of Evil: Portal of Gold Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.5 %
Cascading: Yes
Fortune Turtle Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.41 %
Cascading: Yes
Big Bad Wolf Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.35 %
Cascading: Yes
Big Bad Wolf Christmas Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.34 %
Cascading: Yes
Gorilla Gold Megaways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.0 %
Cascading: Yes
Fruit Warp Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.0 %
Cascading: Yes
Jammin' Jars Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.83 %
Cascading: Yes
Extra Chilli Megaways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.82 %
Cascading: Yes
Space Wars Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.75 %
Cascading: Yes
Techno Tumble Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.73 %
Cascading: Yes
The Wild Chase Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.72 %
Cascading: Yes
Hey Sushi Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.71 %
Cascading: Yes
Mayana Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.63 %
Cascading: Yes
Northern Sky Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.57 %
Cascading: Yes
Hades River of Souls Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.56 %
Cascading: Yes
Tickets to the Stars Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.52 %
Cascading: Yes
Twisted Turbine Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.51 %
Cascading: Yes
Wheel of Wonders Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5 %
Cascading: Yes
Mega Bunny Hyperways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5 %
Cascading: Yes
Lucky Fish Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5 %
Cascading: Yes

Full list of cascading reels slots

More on how the Cascading reels feature works


Summing up, the Cascading reels feature comes down to these:

  • First thing first, you have to hit at least some win per line. This is your ticket to the Cascading reels feature.

  • Then, paying symbols that have been involved in the winning combination/s will be blown away. This empty space on the reels will be taken by new symbols which are going to fall from the top. The same gaming mechanics are used in tetris games.

  • Once new symbols have fallen down replacing the disappeared ones, the slot machine is going to evaluate if there is any new win per line. If there is, the slot is going to blast the winning combination symbols again and again, until there is no win per line anymore.

  • Even a small win per line may result in an unexpected big win since cascading can go on and on. Moreover, the coolest part of cascading reels is that a player pays only once (at the start of the spin), but may get quite a few more chances to win for the same price.

Top 5 Cascading reels slots of all time

Gonzo’s Quest (Netent)


Play Gonzo’s Quest for real money

Gonzo’s Quest is a best-seller cascading reels slot. Moreover, the cascading reels boom has started from this slot. So it is definitely worth trying out.

RTP: 95.97% Volatility: Medium-high Free spins: Yes Multiplier: Yes

Maximum possible win: x37,500 of your stake (x2,500 during the base game)

full review

Big Bad Wolf (Quickspin)


Play Big Bad Wolf for real money

The Big Bad Wolf slot has RTP of 97,35% which is much higher than on average on the market. Don’t be misled by its relatively low maximum possible winning as this slot has got medium-high volatility at the same time.

RTP: 97.35% Volatility: Medium-high Free spins: Yes Multiplier: Yes

Maximum possible win: x1,268 of your stake

Full review

Bonanza Megaways (BigTimeGaming)


Play Bonanza for real money

Bonanza is a best-seller from the company that first came with the idea of Megaways slots. It allows us to win really big (x10,000), though keep in mind that it comes at the cost of high volatility level.

RTP: 96% Volatility: High Free spins: Yes Multiplier: Yes

Maximum possible win: x10,000 of your stake

Return of Kong Megaways (Blueprint)


Play Return of Kong Megaways for real money

On top of the cascading reels, Return of Kong Megaways also has the buy bonus game feature. So you can buy free spin rounds for a fixed price (x100 or x150 of your bet per spin).

RTP: 96.03% Volatility: High Free spins: Yes Multiplier: Yes

Maximum possible win: x10,000 of your stake

full review

Jungle Jim El Dorado (Microgaming)


Play Jungle Jim El Dorado for real money

Jungle Jim is not too exciting in terms of maximum possible winning. On the other side, you can expect a relatively smooth gaming experience since volatility level is medium. This is a cool option for those of you who like both cascading reels and not too high volatility (it is rather a rare thing to have both at the same time).

RTP: 96.31% Volatility: Medium Free spins: Yes Multiplier: Yes

Maximum possible win: x3,680 of your stake

full review

Cascading reels’ impact on RTP, Volatility, Winning hit frequency

RTP, Volatility and Winning hit frequency are the main parameters of any online slot.

How does the Cascading reels affect RTP?

The cascading reels feature does not affect RTP of online slots at all. So to speak, you can easily find cascading reels slots with very high RTP (Big Bad Wolf) and with very low RTP (less than 94%). Hence, there is no correlation between the cascading reels feature and RTP.

How does the Cascading reels affect Volatility?

The cascading reels feature definitely makes big wins more likely to happen. What does it imply? The slot has to make up for cascading reels payouts during the base game round. As a result, online slots with the cascading reels tend to be more volatile as a rule of thumb. However, this is just a general tendency. It does not mean that there are no low volatility slots with the cascading reels.

How does the Cascading reels affect Winning hit frequency?

I would say, the cascading reels feature has a great impact on the winning hit frequency. Why? Because with the cascading reels in place, we basically have a situation when you can spin the reels twice (or more) for the same price. It means that a winning can not happen too often. Thus the hit frequency in cascading reels slots is not likely to exceed 25-30%.

Cascading reels and multipliers

Some cascading reels slots apply a multiplier to the winnings derived from cascaded reels. In other words, a slot does not multiply base game winnings, but if the reels happened to cascade, only then it does multiply the winning by some value (usually not too high, x2-x3 multiplier is what you can normally expect).

Types of cascading reels slots

In terms of how many times it can cascade:

  • unlimited number of times (in the majority of online slots with the cascading reels feature it works this way)

  • the reels can cascade only once per spin

In terms of which symbols are allowed during the cascading round:

  • some symbols may appear exclusively during the cascading round (for example, additional Scatters)

  • there is no difference in symbols during the cascading round (exactly the same symbols appear as if it was the base game round)

  • wilds or scatters may be excluded during the cascading round

Pros and cons


  • makes gaming experience much more thrilling

  • additional opportunity to win big


  • higher volatility than on average since additional spin winnings must come from somewhere

  • lower hit frequency as a result of higher volatility

Is the Cascading reels feature popular?

The cascading reels feature has been around for a decade, and since then it has acquired a lot of popularity among casino players. Quite a few software providers implement the cascading reels in their new slot games nowadays. Though it may be called a bit differently:


Cascading reels is a very cool feature of online slots as it brings much more fun to the table. However, cascading reels does not make online slots better or worse in terms of RTP (how much they pay), so please keep it in mind. Cascading reels is all about making the gaming experience more intriguing for players, not more profitable.