Cascading Reels in Online Slots: The Feature Explained

Best Cascading Reels Slots (Highest RTP/Payouts): Guide + Full List

Last updated: August 29, 2022

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% (Great!)
Max win: x5,000
Cascading: Yes
Fortune Turtle Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.4% (Great!)
Max win: x10,000
Cascading: Yes
Big Bad Wolf Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.4% (Great!)
Max win: x1,268
Cascading: Yes
Big Bad Wolf Christmas Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.3% (Great!)
Max win: x1,268
Cascading: Yes
Gorilla Gold Megaways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.0% (Great!)
Max win: x20,000
Cascading: Yes
Fruit Warp Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.0% (Great!)
Max win: x11,000
Cascading: Yes
Jewel Race Halloween Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.0% (Good)
Max win: x1,500
Cascading: Yes
Jewel Race Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.0% (Good)
Max win: x1,500
Cascading: Yes
Candy Burst Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.0% (Good)
Max win: x15,000
Cascading: Yes
Jewel Race Winter Online Slot Logo
RTP: 97.0% (Good)
Max win: x1,500
Cascading: Yes
Jammin' Jars Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.8% (Good)
Max win: x20,000
Cascading: Yes
Extra Chilli Megaways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.8% (Good)
Max win: x20,000
Cascading: Yes
Space Wars Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.8% (Good)
Max win: x20,000
Cascading: Yes
Raider Jane's Crypt of Fortune Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.8% (Good)
Max win: x50,000
Cascading: Yes
Wild Bandito Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x25,000
Cascading: Yes
Techno Tumble Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x13,080
Cascading: Yes
The Wild Chase Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x2,757
Cascading: Yes
Candy Bonanza Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x25,000
Cascading: Yes
Heist Stakes Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x30,000
Cascading: Yes
Groundhog Harvest Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x50,000
Cascading: Yes
Hey Sushi Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x1,304
Cascading: Yes
Mermaid Riches Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x20,000
Cascading: Yes
Supermarket Spree Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x25,000
Cascading: Yes
Legendary Monkey King Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x50,000
Cascading: Yes
Spirited Wonders Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.7% (Good)
Max win: x7,388
Cascading: Yes
Mayana Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.6% (Good)
Max win: x12,253
Cascading: Yes
Sunset Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.6% (Good)
Max win: x6,000
Cascading: Yes
Northern Sky Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.6% (Good)
Max win: x3,111
Cascading: Yes
Hades River of Souls Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.6% (Good)
Max win: x5,058
Cascading: Yes
Jelly Boom Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.6% (Good)
Max win: x10,586
Cascading: Yes
Tickets to the Stars Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x10,000
Cascading: Yes
Twisted Turbine Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x9,500
Cascading: Yes
Secrets of the Forest 2 Pixie Paradise Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x20,000
Cascading: Yes
Magnificent Jewels Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x20,000
Cascading: Yes
Black Mamba Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x5,000
Cascading: Yes
Lucky Fish Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x350
Cascading: Yes
Wheel of Wonders Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x47,233
Cascading: Yes
Rich Wilde and the Tome of Madness Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x2,000
Cascading: Yes
Moon Princess Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x5,000
Cascading: Yes
Buffalo Rising Megaways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x10,000
Cascading: Yes
Hainan Ice Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x4,000
Cascading: Yes
Bounty on the High Seas Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x1,000
Cascading: Yes
Super Joker Megaways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x2,592
Cascading: Yes
Mega Bunny Hyperways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x50,000
Cascading: Yes
Desperados Wild Megaways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x12,500
Cascading: Yes
Kluster Krystals Megaclusters Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x9,921
Cascading: Yes
Royal Mint Megaways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x41,300
Cascading: Yes
Alive! Megaways Online Slot Logo
RTP: 96.5% (Good)
Max win: x10,000
Cascading: Yes

Full list of cascading reels slots

More on how the Cascading reels feature works

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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

Tumbling vs Cascading reels feature

It is no secret that providers use different methods to attract players' attention. It can be simple marketing or the introduction of some unique other features. One such feature is an option called Cascading reels. Some call this option Tumbling reels or Avalanche reels. The names are different, but the option is the same and more often than not the two mean the same thing.

So what are Cascading reels? It is an option that is triggered every time a winning combination appears on the reels. Once a winning sequence has been formed, the symbols that made it up will disappear and new ones will fall in their place. This way the given sequence can continue indefinitely, but this is of course in theory. This option appears in many slots, even at a glance I can say that there are more than 100 games. The feature can be contained in any slots, ranging from the familiar 5 reel slots with 3 or 4 rows to the more advanced Megaways games.

How to play Cascading (Tumbling) reels slots

To start playing Tumbling reels slots you don't need to learn or study all the slots. All you have to do is find one game. Such a slot will help you fully experience the atmosphere that is inherent in it. Also, you will learn the general principle of the rules of the game. So I will try to explain to you how to play such slots. Starting any game in front of you will see a playing field on which the various characters. This playing field is conventionally divided into vertical reels and horizontal rows. During a spin reels will rotate. When the reels stop, all the symbols will line up on the rows. However, in order to form a combination three or more of the same picture should fall on one of the paylines or simply on adjacent reels. Otherwise, the Cascading feature will not work.

In most cases, you will see controls below the playing field. These are the buttons that control your stake, the number of active paylines, or the sound settings. Virtually every slot has an Autoplay feature. Simply choose the number of spins you want, and the slot itself will spin the reels and place your bets. To find out which combinations bring the biggest winnings you can go to the Paytable section. As for the stake size and the maximum winnings in Tumbling reels slots, these variables are often unrelated and may vary considerably. To find out the maximum bet in a slot, you can click on Max Bet in the game and then you will know it. But the maximum possible winnings you will know only by visiting Paytable.

How to win playing Cascading (Tumbling) reels slots

It is possible to win at any slot. However, it all depends on how often you want to do it. It is impossible to win on a regular basis. But, you can try to increase your chances of winning. For starters, make a rule that you have to play slots where the RTP is at least 96%. The fact is that with a theoretical return, which will be lower you will lose all the money on your balance and not know what you can win. Also, decide which slots with which volatility you want to play, it's quite important and a choice to make.

Other than that, I always recommend having a 100 wager reserve in your balance. This will help you see how generous the slot is when you play it. If you lose all 100 bets, switch to another game. Also keep in mind, that you have to stick to bankroll management. Do not gamble all your money on one game. Make a rule, if you lose 2-5% today, stop and come back tomorrow. It would also be a good idea to withdraw your winnings as soon as you hit a big multiplier.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • makes gaming experience much more thrilling

  • additional opportunity to win big

Cons:

  • 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:

Conclusion

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.