Best Cluster Pays Slots (Highest RTP, Free Play) + Feature Explained
Last updated: September 5, 2022
Nine times out of ten, to get you a win per line, paying symbols must appear on the reels in strict order. There are often two conditions must be met:
they have to form some pattern (called payline)
moreover, often only paying symbols from the left to the right are deemed an eligible win (though there are a small portion of win both ways slots)
The Cluster pays feature is very different in that sense:
there is no predetermined pattern (payline) needed to get you a win
there is no “from the left to the right order” limitation
The only thing you need is that some number of symbols (usually 5-6) appear anywhere on the reels adjacently. To be deemed as “adjacent symbols”, symbols must be connected with their both 2 angles (2 angles form one whole side so it is fair to say that symbols must be connected by their sides, just one angle is not enough).
Anyway, let’s take a look at the slots list and discuss how it works further in detail.
Best Paying (RTP) Slots with 0 Paylines
(Players from United States are welcome)
How exactly Cluster pays works
Let’s take a look at what exactly the word “adjacent symbols” may mean.
Any symbols can be connected (be adjacent) with each other in basically either of these 2 ways:
- Either by one angle
- Or by two angles or the whole side
Why am I bringing up all that stuff? Because the Cluster pays feature requires symbols to be connected only by both angles (the whole side) to be considered as an eligible cluster. Just one angle connection is not going to be enough.
I hope now it is crystal clear how the feature works.
What’s special about Cluster pays slots
It usually takes minimum 5 adjacent symbols appearing anywhere on the reels to form a winning combination. However, there is no consistency across the board of software providers, so, for example, Netent’s Aloha! requires minimum 9 symbols to get you a win.
Cluster pays slots are always modern games (2016+), nice looking and well implemented as a result.
Cluster slots basically pay both ways unlike the majority of online slots that pay from the left to the right.
Moreover, there is no limitation where the symbols must appear, so it can be even in the middle of the layout or anywhere else. The only rule, as we have already discussed, they must be connected by 2 angles.
The majority of Cluster pays slots do also implement Cascading reels feature, which definitely brings much more fun to the table.
The Buy bonus game feature is something that you can get fairly often in Cluster pays slots as well.
Best 5 Cluster pay slots of all time
I guess everybody agrees that x10,000 win slot with low Volatility level at the same time is a rare thing to have (Volatility has been estimated by NEtent itself by the way). Other than that, exactly this slot has given a start to Cluster pays feature (and now it is NEtent’s registered trademark).
Maximum possible win: x10,000 (of your stake) Cluster Symbols required: 9
Sweet Bonanza (Pragmatic)
Sweet Bonanza is a product of Pragmatic Play company. It has decent RTP, looks really well, and, what is more important, allows players to win very thrilling x21,100 of your total bet.
Paylines: Cluster RTP: 96.51% Volatility: Medium-high Free spins: Yes Multiplier: Yes
Maximum possible win: x21,100 (of your stake) Cluster Symbols required: 8
Reactoonz is a Playngo hit. It is a well-balanced game in terms of both RTP and maximum possible win. However, please keep in mind that RTP of all Playngo slots may be set at 5 different levels so you are supposed to check it in each online casino separately (here is an article how to do it).
Paylines: Cluster RTP: 96% Volatility: High Free spins: No Multiplier: Yes
Maximum possible win: x4,750 (of your stake) Cluster Symbols required: 4-5
Golden Glyph (Quickspin)
Golden Glyph is an amazingly looking Quickspin product, which is one of the leaders in the industry. It requires only 5 clustered symbols to form a winning combination which is a bit lower than on average.
Paylines: Cluster RTP: 96.19% Volatility: Medium Free spins: Yes Multiplier: No
Maximum possible win: x13,185 (of your stake) Cluster Symbols required: 5
Pirates 2 Mutiny (Yggdrasil)
Pirates 2 Mutiny is a Yggdrasil game (this company is my top 2 favorite software provider after Netent). It has a decent maximum possible win of x4,400 of your stake, and High volatility level at the same time. Its RTP is a bit lower than on average, that’s why it is ending the rating.
Paylines: Cluster RTP: 96.2% Volatility: High Free spins: Yes Multiplier: Yes
Maximum possible win: x4,400 (of your stake) Cluster Symbols required: 7
Cluster pays feature’s impact on RTP, Volatility and Winning hit frequency
Cluster pays feature’s impact on RTP
There is no causation between those two. However, Cluster pays slots are newer ones so their RTP tends to be rather decent.
Cluster pays feature’s impact on Volatility
Cluster pays slots are known for their sometimes even huge wins. Hence, the volatility level of such games is naturally going to be rather high.
Cluster pays feature’s impact on Winning hit frequency
As a result of high volatility you have to be ready for a bit lower hit frequency than on average on the market (on average it is around 20-30%).
Some other interesting facts about Cluster pays
In some games (like Reactoonz), if 4 symbols form a square it is already enough to get you a win (instead of 5-7 which are required normally). On top of that such a winning got multiplied.
Netent is the best software provider (in my humble opinion) that has got Cluster pays slots in its portfolio. On top of that some other leaders on the market produce Cluster pays games, such as, Yggdrasil, Pragmatic, Playngo.
Also Netent has first introduced the Cluster pays feature to the market with its Aloha slot. So Netent is a pioneer here.
Cluster pays slots can be considered as Megaways slots by their spirit, because both groups basically pay any ways. Though technically they are not called Megaways as a rule of thumb.
I have never come across a Cluster pays slot with network progressive jackpot at the same time.
List of Cluster Pays slots
Most players are more accustomed to understanding the standard video slot mechanics. It requires collecting 3 or more of the same symbols on the lines built into the machine. The player spins the reels (there can be 3, 4 or 5) and hopes for a winning combination to appear on the screen. For many years, there has been a trend towards the development of mechanics through variation in the structure of slots. Providers have realized that in slot machines with 6 and more reels it is not appropriate to use the Lines mechanics. This, in turn, has become another reason to improve the payout system.
Cluster Pays mechanics were first introduced by NetEnt. The slot machine Aloha! Cluster Pays was the most quoted slot machine among players in 2016. Users returned to the game again and again to enjoy its process. They were attracted by the innovative approach of the online slot, which no longer had the usual paylines. In addition, very often models with this structure used more attractive bonus features and prizes.
Other providers, in turn, noticed the growing demand for such games and purchased the rights to use Cluster Pays mechanics from NetEnt. Currently, more than 500 variants have already been released. You're sure to find one that you like in every way.
How to play Cluster Pays slots
The mechanics of Cluster Pays to differ significantly from other known mechanics. In general, players comment that it is difficult to understand. Until they get a lot of experience using slots with this system, these games seem to have little appeal to them. The difficulty in using these non-linear slots is imaginary. It lies only in not understanding how the reels work. Otherwise, it's the same as in traditional titles.
In slots with pay per line, the whole bet is calculated based on the value per line. The spin bet corresponds to the amount bet per line multiplied by their number. In Cluster Pays mechanics, the player bets on the outcome. Such denominations are more profitable from the point of view of financial investment. With a smaller amount, the player gets all the same chances for a successful outcome of the round that is given by the standard mechanics. Thus it turns out that the player is required to decide on the size of the bet. No strategies, no calculations on the possible outcome - it all depends on luck.
How to win playing Cluster Pays slots
Cluster Pays are mechanics in which identical symbols must touch at least one side of the image horizontally or vertically to form a winning combination. Diagonally adjacent symbols are not counted. For more valuable payment on the playing field, it is necessary to collect as many symbols as possible. Often it is a group of 4-6 characters. Such a group may be located anywhere on the playing field. The cost and value of each symbol are described in the payout table.
This mechanic is attractive because it introduces a surprise effect to the game. It is impossible to guess in advance the outcome of a round, but it is generally possible to assume. To understand the approximate frequency of winning combinations, it is sufficient to know the volatility of the chosen model. In titles with Low volatility, clusters will be formed quite often, but the payouts will be lower than in games with High volatility. The choice of games of different variance levels is huge, so there are more and more fans of Cluster Pays mechanics.
Apart from the volatility, pay attention to the RTP of the slot machine. The higher it is, the better for you. This parameter allows you to understand whether the model algorithm pays well. And payouts, by the way, can form incredibly large ones. For example, in 2021 Habanero introduced Calaveras Explosivas, a game with an RTP of 96.79% and a multiplier of x500,000. The winning potential of this cluster slot surpasses many traditional machines. You too can try to win this amount at any time. The main thing is not to forget the rules of responsible gaming.
Cluster pays slots are very nice in general so there are almost only advantages to be discovered with two insignificant disadvantages.
decent RTP in general
usually high volatility (which is actually a good thing for players)
modern slots with high quality of graphics and sound
some slots allow to win big
it might be hard to keep track whether you win or not
not too many offers on the market (though it is only in comparison since there are dozens of them available)
Check out other Slots articles: