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Wild symbols are slot symbols which substitute other symbols on the grid. Substitution of symbols allows Wilds to complete potential winning icons and thus trigger a win. Wilds cannot replace Scatters and most special Bonus symbols.
Game developers are continually trying to make their games stand out from a sea of different releases. They use Wild symbols to boost the games’ potential. So far, they have created many different variations of the traditional symbol that we are all familiar with.
BestCasinos.com will now show you the most popular types of Wild symbols in slot games.
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We have come a long way from 3-reel slots with one single payline. Today, slots feature a slew of incredible and innovative mechanics which challenge the boundaries of online casino gaming.
Wild symbols are one of the most typical slot devices providers use to improve gameplay. And as suppliers use them to a great extent, they had to come up with new variations which could serve the purpose better.
Hence, there are dozens of wild symbols in online slots. Here are some of the most popular types of Wild symbols in slot games:
We will now show you how each one works and what are the main traits for each type.
Regular Wilds are standard Wild icons with no special effects or features. Regulars can appear anywhere on the grid during the base game and Free Spins. If they land in a potentially paying position, they will stand in as the necessary symbol and form a win.
In some slots, players receive payouts when these icons land, but that is not a requirement for all online slots.
Nowadays, Wilds have become part of the regular cast of symbols in slot games, especially regular ones which are the most prominent.
Modern slots tend to combine a regular one with a stacked or duplicating Wild. Quickspin’s Skulls UP! slot offers two versions of Wilds, including one regular kind.
Yggdrasil Gaming’s Wilhelm Tell also features two versions, including a regular type.
When bonus symbols appear stacked on top of each other to create a section of wilds all in the same reel, that is referred to as a (you guessed it) ‘stacked wild’.
This increases your chance of getting a winning combination because any payline that passes through this stack is more likely to hit the jackpot.
You are much more likely to win on multiple paylines rather than simply one per spin.
Traditionally, Stacked Wilds appear horizontally, but some newer games also use them vertically. If you want the chance to get your icons all stacked up, seek out slot games such as Avalon II, a popular Microgaming slot that is based around the Arthurian legend. Or Blood Suckers, a popular NetEnt offering based on a creepy vampire theme.
You can even delve into a fairy tale with Quickspin’s slot version of the Big Bad Wolf.
The hugely popular online slot game Starburst is famous for its expanding wilds.
The special symbol expands to fit the whole reel. This obviously helps players create more winning combinations, and therefore increases their chances to hit the jackpot.
Some games incorporate these with Stacked features, and in others, you need to meet certain requirements to trigger the Expanding symbol. For instance, in NetEnt’s cosmic themed Starburst slot, the Starburst Wild feature is only activated if it appears on reels 2 to 4.
A popular online slot with wild symbols is Sparks, an atomic themed slot game with an expanding feature that functions on any reel but only expands to cover two spaces.
Spreading Wilds are often confused with Expanding Wilds. However, the major difference between them is that Expanding Wilds often expand to cover the entire reel, creating a stack, or a Wild Reel.
Spreading Wilds spread to cover adjacent reels. For instance, a Wild land on the third reel will spread onto one icon on the left. It usually activates a Respin which boosts chances of landing additional bonus symbols.
In a way, it is more fun and creative way which yields more winning possibilities. It is also important to note that certain games combine multiple types, so it’s not odd to encounter Spreading and Sticky, or Spreading and Expanding Wilds together.
One of the most popular slots with this feature is NetEnt’s Jack and the Beanstalk. It follows the story of the boy Jack and his magical beanstalk, which takes you to the sky. It has Respins, Free Spins, a bonus Treasure Collection round, and two types of Wilds – Walking and Spreading ones.
Duplicating or Replicating Wilds have a cloning trait. Upon landing, this type copies the exact sequence of Wilds onto the adjacent reels. An example would be a stacked reel, which is a common sight with these icons. When it lands, it covers the left or right reel in the same sequence. Thus, you get two stacked reels instead of one. The feature can also happen with only one symbol. It doesn’t have to be an entire reel.
Needless to say, this feature can increase your payout a lot, especially if you land more than one tile with shapeshifting abilities.
Grim Muerto is perhaps the most famous example of Duplicating Wilds in slot games. Play’n GO is a master of innovative features, and Grim Muerto brings you a world of grim mariachis who play in honour of the Day of the Dead.
WMS has also used it as a feature in Dragon’s Inferno slot game. This fire-breathing 5-reel title features an ensemble of game modifiers, including Multipliers and Free Spins.
Colossal Wilds are difficult to miss. These giant-sized icons land on the grid with a thud and generate equally giant-sized wins. In most cases, it will land as 2×2 icon, covering four tiles on adjacent reels. However, the best version of the feature is a 3×3 icon which covers 9 tiles at the same time.
There is a catch, though. It might appear as one massive icon larger than other icons on the grid. But once it lands, it splits into 1×1 icons which appear stacked.
Do not worry, though. The effect remains the same – each of those icons aims to form a winning combo by substituting necessary tiles. And they typically succeed, forming multiple combos and paying out across several paylines at once.
One of our favourite slots with this feature is Fruit Spin which comes with 40 paylines and 5 reels. Regular symbols might appear stacked, while Wilds come as Colossal.
There are two types of Multiplier Wilds – ones that multiply upon landing on the grid, and others that carry Multipliers with them.
In the past few years, this feature type has become one of the most popular features in slot games. They carry a huge potential for payouts, and they also jazz up the experience in the process.
If we are talking about the first option, the rules are simple. Whenever Wilds land, they use their particular trait to copy themselves on the grid. In other words, you will see additional icons appearing on random positions on the grid.
As for the other option, it is even more simple than the first one. Each icon has a specific Multiplier. If it appears on the grid and forms a winning sequence, the payout will increase by the designated Multiplier.
Here’s an example. You roll a 2x Multiplier Wild on the grid. It forms a connection with two other regular icons and creates a win. Your payout will be the double of the regular payout.
Dead or Alive 2, the legendary western slot release by NetEnt, has this feature.
Shifting Wilds are 1×1 icons which act as regular Wilds, but they move across the grid. Games with this feature usually include Respins as they are needed for the moving part.
When a Shifting Wild land on the grid, it does so on the topmost position on the grid. It activates a Respin which spins the rest of the grid, but this special icon remains on the grid, only slightly moving downward by 1 position. The Respin continues until the symbol reaches the final position on the reel. If additional bonus symbols land during the Respin, the same situation happens.
You should not confuse them with Walking Wilds. These move vertically, across one reel only. They were a product of Playtech innovation, meaning it was Playtech who first introduced them to the public in its slots. Dolphin Cash is a popular Playtech release which features Shifting Wilds in is game modifiers.
With an increase in three-dimensional effects in online slots, gaming companies have received more space to experiment with features. At the same time, they got more ways to improve the players’ experience with colourful features, fancy effects, and improved graphics. In other words, 3D online slots are a bigger playground for innovative companies today.
Walking Wilds are a perfect feature for 3D slots online. It’s the type that involves moving of the tiles across the reel grid. Wilds, when they appear on the board, move by 1 position to the left or right. The Walking type involves horizontal movement, in contrast to Shifting ones which move vertically. Other than their agility, they serve the same purpose as the Regular kind. Creative companies might attach additional traits to these icons should they desire to improve gameplay further.
Dead or Alive 2 is a game which has this feature, along with a handful of other game modifiers (some are even listed here as well).
Sticky wilds are features that, once triggered, will stick around for more than one spin. Stacked, expanding and now sticky, no one is winning any awards for original names with this lot. As with the other bonus symbols, the way a Sticky Wild works is self-explanatory.
However, unlike expanding and stacked ones, Sticky Wilds don’t increase your odds of creating a winning payline in a single spin any more than a Regular would do. They do stick around though, so you can be 100% sure you’ll have one on your next turn, which is why we like them.
Alien Robots, by NetEnt, uses expanding sticky wilds during Extra Spins. You need to get three or more scatter symbols to activate Extra Spins, but then if a wild symbol lands on your reels during that extra spin, they expand over the entire reel, and they stick around for another spin. Another awesome slot game that features sticky bonus icons is NetEnt’s Attraction. It is an electromagnetic slot set in a secret underground lab; the Blue Atom symbol is the Sticky bonus symbol.
Thirdly, NetEnt’s South Park is a funny slot that takes you through the American sitcom that it is based on. In the Extra Spins round, Stan pukes on a girl (obviously), and this activates the Sticky Wild feature.
Wild Overlays refer to wilds that come stacked in a specific shape that land on the reels to take over a different symbol.
Usually, they appear just by luck and are not triggered by any specific requirements. You cannot use them on top of a normal symbol. However, as they create a shape, rather than just the usual line, they can be handy. One of the most popular slots that incorporate a wild overlay is NetEnt’s Guns N’ Roses slot; the Appetite for Destruction Wild comes in the shape of a cross with the band members’ skulls on it. It sporadically appears in one of three possible positions on the screen.
Warlords Crystals of Power by NetEnt, based on a saga about three epic warriors, the Priestess, the Barbarian, and the Samurai, has wild overlays as a random feature that incorporates three symbols to initiate the feature: A Sword, an Arrow and a Hammer.
Special Wilds are unique symbols that do not fit into any of the categories described above, or they occupy too many of them to be defined as just one or the other.
For instance, the Microgaming online slot Girls with Guns II – Frozen Dawn, which clearly features women toting guns in the Arctic tundra, has two types of special icons, Frozen Wilds that remain in place for three free spins and Magnetic Wilds that move to the left on every spin and remain on your reels for the rest of the free spins.
Another interesting slot game by Microgaming is Santa’s Wild Ride, which has a fun Christmas theme.
This features both Stacked and Expanded tiles but also includes Trailing Wilds, which means that any Wild symbol that appears on the reel will replicate itself with each spin to immerse the row underneath it until it reaches the bottom of the reel, and the reel is re-spun.
This doubles any prize you win in the feature.
We presented nearly a dozen different types of Wild symbols in slot machines. Each boasts a unique trait other icons do not possess. However, bear in mind that, regardless of the type you like the most, they are all equally entertaining!
We look forward to seeing more online slots with wild symbols, but we are even more excited to tell you more about them and how wild symbols work. Stay tuned for more types of Wild symbols in slot machines from BestCasinos.com!