Megaways slots are arguably the most important development within online gaming in the last decade. These games are highly popular right now and show no signs of tapering off.
A Megaways slot features the following characteristics:
Each reel holds a different amount of symbols per round (e.g. 2-7 symbols)
The number of symbols featured in each reel is decided randomly
A game offers the max number of ways (e.g. 117,649) when every reel reaches max height
The amount of ways is determined by multiplying the spaces in each reel (e.g. 7x7x7x7x7x7)
Wins are formed in adjacent reels that begin with the first reel and going left to right
Big Time Gaming (BTG) produced the first Megaways slot in 2016. They also patented this engine and allow other large developers to license their unique invention.
With additional providers now producing these slots, Megaways games are entering the gaming world at record pace.
I’m glad that online gamblers have found something they love so much. However, I have one major problem. I don’t think Megaways slots are worth it!
You can see my seven biggest gripes about these games below.
1 – You Almost Never Unlock All the Ways
Megaways slots generate tremendous excitement thanks to all the possible winning combinations. Many BTG games offer up to 117,649 ways to win.
Just a decade ago, gamblers were astonished when Microgaming released the first 243 ways game. To think that slot machines now offer 117,649 ways is mind-boggling!
BTG’s games don’t even reach the pinnacle of what’s possible with this format. Red Tiger Gaming, one of the developers that’s licensing Megaways, features up to 60,466,176 ways in their Laser Fruit slot.
The key words you want to focus on in these situation are “up to.” These two simple words are a huge caveat when dealing with Megaways.
117,649 or 60,466,176 winning combinations are both gaudy numbers. However, you’ll rarely reach these figures in most cases.
The simple reality is that you’ll be dealing with lower reel heights most of the time. You should scrap any delusions about playing with countless winning possibilities on a frequent basis.
2 – You End Up Losing a Lot
One of the great things about unlocking so many ways is that you can have numerous paths toward winning money. The downside, though, is that you’re also going to be in for lots of disappointment.
Assuming each way gave you a solid chance of winning, slots developers and their associated casinos would quickly go broke. Imagine the chaos if every way paid just 5% of the time on average.
The reality, though, is that every winning combination offers a very small chance of winning. Oftentimes, you’ll have thousands of potential ways to win and still wind up with nothing.
Hundreds of thousands or millions of ways mean little when they’re all programmed to deliver payouts at an extremely low rate.
3 – Megaways RTP Isn’t Any Higher Than the Industry Average
Megaways slots blind you to the fact that they don’t pay any better than standard online slots. Most of these games offer around 96% RTP, which is right at the industry average.
You might see over 100,000 win combinations and envision yourself collecting lots of money. Again, though, most of these ways are losers the majority of the time.
Megaways slot machines are extremely volatile. You may perform several spins without winning anything regardless of how many ways you’ve unlocked.
Sometimes, however, you’ll cash in on several of your winning opportunities. Such occurrences are great when they do happen, but they don’t happen often.
4 – These Slots Are Confusing at First
You may experience initial difficulty understanding a 243 ways slots if you’re used to payline-based games. After all, 243 ways slot machines deliver payouts in adjacent reels rather than through paylines.
However, try adding this adjacent aspect in with reels that feature different numbers of symbols in each round.
Megaways slots are a confusing mix of changing reel heights at first. You might notice two symbols in the first reel, four in the second, three in the third, and so on.
This concept is made easier when you understand the minimum and maximum number of symbols that can appear in every reel. Even when you get this aspect down, though, certain Megaways slots introduce even more complex aspects.
BTG’s Holy Diver is a perfect example. This game combines Megaways with the “Reel Adventure” format.
The latter refers to role-playing aspects that sees you level up. Once you reach a certain level, you have the option to either play free spins or keep advancing.
This setup seems simple enough. However, you’ll be confused upon scrolling through the novel-like info screen and reading about how to level up.
I realize that online slots are becoming more and more advanced each year. But games such as Holy Diver make learning slot machines feel like a chore. What makes slots fun to begin with are how user-friendly they are, and this takes away that aspect of ease.
5 – No Huge Jackpots
If you’re looking to get rich through a single spin, then you’re looking in the wrong place with Megaways slots.
These games can offer big single payouts worth up to 100,000 coins. However, you need to make a large bet to capitalize on such prizes.
You can also win big if a number of ways deliver payouts in the same round. But again, you must also wager a lot to cash in on such circumstances.
Megaways slot machines aren’t progressive slots. They don’t feature massive payouts that can be won through a $0.25 wager.
Assuming you’re hoping to get rich and not risk $5 or more to make it happen, then you should stick with progressive slot machines.
6 – Second-Screen Bonuses Are MIA
Second-screen bonus rounds are always a welcome addition to any slot. These bonuses give you an opportunity to play a game that has nothing to do with spinning the reels.
Here’s an example of a second-screen bonus:
You’re playing a Viking themed slot machine.
You trigger the bonus with three scatters.
You’re taken to a battlefield.
Here, you command Vikings to either attack through sea or land.
Your choice will determine the size of your payout.
Such bonuses are still based on random luck. However, they at least give you a breather from the reels and offer a fresh perspective on gaming.
Megaways slot machines don’t feature such bonuses. Instead, they only include basics like free spins, random wilds, and scatter payouts.
7 – Developers Are Regurgitating Old Games With the Megaways Format
Some of the providers that have licensing deals with BTG think that Megaways give them an excuse to repackage old games.
For example, Merkur Gaming produced a solid hit called Eye of Horus in 2016. This Egyptian-themed slot is a nice take on the sky god.
But for some reason, Merkur felt it necessary to regurgitate the same game in a Megaways format in 2019. Eye of Horus Megaways is virtually the same in every way, just with more winning possibilities.
I have no problem with developers rehashing played-out genres like Aztecs, pirates, and treasure hunting when producing Megaways games. But for Pete’s sake, don’t just release an old hit with a different format!
The point of this post isn’t to suggest that Megaways should be cast off into oblivion. This engine presents slots in a different way and has some value.
What I don’t understand, though, is how Megaways suddenly came to be the premier style of gaming. These slots are fun for a while, but they also have noticeable downsides.
You shouldn’t let the number of possible ways blind you. You’ll rarely be playing with the maximum number of winning possibilities.
Even when you do unlock all of the ways, you could still completely lose. Each way is programmed to deliver payouts on a rare basis. You need look no further than the RTP to see that Megaways games don’t offer any special chance of winning. These slots all deliver around the industry standard of 96% RTP.
Megaways slot machines don’t feature huge jackpots or second-screen bonuses either. You need to look elsewhere to find these perks.
Finally, developers are getting lazy with some of their Megaways designs. Certain providers are even re-releasing old slots that offer nothing different other than a new format.
Given what Megaways games are short on, you need to ask yourself if they’re worth learning. Some of these slots can require a time investment to understand.
Assuming you’re looking for something unique, then Megaways slots are worth a try. However, I don’t recommend that you let yourself get wrapped up in the hysteria surrounding these slot machines.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
The information found on Gamblingsites.org is for entertainment purposes only. It is a purely informational website that does not accept wagers of any kind. Although certain pages within Gamblingsites.org feature or promote other online websites where users are able to place wagers, we encourage all visitors to confirm the wagering and/or gambling regulations that are applicable in their local jurisdiction (as gambling laws may vary in different states, countries and provinces).
Gamblingsites.org uses affiliates links from some of the sportsbooks/casinos it promotes and reviews, and we may receive compensation from those particular sportsbooks/casinos in certain circumstances. Gamblingsites.org does not promote or endorse any form of wagering or gambling to users under the age of 18. If you believe you have a gambling problem, please visit BeGambleAware or GAMCARE for information and help.