Many different types of slots games exist. However, they share one commonality: symbols spin (or drop) from top to bottom.
Slots with the “gravity” mechanic, on the other hand, feature an entirely new concept. Icons roll right or left under certain circumstances and fall into gaps (as if being pulled down by gravity).
Developed by ELK Studios, the gravity engine is quite new to online gaming. That said, I’m going to cover more on this mechanic, its high points, and its low points.
Basics of the Gravity Engine
A gravity slot looks unusual from the get-go. It doesn’t feature traditional paylines nor does it even have normal reels.
At the beginning of rounds, symbols do fall from the top like with most slots. However, the icons end up in staggered positions and can roll afterward.
All of the symbols are in reels to some extent. But they don’t form perfect rows like with other slots.
Moving past the strange appearance, the default grid for a gravity slot is six reels and four rows. Winning combinations form when matching symbols land in adjacent reels.
You initially have 4,096 ways to win. This figure comes from multiplying the four positions in each reel (4x4x4x4x4x4 = 4,096).
You already enjoy lots of winning possibilities in the beginning. However, the grid can grow eight reels high and offer up to 262,144 ways (covered later).
Avalanche Wins Play a Key Role
Each round begins with 24 symbols falling onto the grid. Symbols from winning combinations disappear and allow other icons to take their places (i.e. avalanche).
The new symbols don’t just drop into position like with standard slots. They instead roll right or left, depending upon where the gaps are.
As for avalanche wins, they serve two main purposes:
Provide additional chances to earn payouts in each round.
Add extra rows to the grid.
Regarding the second point, each avalanche win adds one more row to the grid. If the grid is at 6×4, for example, it’ll increase to 6×5 after the first avalanche.
Each additional row increases the number of winning ways. This process continues until you reach a 6×8 grid.
At this point, you’ll enjoy the aforementioned 262,144 ways (8x8x8x8x8x8). The grid reverts back to 6×4 when no additional avalanche wins can form and a new round starts.
Other Common Traits of Gravity Slots
I’ve covered the rolling mechanism and avalanche wins in these slots. Below, you can see what else these games offer regarding features.
The gravity engine may be revolutionary. However, these games still offer a few common slots elements.
Free drops (a.k.a. free spins) serve as the bonus round. They give you free opportunities to rack up wins.
The bonus triggering mechanic is definitely unique. You unlock 7 free drops by getting the bonus symbol to roll and touch the left column.
Besides enjoying free chances to win, this bonus automatically gives you 262,144 ways. Additionally, the win multiplier (covered later) doesn’t reset in between spins.
A laser symbol causes a beam of light to shoot out. This light beam not only destroys the symbol itself but also any icons in its path.
This action causes the affected icons to disappear and new symbols to fall/roll into empty spaces. Assuming two laser beams meet head-on, all symbols leading up to their meeting point turn wild.
The X symbol serves as a win multiplier (featured on the right side of the grid). It takes effect upon reaching the bottom of the grid.
Every consecutive X that reaches the bottom unlocks a higher multiplier. One gravity slot offers multipliers worth 2x, 4x, 16x, 32x, and 64x.
A multiplier normally resets in the base game. However, it continues growing in the bonus until all free drops are over with.
What Slots Offer the Gravity Engine?
ELK Studios is just getting started with the gravity mechanism. Below, you can see the two games that it has produced using this unique engine.
Cygnus features a combination theme involving Ancient Egypt and a star in the Northern Cross constellation (aligns with the Giza pyramids).
The theme is very unique, because it goes beyond basic Egyptian slots themes like Cleopatra, Ra, and the Eye of Horus.
The graphics are also quite impressive. You’ll see high-quality depictions of the symbols, Sphinx, pyramids, and columns (keep symbols contained in grid).
Io features the same gameplay as Cygnus. Only, this slot takes you to a totally different location in Jupiter’s famous volcanic moon.
While you’ll see the moon in the distance, all of the action takes place on a spaceship. The grid features a reaction chamber that holds the symbols.
This game doesn’t look quite as impressive as Cygnus. However, it still boasts quality graphics and an original atmosphere.
Pros of Gravity Slots
The gravity engine offers plenty to like from its potential winning combinations to an interesting look. Here are some more details on the benefits of these slots.
Numerous Ways to Win
You already start each round with 4,096 ways to win. However, you can boost the potential winning combinations through avalanche wins.
Every avalanche causes the reels to grow by one reel. Here’s how many ways you can enjoy with each additional reel:
6×4 = 4,096 ways
6×5 = 15,625
6×6 = 46,656
6×7 = 117,649
6×8 = 262,144
The grid only remains expanded for the current round in the base game. However, it stays maxed out at 6×8 during the bonus.
Avalanche wins and expanding grids/rows are nothing new in slots. However, the gravity engine definitely presents an interesting touch.
The average slot sees symbols drop in from above. Going further, the grid is in perfect reels and rows.
Gravity based slots differ because they feature imperfect reels and rows. They also cause existing symbols to roll into place rather than drop during avalanches.
Plenty of Features
You don’t just need to rely on expanding rows and avalanche payouts for big wins. Instead, you can look forward to more features that’ll boost your prizes.
Free drops give you free chances to collect payouts. They also come with 262,144 ways and a win multiplier that doesn’t reset until the bonus ends.
Speaking of which, the X symbol serves as a multiplier. It boosts the size of your wins by up to 64x, depending upon how many X icons reach the bottom.
Cons of Gravity Slots
Gravity games boast plenty of likable aspects. However, you should also consider the potential downsides before betting real money on these slots.
High volatility denotes the chance to win big and/or plenty of features. However, it also causes you to suffer more losing streaks.
ELK Studios gives both Cygnus and Io an 8/10 volatility rating. Although not the most-volatile games, they’ll still put you through plenty of cold streaks.
You may not mind this aspect if you have a large bankroll. But you’ll definitely feel the impact if you don’t have much money to bet.
Even experienced real money slots players will struggle with the gravity concept. After all, symbols roll into different positions rather than simple top-screen drops every time.
The grid also looks like a mess initially. You’ll see staggered symbols that make it hard to tell where reels and rows begin and end.
You shouldn’t experience much trouble with the setup after playing for a little while. However, you’ll no doubt be a little confused in the beginning.
Average Top Wins
Both Io and Cygnus offer a maximum win worth 5,000x your stake. Assuming you place the maximum $100 bet, then you can win up to $500,000 per round.
Odds are, you aren’t going to wager $100 on every spin. Therefore, the jackpot potential is fairly limited with these games so far.
Of course, moderate-to-low jackpots are a double-edge sword. Volatility would creep closer to 9/10 or 10/10 with a larger maximum payout. But if you’re looking to win big, these games don’t offer the biggest payout potential.
The gravity mechanism brings exciting potential to the gaming world. It presents online slots in a totally new fashion.
Rather than watching every symbol drop into place, icons roll around following avalanches. You can keep forming new wins when matching symbols line up in adjacent reels.
Assuming you’re looking for something new in the slots world, I definitely suggest giving gravity slots at least one try. If nothing else, you’ll at least get a unique gaming experience.
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. ...
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