Everything You Need to Know About “Megaways” Online Slot Machine Games

Screenshots Of Two Megaways Online Slots

If you’ve hit the online slots at any point in the last few years, chances are good that you’ve encountered one of your favorite titles—only with a twist. It might be the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? slot, or maybe Divine Fortune.

But in each case, the original title now has the word “Megaways™” attached at the end. At the moment, you can find literally hundreds of online slot games—ranging from bona fide classics to obscure new releases—tagged with the Megaways label.

Megaways versions of your favorite slot titles offer a unique and innovative addition to the best online casinos around. If you’ve never fired up a Megaways slot before, but you’re curious as to what all the hubbub is about, read on to learn about every aspect of this cool new way to spin the reels.

Is Megaways the Name of a Slot Game, an In-Game Feature, or What?

As alluded to in the introduction, Megaways isn’t a slot game in and of itself, but rather an entirely new way to enjoy your favorite titles.

Most of the major online slot software companies today—including Microgaming, Bally Technologies, Pragmatic Play, and NetEnt, just to name a few—have attached the Megaways concept to their existing lineup of games.

Thus, while you’re perusing your preferred online casino’s slot menu, you might just see the standard version of a hit like Buffalo King accompanied by Buffalo King Megaways.

So, What Exactly Does a Megaways Version of an Existing Slot Game Change?

It changes just about everything, at least in terms of the reel alignment and payline count…

Obviously, a game’s theme will remain intact when you move from the traditional version to the Megaways alternative. So, don’t expect background screens, symbol designs, or musical soundtracks to change.

With that said, the reel screen itself will look and play quite differently thanks to the Megaways enhancement.

The term Megaways describes a function whereby the reel screen—which is normally static with grids like 5×5 or 6×4—can suddenly shift and morph on every spin. The reel screen might shrink up to something like 3×3, before expanding to a full 7×7 grid on the next spin. And at any point, the reels newfound fluidity can create funky alignments like 4×7, 5×6, and the like.

Screenshot of a Megaways Slot Game

Take one of the most popular online slots ever developed, the progressive jackpot kingpin Divine Fortune, as the perfect example of what Megaways has to offer.

When you play Divine Fortune in its original format, the five reels with three symbol spaces apiece create a basic 5×3 grid. Thus, on every spin, you’ll have three symbol spaces on Reel #1, three more on Reel #2, and so on, with a total of 15 spaces covering the 5×3 grid.

Accordingly, with a static reel grid in place, Divine Fortune’s regular version puts 20 paylines in play—no more and no less.

But during a Divine Fortunes Megaways session, the usual 5×3 reel grid is replaced by a dynamic alignment which is always changing as you move from one spin to the next. First, you might see six reels spanning the screen instead of 5. Next, each of these reels will show a different number of symbol spaces, so you might see something like this:

REEL GRID

1 2 3 4 5 6
A B C D E F
B C D E F A
C D E F A B
D E A B C
F C D
A E
B

As you can see, this particular reel grid doesn’t look anything like the generic 5×3 structure utilized by the Divine Fortune games of old.

The first reel has seven symbol spaces, but the next reel only has four, and Reel #3 drops down to three spaces. From there, the next three reels show six, five, and four spaces, respectively.

What makes Megaways such a cool concept, however, is how the reel grid changes on the very next spin. Just a few seconds later, you could very well be looking at a reel alignment like this:

REEL GRID

1 2 3 4 5 6
A B C D E F
B C D E F A
C D F A B
D E B
F C
D

Just like that, with a single click of the “SPIN” button, Megaways spits out a completely different reel alignment.    

And with every new reel alignment you see, the amount of paylines in play ebbs and flows to a considerable extent.

How Do Flexible Reel Screens Change the Payline Count?

When you hear the term “Megaways,” it’s easier to just think of it as referring to “paylines.” In other words, the number of Megaways listed above the reel screen on every spin simply points to how many paylines the new reel grid contains.

Slot-Machine-Paylines

And believe it or not, the average Megaways slot game provides players with an astounding 117,649 paylines to work with. That’s not all either, as a select few Megaways games can even up the ante to an absurd 248,832 paylines.

Some reel alignments might generate a smaller amount, something like 8,000 paylines, but one spin later and you’ll see a six-figure payline count. It all depends on exactly how the reels stretch and contort to create the next unique grid alignment.

You Said the Screen Shows Players the Current Megaways Count, Right?

It sure does, via a display board prominently posted above the main reel screen.

As each reel whirls and clicks into place, the Megaways display will tick upward and increase the current count. And when the final reel locks in, the Megaways counter follows suit by posting the final payline figure.

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Can Players Who Like to Personally Confirm Count These Megaways Paylines for Ourselves?

Most definitely, and you don’t even need to be a math major to make it happen either.

In order to calculate the exact number of Megaways paylines generated by your previous spin, you’ll start by counting the symbol spaces contained in the first reel. Then, you’ll multiply that number by the number of symbol spaces in the next reel to the right and so on; it goes until you reach the last reel to the right.

The final figure produced by this multiplication should match the Megaways display counter to a tee.

We can use one of the example reel alignments shown earlier to see how these calculations play out:

REEL GRID

1 2 3 4 5 6
A B C D E F
B C D E F A
C D F A B
D E A B C
F C D
A E
B

In this case, Reel #1 has seven symbol spaces, while Reel #2 holds four spaces. Basic times tables tell us that 7 x 4 = 28, so we’ll take 28 and multiply it by the symbol space count (3) in Reel #3. Quick math (28 x 3 = 84) gives us the next number to use, so now it’s 84 multiplied by 6 (the symbol space count in Reel #4).

Going through the rest of the reels, we get the following equations:

  • 84 x 6 = 504
  • 504 x 5 = 2,520
  • 2,520 x 4 = 10,080
Thus, the aforementioned 6-reel alignment found on a random spin of Divine Fortune Megaways would put a whopping 10,080 paylines in play.

And don’t forget, as high as that number might sound, it’s only a fraction of what the most symbol-dense Megaways reel alignments will produce.

Which Company Came Up With the Megaways Idea?

Megaways was introduced in 2015 by an Australian online casino game software design firm called Big Time Gaming.

After a relatively slow rollout, Big Time Gaming lured a few major global iGaming providers to give Megaways a trial run… and the rest was history.

Hand Reaching Out to Laptop Displaying Online Slot Game

The Megaways Versions Must Run With Really Low RTP, Right?

Nope, not in the slightest. You’ll find over 120 of these Megaways slot games offering higher than average RTP rates of above 96%. Conversely, only 37 Megaways titles drop into the dreaded below average 95.01% to 95.99% RTP range.

And a handful of titles even eclipse the coveted 97% RTP level which defines highly playable online slots.

Check out White Rabbit Megaways (97.72% RTP) by Big Time Gaming; Medusa Megaways (97.63% RTP) by NextGen; and Buffalo Rising ALL ACTION Megaways (97.01% RTP) by Blueprint Gaming for the very best this new form of online slot action has to offer.

Our Final Thoughts on Megaways Slots

For all intents and purposes, the Megaways concept is a legitimate gamechanger within the world of online slot gameplay.

While payline counts have always been static, ranging from just a handful to a few hundred, the Megaways design manages to blow those numbers out of the water. By continually toggling the reel screen, adding and subtracting symbol spaces and stretching the reels’ size, a Megaways game puts your favorite slot’s payline supply into the six-figures.

Now that you know the ins and outs of this exciting new online slot development, get out there and try Megaways out for yourself.