Expanding Reels Slots: More Ways To Win

As opposed to traditional three-reel slots, creative features are the defining identity of modern online slot games. After studios had experimented in every way possible to create exciting things on the reels, it was time to alter the reels themselves.

So came expanding reels slots—one of the new ground-breaking mechanics in the slot game world.

What Is Expanding Reel?

Expanding Reel is a feature that expands the layout of a slot. This gives players more chances to win as the number of paylines is increased. It also allows for a combination of 5+ symbols, usually leading to Multipliers and other bonuses.

Initially used in Egyptian-themed slots to stimulate secret rooms in a pyramid, this feature has been incorporated into countless other slots due to how popular it is.

How Is Expanding Reel Triggered?

There are 3 ways this feature can be triggered, each with its own quirks.

Way to trigger



After every winning combination. 

Happens in the base game so wins come more often. Lead to better chances of entering the Bonus Round.

Symbols’ value can be lowered to compensate for the high payout rate.

Collecting a certain number of special symbols to get to the Bonus Round.

Amplify other special features in Bonus Round to maximize profit.

Bonus Round happens only occasionally.

Pay extra to unlock a row/reel.

Full autonomy—players can choose when to unlock extra reels.

It can be quite expensive to do this.


The Best Expanding Reels Slot Games

Star Clusters Megaclusters – Big Time Gaming

Star Cluster Megaclusters is the first of its kind to use the new Megaclusters engine. The game is played on a grid slot but when a symbol contributes to a win, it is replaced by 4 smaller ones.

star megacluster

From a base layout of 4×4, it can be expanded up to 8×8 and eventually 16×16 in the Free Spins Mode. Star Cluster Megaclusters takes the concept of Expanding Reel and goes totally berserk with it. If you want to experience the extreme side of Expanding Reels slots, don’t miss this one!

Punk Rocker – Nolimit City

Punk Rocker is popular for its cutting-edge graphics and rebellious spirit revolving around the British punk rock scene. The base layout of the game has 5 reels and 243 paylines, with exotic graffitis as symbols.

punk rocker

Players soon notice a fenced reel wrapped with the word “Bonus”. Collect 3+ Bonus symbols to unlock the sixth reel and unleash up to 4 Jumping Wilds, extending the number of betways to 46,656. There are also elements of the Megaways engine in the Free Spin Mode. Punk Rocker manages to be edgy but also to please different demographics.

Gorilla Gold Megaways – Blueprint Gaming

Gorilla Gold Megaways generously comes with 4 sets of reels in the Base Game. The game has an astonishing 470,596 ways to win and an even crazier RTP of 97%Gorilla Gold Megaways is just as eventful as it is profitable. With 4 Megaways reel sets in play, players are sure to score a win almost every other spin. 

gorilla gold megaways

To compensate for this high winning rate, the Free Spin Round is only played on 1 reel set. But this is where the Expending Reels come into play. If you make a Super Bet of 25% more, you have the chance to unlock all 4 reels. Four Megaways reels and an increasing Multiplier is the true recipe for a huge payout.  

Tomb Of Akhenaten – Nolimit City

Egyptian-themed slots have always been popular for their mythical quality and Tomb Of Akhenaten is no exception. The game has a Sticky Wild Respin feature which keeps the base game interesting. Players can also buy their way into the Bonus Round, making the game anything but monotonous.

tomb of akhenaten

Every time you land a Sticky Wild Respin, the reel set expands with one extra row. Get another win from the Respins and you will unlock yet another row, pushing the betways from 243 to 3,125. Tomb Of Akhenaten finds a way to implement Expanding Reels subtly and balance it with other features. This game is not just about the expanding gimmicks, you play it for the full package!

Wheel Of Wonder – Push Gaming

Wheel Of Wonder is a high-volatile slot, starting with 3 rows and 6 reels. For each consecutive win, a spot will be unlocked in the reels, and new symbols cascade down to replace old ones.

wheel of wonder

For each new row you fill, you get to spin a wheel containing many Bonuses, including:

  • A fixed amount of money equal to x2, x3, x4… of your bet.
  • A Multiplier applied to your total win.
  • Embellish – The most common symbols transform into a higher-paying ones.
  • Renovate – Every low-tier symbol changes into a random mid- or high-paying symbol.
  • Restore – Up to 7 spots are randomly unlocked in the blocked section of the grid. New symbols cascade down to fill these positions.
  • Transmute – Up to 7 symbols turn into wilds.

Playing Wheel Of Wonders is like rolling a snowball downhill, growing in size at every turn. It’s exciting and frustrating in the best way.