For decades, slot machines have been all about paylines: the line patterns that you need to land your symbols on in order to score wins. On a typical five-reel slot, for instance, you might need to hit three symbols in a row on one of 20 or 30 different line patterns in order to win a prize. Players normally don’t have to play every line, and have to pay at least one coin for each line they choose to play.
But in recent years, some new formats have been tried by slot machine manufacturers. The most successful of these has been the “243 Ways” slot machines that were first innovated by Microgaming. While other gaming creators have made slots that use the same or similar formats, Microgaming was the originator of this style of play, and so we’re going to focus on their games today.
In a 243 Ways machine, players are no longer restricted by an arbitrary number of paylines. Instead, players pay one single price and are automatically given access to every single possible combination of symbols running from left to right across the reels. Essentially, every potential payline becomes active, and since most slot machines have three rows of symbols displayed on each of the five reels, that means there are 243 different ways to win – or three to the fifth power.
While there are now several different 243 Ways games, we think a few stand out above the rest as truly great games. Here are our picks for the best 243 Ways games on the market:
This was the first high-profile 243 Ways slot machine, and is still one of the best today. The follow-up to the tremendously popular game Thunderstruck, this machine features many of the gods and other figures that are central to Norse mythology (learn more). You’ll have encounters with Thor, Loki, and other familiar names. With four different themed bonus rounds related to gods and valkyries, this is one game that you’ll never get tired of.
The Dark Knight
If you loved The Dark Knight and the other recent Batman movies, this is the slot machine for you. Faithful to the source material, this game features an amazingly cinematic background to the reels that will have you traveling around Gotham City while you play. You can also count on both the Joker and Batman himself showing up, either of whom can help you win big when they decide to make a random appearance after any spin. As an added bonus, you can also access the famous Mega Jackpot from The Dark Knight slot machine, giving you the chance to win millions on every spin!
This slot machine combines both the great features of 243 Ways slot machines and the red hot vampire romance stories that have become some of the most popular tales in books, television and movies in recent years. Immortal Romance is a slot machine that features one of the most detailed storylines we’ve seen in a gambling game, with characters that feel like they have real personalities. Each of the game’s four bonus rounds – one for each main character – features an original song to go along with it, meaning that this is a slot machine that actually has its own soundtrack! Combine that with some truly wild features, and it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular Microgaming slots around