It’s been a while since NetEnt’s Aloha! Cluster Pays slot was released – but who would have thought it’d have such an influence on future games!? In celebration of one of NetEnt’s clearest masterstrokes, here’s our guide to their entire Cluster Pays slot library – continually updated as new ones emerge.
What is Cluster Pays by NetEnt and How Does it Work?
While the Cluster Pays concept’s birth can’t quite be pinpointed, the 22nd March 2016 drop date of Aloha! suggests that it was circa mid-to-late 2015. NetEnt haven’t got to where they are today by resting on their laurels, not taking bold steps etc, and switching up the way their slot’s payout mechanic works is one of the most daring avenues a casino games provider can take.
Certain online gamers don’t appreciate the norms being messed with, so NetEnt needed to think of a simple yet considerably different way to calculate winning combinations.
The result was Cluster Pays – a feature that then NetEnt CPO Simon Hammon described as “a unique cluster mechanic, which gives users the chance to win big”. We have evidence for that very claim below.
It, essentially, rids slots of paylines from either side in favour of groups of symbols. The exact number of symbols needed for a win varies per game, but they all need to land either horizontally or vertically next to each other, forming a connected group.
Cluster Pays still employs paytables which can be viewed within the game itself, making certain symbols and larger clusters score higher totals as you’d expect.
One of the clearest indications that a NetEnt slot is Cluster Pays powered, aside from being named, is the grid size. To accommodate the multi-symbol win requirement, the number of reels and rows will almost certainly be enlarged to make space.
All Cluster Pays Slots Ever Created by NetEnt… So Far!
If you’re concerned about the classic NetEnt slot features being removed within Cluster Pays creations, don’t be. Your usual free spins rounds, Wild substitutions and the rest are often included, and there are generally plenty of casino bonuses and deposit boosts for these slots to boot.
Let’s take you through every Cluster Pays games released by NetEnt – ever!
Aloha! Cluster Pays
The first slot to debut this feature also included it as part of the name. Gamers were eagerly anticipating Aloha!’s release so they could sample NetEnt’s new function, and few were disappointed as the slot was widely praised.
The game is based on a typical Hawaiian setting – as a laid back, relaxing environment is met with the region’s flowers, pineapples and coconuts for symbols.
There are even special Tiki Mask Symbols which count as two, with a Tiki character to the side of the screen reacting in various ways to your spins.
A free spins round and Sticky Win Re-Spins are your friendly helpers here, and NetEnt Casino readers can try Aloha! for free if they desire.
If you prefer to start playing with real money immediately, Voodoo Dreams really settle you in to Cluster Pays’ first appearance.
Although Aloha! Cluster Pays went down a storm, NetEnt surprisingly shelved this newfound payout method for 17 months.
The announcement that they would be making a branded emoji casino game meant something special was required, so up stepped Cluster Pays after a long hiatus.
Despite not being part of the Emojiplanet (or Emoji Planet) title, it’s very much a critical aspect. Also, it’s a pretty unique Cluster Pays game too, in the sense that it only requires five connected symbols to form a winning group!
Due to such a long break, it was expected that many would either have never heard of Cluster Pays or completely forgotten what it entailed for this August 2017 release. Our Emojiplanet slot review below helped get those cogs turning.
Mr Green were the first to get the Emojiplanet ball rolling with exclusive access 3-weeks ahead of the official release, so it’s only fair that they’re our chosen Emoji Planet internet casino.
It hadn’t been much more than week since Emojiplanet dropped when another Cluster Pays NetEnt game came out of nowhere.
The highly anticipated follow-up to Twin Spin, branded Twin Spin Deluxe, was made available to play at a few exclusive NetEnt platforms – including Unibet – at the beginning of September 2017. It has since been launched at many other platforms since January 2018.
Twin Spin Deluxe (or Twin Spin Cluster Pays) manages to keep the original feel, but with a modern-day slot makeover.
Twin Spin fans will be delighted to hear that the Twin Reel Feature has been retained as well. This means that every single spin you have on Twin Spin Deluxe will see a minimum of two adjacent reels locked together to produce the same result – and this can expand to more reels, including the entire board if you’re lucky!
It also holds the highest Cluster Pays slot RTP at 96.61%, so go why not head to Twin Spin Deluxe’s original destination below…
The 21st September 2017 release of The Legend of Shangri-La signalled the number of Cluster Pays games having quadrupled in the space of a month – almost a year and a half after its solitary effort. We prepared the above review of this Shangri-La video slot so you can get accustomed to its feature before playing.
The Legend of Shangri-La’s Free Spins Bonus Round is a to-and-fro affair, with your loyal monk companion battling it out with the evil dragon spirit to grant you Random Substitutions.
Just to get you even more hyped, the maximum default win on The Legend of Shangri-La equates to 100,000 coins – or up to €200,000!
NetEnt took the archaeology route in May 2018, allowing gamers to dig for wins while utilising a host of features in their Lost Relics slot game. For this Cluster Pays title, you need to see six icons land next to each other to form a coin win – and when this happens, a handful of Random Features may kick-in to give you an additional helping hand.
Lost Relics is a beautifully crafted casino game, evidenced by the Free Spins Bonus Round which is located deep underground to match the archaeology angle.
As part of the Lost Relics Free Spins Bonus Round, a series of treasure chests complete this slot’s theme – with several rewarding prizes lurking inside. Take a look at our video review of Lost Relics for a full walkthrough.
Visit our Videoslots review for all the details on one of iGaming’s most comprehensive slot libraries.
Cluster Pays Games Can and Have Paid Out – Big Time!
On that note, many of you will surely be wondering whether NetEnt’s Cluster Pays slots series is as potentially lucrative as the Swedish games provider’s other hits.
Well, all the above titles have a similar return-to-player (RTP) percentage range of around 96.5%, which is comparable to your standard payout mechanic slots. Also, there have been some fairly high profile cases of big Cluster Pays wins.
A 24-year-old Polish gamer at Royal Panda hit the big time on Aloha! Cluster Pays after she managed to net $117,000 from a couple of high wager wins.
Just to put this into perspective, that’s around the same total as an average local NetEnt jackpot, so it puts to bed the idea that Cluster Pays is purely a mug’s game.