NetEnt Slots Balancing High RTP with Rewarding Special Features
Published on by Adam
There are many features that can make a slot game popular or not. You might be looking for a fun and/or familiar theme, exciting special features, or high RTP (return to Player). There’s little doubt that the last one on the list – RTP – is what really makes or breaks the deal at the end of the day. If you want proof to this, all you need to do is take a look at NetEnt’s original Bloodsuckers game. This gothic corner bloodstone sports the highest RTP of all NetEnt games to date – 98%. And it still enjoys riding the waves of popularity amongst slot players to this date.
Previously, in 2015, we published an article with the list of games with highest RTP. Since then, things haven’t changed much. These old classics still top the list. However, there have been quite a few NetEnt games that followed, which, while still having a reasonably high RTP, balance it with an abundant haul of great special features and mini games that are not only exciting to play but also pop up frequently enough to generate wins.
We’ve rummaged through NetEnt’s slot library to put together a list of, what we believe, are some of the best games that strike this delicate balance between high RTP and great and often recurring special features. Read on to find out and take them for a ride!
Starting off with Reel Rush’s RTP, this one clocks in at a solid 97%. While there are NetEnt games with slightly higher percentages roaming the game library, 97% is generous. Besides this, Reel Rush balances this with some unique features that will keep you glued to this one rather than venturing off in search of games that only have a higher RTP.
Let’s take a look at the way the game is designed. The layout is a 5-reel x 5-slot design. However, you start off with many symbols covered. The ones showing are designed geometrically so that they reflect each other along the y-axis. In other words, the basic configuration is 1 x 3 x 5 x 3 x 1, and you get 45 win ways at this point. However, every time you win, a re-spin is triggered and 2 covered symbols reveal themselves to add more winning potential. This snowball effect continues as long as you make consecutive wins. In normal mode, you can unlock up to configuration of 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 3 offering you 1875 win ways!
It’s not over yet, though. If you get 5 consecutive wins thanks to the re-spin feature, you get 8 free spins and the last 2 symbols are revealed giving you a fully uncovered 5 reels x 5 rows. Here, the win ways climb to a whopping 3125 ways!
Steam Tower also has its RTP set at 97%. However, it makes use of its theme and design to introduce game element that can accumulate some grand wins. This occurs when you get the free spins. In this free spins special feature, you’ll have to play to climb the tower. Every few levels grant you an even bigger multiplier. To clear a floor, you will need a Wild Symbol to appear on the reels. This will also grant you an extra 2 free spins. The multipliers for every floor are calculated as follows:
- Floor 1-3 – x2 multiplier
- Floor 4-6 – x3 multiplier
- Floor 7-9 – x4 multiplier
- Floor 10-12 – x5 multiplier
- Floor 13-15 – x6 multiplier
- Floor 16 – x7 multiplier
Reaching the top floor will give you the customary 2 free spins and increase the multiplier to x7. On top of that, you will receive a bonus win of 1000 x the bet level you were playing with in base game.
This one is the only progressive local jackpot to make our list. We thought it’d be a great addition since, despite being a jackpot, it has a fairly high RTP standing at 96.0%, and its special features are designed in ways that, provided you stick with it long enough, can garner you some lucrative wins.
Cosmic Fortune is one of NetEnt’s most gorgeous to watch and fun to play slots. It screen is laid out in a 5-reels-by-3-rows configuration. It features 15 pay lines.
The first characteristic setting it in a category of its own, which also nudges more wins your way is the fact that it’s designed as a ‘cascading symbols’-type game. This means that when new symbols fall onto the screen forming a win, they disappear from the screen, triggering yet even more symbols to continue falling and fill the spaces out. In Cosmic Fortune’s case, this is called The Avalanche Feature.
There are 3 special feature games – Free Falls Mode, Free Falls Bonus Game, and The Jackpot Bonus Game – and all 3 are interconnected as one leads into the other in this exact order.
During the base game, get 3 scatter symbols and the Free Falls Mode unlocks. This gives you 10 free spins. Any added scatter symbol gives you another 5 free spins. All winning bet lines reward you with marbles to be used in the next special game.
The next game starting after Free Falls Mode ends is the Free Falls Bonus Game. This plays out like a pinball with 6 cups and a spaceship dropping the marbles collected in the previous mode. There are 3 Coin Collecting Cups and 2 Jackpot ones. There is also a spiralling one that redirects the marbles into the Jackpot ones.
3 marbles collected in the Jackpot Cups unlocks the next and final special game – the Jackpot. This is also designed as a jackpot similar to the previous mode. Here, there will be 4 Coin Cups and 5 Jackpot Cups. There’s also a big collector cup in the middle which releases the marbles into the biggest jackpot – the Mega Jackpot. The first 2 jackpots are fixed while the last 3 are progressive. The jackpot cups are as follows:
- Rapid Jackpot – fixed at €100 (max. bet level)
- Mini Jackpot – fixed at €500 (max. bet level)
- Midi Jackpot – progressive up to €4000
- Major Jackpot – progressive up to €13500
- Mega Jackpot – €100000
Jack Hammer 2
Jack Hammer 2 tops our list in terms of RTP with its numbers resting at 97.1%. This is just slightly higher than the previous entry in the Jack Hammer franchise. This is a 5-reel x 3-row game with 99 bet lines, all laid out in a modern and hip comic strip-style design. Here, we will not be looking at such special features as the Wild Symbols and the Free Spins Mode. Instead let’s focus on the Sticky Wins Mode.
Whenever you win a prize or 3 Wild Symbols are achieved on the reels. The symbols forming the winning combination will stick in place on the screen. If other matching symbols appear during subsequent spins, they will be added to the sticky bunch and another spin will be triggered. This continues until no further matching symbols appear on the screen. In that case, the sticky symbols mode ends and your winnings are counted and added to your balance.
Guns n’ Roses
Guns n’ Roses is the 2nd entry in the NetEnt Rocks series. The RTP 5-reel, 3-row, 20 pay line slot is set at 96.93%. While having a fairly high pay out rate, what shines through is the amount of special features on the game. Due to this, you can safely expect frequent wins. Let’s take a look.
Wilds appear randomly and can also grow vertically into Expanding Wilds that cover the entire reel. This substitutes all other symbols except for Destruction Wilds, Overlay Wilds in Legend Spins and Stacked Wilds in Encore Spins.
Legend Spins are another random feature that, when achieved, give you re-spins as well as 1-2 Stacked Wild reels. During this time, Bonus Symbols cannot appear. Here’s what you get on each subsequent re-spin:
- 1st spin – Stacked Wild on 3rd reel
- 2nd spin – Stacked Wilds on Reels 1 and 5
- 3rd spin – Stacked Wilds on Reels 2 and 5
The Appetite for Destruction Wild is a cross-shaped large wild that also appears randomly in the middle of the screen. It may be fully or partially displayed. It cannot be triggered when 3 bonus symbols are on the reels or during the Legend Re-Spins. No other extra features can be combined when it appears.
The Bonus Feature is a wheel that appears on screen. You must click on it to get 1 of 3 bonuses – 1 coin win, Encore Free Spins, or the Crowd-Pleaser Bonus Game.
- Encore Free Spins – you get 10 free spins. A Stacked wild depicting a band member will appear, covering the entire reel. It can appear on reels 2, 3, or 4 on every spin.
- Crowd-Pleaser Bonus Game – This is a ‘pick n’ click’-type game spread out over 3 levels. You start off with 8 turns to be used across all 3 levels. You can uncover coin wins, free spin symbols, and +1 pick symbols. 3 free spin symbols will give you 10 extra free spins in the bonus game. During level 1, you can get a minimum of 60 coin wins; during level 2 you’ll receive another 3 picks and a minimum of 300 coins can be won; and in level 3, you can win a minimum of 800 coins and all winnings will be doubled.
Bloodsuckers 2 is the sequel to one of NetEnt’s most popular slots to date. Perhaps, this is mainly due to the prequel having the highest RTP from all NetEnt games, clocking in at 98%! Moving onto Bloodsuckers 2, the RTP here is just slightly lower, marked at 96.94%. However, the bonus features and the frequency of them more than make up for this slight discrepancy in RTP percentage.
The first feature worth looking at is the Blood Rose Free Spins. Landing 3 scatter symbols during the main game will trigger the Blood Rose mini game, in which you’ll be given a basic 10 free spins. If, then, you land scatter symbols during the mini game, you’ll receive 10 coins for every one.
The Hidden Treasure Bonus Game is triggered with a minimum of 3 bonus symbols. Get 4 bonus symbols and your wins during the mini feature will be doubled; get 5 and they triple! The Hidden Treasure Bonus Game plays at, as one might guess, in a ‘pick n’ click’ style. You’ll have treasure chests and coffins scattered on screen, and you’ll have to click the right ones to reveal coin wins, a key or a demon. The key takes you to the next level, of which there are 5. The demon ends the game. If you find the key in the 5th and last level, you get a wealth of 1000 coins!
Bloodsuckers 2 also touts another 2 random features – Scatter Shot and Bonus Shot. Amilia – the female protagonist standing on the left-hand-side, shoots her crossbow and makes either an extra scatter symbol or a bonus symbol appear on the reels respectively. The former bumps up all medium win symbols by anywhere between 10 and 100x the bet level. Whereas in the latter’s case, an overlay bonus symbol appears on reel 1, 2, or 3.