One of the ways slot machines evolve to enhance your entertainment experience is by taking popular features and using them in new ways.
We're seeing that now with hold-and-respin features. They were growing in popularity before COVID limited player access to casinos. In the interim, game makers added new wrinkles.
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We can see that in three games you may or may not have seen. Not every market has them yet, and even where available, closures and limits on casino capacity for social distancing have meant fewer players have seen them.
All Aboard from Konami Gaming uses hold-and-respin in the usual bonus event method. In either of the two base games, Dynamite Dash and Piggy Pennies, landing six locomotive engines on the reels launches the feature.
Those engines lock in place and reveal credit awards. Then you at least three respins. Anytime you land another engine on the reels, it locks in place, reveals a credit award, and resets the respin meter to three.
The round doesn't end until three respins in a row bring no more locomotives. Then you win big as the credits from all the locked-in engines are tallied and added to your credit meter.
Should you get lucky and fill all 15 symbol spaces on the five reels with engines, then you win the big jackpot.
That's how the features work on most lock-and-respin games. The special symbols usually are circular, such as coins, casino chips or magic orbs. All the better to show off credit awards.
International Game Technology uses hold-and-respin in a bonus that can lead to progressive jackpots in the Wheel of Fortune Mystery Link.
Reel symbols include color-coded pointers that correspond to the five color-coded pointers on the wheel atop the game.
If you land six or more pointers on the reels, you go to a wheel spin bonus. Each color pointer symbol on the reel activates that pointer color on the wheel.
The wheel determines how much your pointer symbols are worth. If the wheel stops with the red pointer at a 120-credit space, then all the red pointers on your screen display 120 credits. Every color you have active on the screen will add the credits indicated on the wheel.
The on screen pointers then lock into place for respins. If you add more pointers on screen, you get more wheel spins to add credits. The round ends when three consecutive respins bring no more pointers.
If you have an exceptionally lucky run and fill all 15 spaces with pointers, an extra wheel spin can bring big prizes. The wheel flips to one where all spaces are progressive jackpots. You spin the wheel and win all progressives indicated by your pointers.
Finally, hold-and-respin isn't just for bonus events anymore thanks to Cash Falls Huo Zhu from Scientific Games.
With a pirate theme filled with cannons, skulls and swords, and treasure chests, Huo Zhu has an unusual five-reel look. The first two video reels are four symbols deep, the third and fourth are six symbols and the last is seven reels.
Coin symbols lock in place any time on the main game. Coins in each column stay locked unless you go three spins without accumulating more coins in that column. In that case, those coins disappear and you try again, but coins on other active columns remain in place.