A Guide to Tumbling Reels Slot Games | LeoVegas

Tumbling Reels In Slot Games And How They Work

Online slots are the most-played casino games for several reasons, one of which is the in-game features and bonuses they offer. Tumbling reels are one such feature, an innovation that reinvented the way that slots have been played for the longest time.

This feature is so popular that almost all software developers have adopted it within their games. In fact, many of the top slots on LeoVegas are designed with the tumbling reels mechanic, including Sticky Bees and Reactoonz](/game/reactoonz). Keep reading to find out more about this slot feature.

How does the tumbling reels slot mechanic work?

Tumbling reels is a slot feature where winning combinations are ejected from the reels, with new symbols falling in place to replace them. Effectively, new symbols ‘tumble’ down to fill in empty spots. Theoretically, a single spin can generate multiple wins thanks to this feature.

Different adopters of the technology have called it different names, so you’ll sometimes see the feature called cascading reels or rolling reels.

Here’s a breakdown of how tumbling reels work:

Initial spin – The game starts with a regular spin, and if you get a winning combination of symbols on the paylines, you receive your payout as usual. Symbols disappear – After you are paid for any winning combinations, the winning symbols involved in the combination disappear or explode from the reels. This creates an empty space on the screen. New symbols drop – Once the winning symbols are removed, new symbols drop down from above to fill the empty spaces, often with a cascading animation. These new symbols can form additional winning combinations. Repeat process – The process continues, with new symbols tumbling in and any new winning combinations being paid out. This cycle repeats until no new winning combinations are formed. End of tumbling reels – When there are no more winning combinations after a cascade, the tumbling reels feature comes to an end, and the game proceeds with a regular spin.

The value of tumbling reels in slots

Besides the fact that it keeps the action going for longer after a spin, the main draw of this feature is that it can increase the chances of winning. As new symbols fall in place, new winning combinations can be formed, and it can go on continuously as long as wins keep occurring. It ends when no more wins occur or when a certain number of tumbles is achieved.

The best slot features will enhance the overall gaming experience, and that’s what the tumbling reels mechanic does. It works alongside other elements of a slot game to create an engaging and potentially rewarding gaming experience. Here are some effects on other elements of a slot.

Base game

Tumbling reels can come into play in the base game and bonus rounds. The base game is where you make your initial bets and spins to try to land winning combinations on the reels. Usually, the base game doesn’t offer much gameplay action, but with tumbling reels, there’s more action on any spin.

Tumbling reels trigger

By now, it’s clear that tumbling reels activate whenever a win occurs. It goes without saying that players hope to win in these games, but now winning is also key to launching this special feature.

Overall payout potential

Tumbling reels can impact the overall payout potential of a slot game. They allow players to achieve multiple wins in a single spin.

About the first tumbling reels slot

The tumbling reels feature was first introduced in NetEnt’s massively popular Gonzo’s Quest slot, where it is dubbed the ‘avalanche reels’ feature. This was the main reason why the slot became such a fan favourite and remains one of the most played games.

In this Mayan-themed slot, successive tumbles can offer up to a 5x multiplier. In the bonus round, multipliers up to 15x are available for consecutive avalanches. This enables a max win of 37,500x the stake in this slot. Gonzo’s Quest was released in 2011, and early adopters included leading brands such as IGT, Microgaming, Play’n GO and Blueprint Gaming.

Casino software providers are always looking for ways to differentiate their games from the competition, and tumbling reels offer a unique mechanic that sets certain games apart and offers players something new and innovative. Plenty of developers now have a few cascading reel slots in their repertoire.

Other features of tumbling reels slots

Even players who like the most straightforward classics sometimes want to try the action-packed experience of feature-heavy slots. Where there are tumbling reels, there are often other slot mechanisms in play. For starters, the tumbling reels mechanic is a friend of the Megaways reel modifier engine. Although not all tumbling reels slot games are Megaways slots, almost all Megaways slots are tumbling reels slots. This is because the tumbling symbols complement the increased ways to win of a Megaways game.

Multipliers are another feature that often accompanies tumbling reels. Several slot games will offer multipliers that increase with each consecutive win during the tumbling reels feature. Tumbling reels can also be integrated with other bonus features of a slot game. For example, they may be combined with free spins, wild symbols or special bonus rounds.

Top cascading reels slots to try on LeoVegas


Cash-O-Matic is a NetEnt slot that comes with the avalanche reels mechanism with up to 10x multipliers in the base game and as high as 50x multipliers in the free spins round. This game works a little differently, as the winning symbols stay in the reels while others disappear. Cash-O-Matic plays out on a 5x4 grid, and there are 1,024 ways to win.

Rise of Olympus

Play’n GO’s Rise of Olympus slot is one of the best mythological slots on the market. The five-payline slot comes with cascades that trigger on every win. Lots of other modifiers, such as Hand of God extras, will transform symbols and add wilds to the reels. Other themed bonus features are also available.


A highly innovative slot from Big Time Gaming, Bonanza features the Megaways mechanic, and interestingly it also includes the ‘DUELREACTION’ feature. Whenever a win occurs, the reacting symbols explode, with new ones dropping in. The six-reel slot allows up to seven rows with as many as 117,649 paylines.

Great Rhino Megaways

Set in the wild plains of Africa, this slot is a Pragmatic Play masterpiece with up to 200,704 paylines. Great Rhino Megaways has a variety of free spins and multiplier combinations. Thanks to the tumbling reels feature, multiplier values can increase consecutively during the free spins rounds. The game is played on six reels, and an additional horizontal reel atop the grid allows for up to eight symbols on the four middle reels.