With video slots evolving at a dramatic pace, game designers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to boost player interaction and push their creations to the forefront of online casinos’ lobbies. A new breed of slots emerged a couple of years ago where players are spared the hassles of spinning the reels again and again until they finally trigger the bonus feature.
Instead, the slots give them the option to purchase the feature for a set amount, proportionate to their stakes in the base game. This new idea was popularized by software studio Big Time Gaming a couple of years ago, which uses it in some of its best creations like Extra Chilli and White Rabbit. Other developers immediately noticed the concept’s potential and started to incorporate it into their latest slot releases. Now, let’s see how the feature-buy works and whether it is worth using or not.
The Feature Drop in Big Time Gaming Slots
The Feature Drop
Free Spins – to Gamble Them or Not?
November 2017 is an important date in the history of one-armed bandits as this is when Australian developer Big Time Gaming launched a game with an original feature that would change the face of video slots forever. The slot in question was White Rabbit from the Megaways series. It came with a new trademark functionality called the Feature Drop.
The new feature allows players to initiate the bonus, usually a round of free spins, without having to unlock it conventionally by landing a particular symbol combination in the base game. Instead, they can activate the free spins immediately and there are two ways to do it.
The first way is to simply purchase the bonus feature. The price for this “shortcut” is equal to 100x your base bet. If you wager $0.10 per spin, the feature will cost you $10 but if you wager $2, the cost escalates to $200 and so on. The cost of the feature purchase is displayed under the reels next to your stake and changes each time you adjust the size of your base bet.
Once you purchase your free spins, the software automatically deducts the respective amount from your credit balance and respins the reels. The scattered symbols immediately align in position and activate the bonus feature.
In White Rabbit, in particular, you can earn extra free spins by landing the special cupcake symbol during the feature. After you go through all free spins, you return to the base game and the software adds your winnings to your current balance.
The developers have added an interesting twist to increase the interactivity of Feature Drop games. There are special BGT golden coin symbols of different sizes and shapes but these do not form winning combinations. Instead, when the coins appear on the reels, they reduce the price of the Feature Drop purchase by specific amounts – 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 1 or 2.
Note that it is possible to reduce the price of the free spins to zero provided that you collect enough BGT coins. When this happens, the bonus rounds commence automatically on the next spin. Naturally, you can also buy the feature whenever you collect enough coins to reduce the price to an amount you feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, these special coin symbols do not land on the reels very often.View more...
Other Software Companies to Utilize the Feature-Buy Option
After Big Time Gaming pioneered the Megaways pay structure with the Feature Drop, it became an overnight success and the studio started to lease it to other developers. However, most of them do not offer players the option to reduce the cost of the bonus features by collecting items as is the case with the Feature Drop in Big Time Gaming's slots.
Instead, the free spins and bonus games can be purchased at a set amount, which depends on which game you choose to play. Below you can find six of the best software studios to offer slots with the Feature Buy.
Should You Use the Feature Buy?
1It can get very expensive over time.
So should players make use of the Feature Buy option in these highly innovative slots? We are of the opinion that the feature should be utilized, but only occasionally.
You often fail to win amounts big enough to cover the initial cost of your feature purchase. It is not unheard of paying $20 to unlock the free spins and earning only $0.30 or $0.40 during the feature. This is exactly what happened to us on several occasions when we bought the bonus in Big Time Gaming’s White Rabbit. This can be attributed to the high volatility in the majority of games with this option.
This is not to say you cannot score massive wins with your purchase. One player managed to rake in over $5,400 in winnings with the Feature Drop in White Rabbit as you can see in the picture below.
3Stay within the limits of your budget
The bottom line is you can pay your way into your free spins every once in a while if you are itching to unlock the feature as long as you ensure you do not make a habit of this practice. Last but not least, it is important to remain within the limits of your budget. If you are playing with a session bankroll of $100 only, it would be reckless for you to purchase bonus features for $20 each, would it not?