All Slot Machine Types Under One Roof

Slots have been around for a long time, and lots of different variations on the formula have sprung up through the years. Slots have always come in all shapes and sizes. The recipe is there to be tweaked, and today the number of categories of slot machine continues to grow. However, despite modern innovations, the core gameplay and principles of the original slots have remained.

A montage of various slot type reel symbols and imagery

The switch from mechanical, moving part machines to digital, software-based games was the key innovation that changed the slots market like no previous modernisation period had before. Freeing the games from the restrictions of psychical reels was crucial to the birth of a host of new online slot types and has allowed the market to evolve into the vibrant, creative place it is today. This page will walk you through some of the most important slots categories at UK casinos in 2019.

Types of Slot Machines Online

It’s not always easy to put this complex library of modern online slot games in categories or genres, but we’ve given it a go. The main problem with categorising things is that it places restrictions or rules on a scene that is, today, all about breaking them. There are many different types of slot machines, and technology has enabled developers to throw away the rulebook and open their minds to possibility. The top game-makers in this industry are always looking for new ways to engage players, find a different angle on the slots formula, or create innovative gameplay mechanics. Still, some traditions remain and retro slots remain popular, so let’s look at some of the most popular slots categories.

Classic symbols on a fruit machine

Classic Fruit Machine Slots

The classics never die, they say. The old fruit machine down your local pub may be gone, but its spirit lives on in the online slots world. Games like Mega Joker embody the spirit of the flashing lights and fruit symbols of the past in our digital age. These retro games don’t always come with all the bells and whistles of a modern slot game such as bonus rounds, free spins or a gamble feature. This is back-to-basics stuff. Fruit, sevens and BARs. Fixed odds jackpots and big plastic buttons. The betting limits are usually pretty tight, tending to stay around the ‘loose change’ kind of range between £0.20 and £5. Still, for those seeking a nostalgia trip, a classic fruit machine slot is like a blanket on a rainy afternoon.

Bonus game intro screen from Gonzo's Quest online slot

Adventure Slots

Today’s modern slot machines are about so much more than matching fruit symbols. Character-driven slots have been present in the UK for some time now, often coming with backstories and accompanying text to build more of a world in which to play. Themes also vary, taking inspiration for popular TV shows or movies. Microgaming’s Immortal Romance is perhaps one of the best examples of this of this type of slot machine. The developers behind this 243 payline slot are clearly fans of Twilight and True Blood, wrapping the core gameplay in a spooky, modern vampire-themed skin. The character back-stories really build out the world and offer players the chance to develop relationships with the game’s characters. Other popular adventure slots are set in exotic places all over the world.

Video slot Dazzle Me in action

Video Slots

The jump to digitally rendered slot machines has given rise to the popularity of video slots. They use computer-generated images to display symbols, bonus rounds, and interaction between the characters and the game reels. It’s true almost all slots today could be considered video slots, but it’s the games that really come alive that make the category so interesting. These kinds of games simply wouldn’t be possible with moving parts. The future is very much upon us. Check out Gonzo’s Quest for an example of a game that really shows off what is technically possible with slot machine software today. This truly is a golden age of slots.

Screenshot of a progressive slot Pink Panther

Progressive Slots

Let’s face it, everyone is in this game for the same reason – jackpots. The lure of winning money has always been the single biggest draw to slots. Progressive jackpots pre-date the online slots market that we live and breathe today, but never on the current scale. Slots with one or more progressive jackpots are among the most popular games due to their life-changing potential. With a progressive jackpot, every time you lose, your money is added to the overall prize pool. These pots of money build rapidly as contributions are drawn across several games running on several operators. It’s is common for a game like Mega Fortune to pay out multi-million-pound jackpots monthly. If you are in this game for a life-changing jackpot, the slot machine types you should be playing is progressive slots.

Age of Gods game logos

Franchise Slots

If you spend any time at all on an online casino you will have come across some familiar brands or franchises from the world of TV, films, music and sport. Franchise slots are officially licensed games that feature visuals or audio. The expansion of this market has brought in all different kinds of licensing potential for software developers, and they haven’t held back. Licenses are generally bought by software developers and not operators, so they are not exclusive to any casino, although there are some exceptions – BetVictor, for example, has exclusivity on the official Liverpool FC slot game. Some of the biggest franchise slots available today are Deal or No Deal, Game of Thrones and Family Guy.

A slot game on a tablet

Mobile Slots

As mobile internet usage has overtaken desktop usage in the UK, more and more slots players are demanding to take their games on the go. Mobile slots are not exactly ground-breaking, but what is quite a new development in this field is desktop-mobile parity. The biggest names in slot development these days fully optimize for mobile, including touch functionality and flexible deposit options. As a result, mobile slots such as Starburst perform just as well on your smartphone or iPad as they do on your laptop or PC. Some software devleopers, such as NetEnt, even have completely seprarte departments for making sure that their online slots are perfectly opeartion on mobile devices.

A 3D slot game Jungle Jim El Dorado

3D Slots

As graphical fidelity is pushed further and further in the software industry, we have come to expect better-looking games. There are comparisons to be drawn between the home video console business and the online slots business. The graphical jump from early slots to what we have now is similar to that of the home console. If the first wave of games in the mid-00s look a little bit Super Nintendo to you, then rejoice – we are now in the PlayStation 4 era. Games today look superb, there are no other words to describe them. Symbols and characters move freely of rigid reels in a 3D space. An excellent example of a modern 3D slot game is Jungle Jim El Dorado.

Person experiencing a virtual reality game

Virtual Reality Slots

The next logical step for online slots is to enter the world of virtual reality (VR). Facebook, Sony PlayStation and Samsung all have VR headsets out in the wild now and we’re starting to see the launch of VR casinos. You can already play poker and roulette in VR. Developers NetEnt, NextGen, Quickspin and Thunderkick all have plans to launch VR slots this year. Some of the biggest titles include Foxin Wins, Jack and the Beanstalk and Big Bad Wolf. The games are, for now, only playable through the Oculus headset, owned by Facebook, but we expect many more to follow. Watch this space though, VR could be the next big development in online slots gaming, and that’s very exciting indeed.


What will the next big turning point be for online slots? Will virtual reality slots really become the norm? What new slots categories will emerge in the next 10 or 20 years? We’re seeing a trend towards more video game styled games with increased narrative content and world-building, and we expect that to continue. You can see how early machines still have an influence on some slots, but new ideas and game mechanics are now facilitated by advanced technology. Audience demands have changed, and the future promises to be exciting for slots players in the UK. With such a fast-moving and unpredictable market, you’d better buckle up for the ride. For reviews of slots games of all categories, visit our best online slots hub.