Free spins have become an integral part of online slots. And the free spins are inherently different from the normal spins. The major difference is that no wager has to be placed and no amount is deducted from the player’s balance before each spin. Another difference is that the free spins are activated automatically just as in the auto spin feature. But there are several other audio and visual changes that are given effect in many free spins games and these changes enhance the pleasure derived from the slot game.
The most common change, and one that can be perceived in almost all slot games, is the background music in free spins. Online slots that do not offer any background music in the normal spins offer background music in free spins. And online slots that offer background music in normal spins offer peppier background music in free spins. This is usually accompanied by faster spinning of the reels as well. The combined effect is to give a heightened audio visual experience. After all, the free spins will result in extra credits to the player without his having wagered any amount and this is a reason to celebrate.
Apart from this, the changes in the free spins vary considerably across slot games. Many do not have any other changes. Some have changes that are perceptible only to the more alert player and some have very obvious changes. Microgaming uses the following change in some of its slots games. The symbols on the reels do not cover the full area in these slots but are set against a white or light colored background. In the free spins the background color changes to black. Two Microgaming online slots that use this technique are Mayan Princess and Arctic Fortune.
A more effective technique is changing the background to the reels. In slot games the reels are set in a background that enhances the theme of the slot. Recently Realtime Gaming released a slot game called Ocean Dreams. The reels were set on the ocean surface with islands and the setting sun in the distance. During the free spins the background changes to a scene of the ocean depths with different types of fish and anemone on display. A common background change is of day to night or summer to winter. The second type of change is incorporated with telling in the Vegas Technology slot game Big Foot. Big Foot has a camping theme. During the normal spins the sun is shining brightly, the trees have thick leaves and Big Foot’s tracks are seen on the green grass. In the winter scene the sun is diffused and there is snow everywhere. A very subtle change is the owl wearing a woolen cap in the winter scene.
In rare cases one finds slot games in which symbols change in the free spins. Actually the same symbols are portrayed differently and this change tells a story. This has been wonderfully done in the Microgaming online slot Moonshine. Moonshine portrays a rural family distilling illicit liquor. The grandmother on her rocking chair guards the operations with a double barrel gun. In the free spins the rocking chair has toppled over and the grandmother is in an obvious state of stupor. The policeman has come to catch the family red handed. In the free spins he is depicted trussed up and helpless. It is true that these changes have no bearing on the payouts but obviously slots developers take great pains to incorporate these changes so as to make the slot game more interesting.