Unlocking the Magic of Scatter Symbols: Your Guide to Slot Game Adventures

Article by Simon Young
Scatter Symbols
Last Updated: Feb 19th, 2024 Share On Your Network:

Scatter symbols are arguably some of the most exciting symbols in online pokies, representing the chance to earn free spins or trigger a bonus feature and unlock the wonderful prizes within. The introduction of scatter symbols and bonus features to pokies was a massive game changer for the industry, driving a whole new wave of adventure-themed pokies embellished with thrilling features, mini-games, cash prizes, and a rake of new opportunities to bag some extra booty.

It delivered an exciting casino experience to a new category of players – ones more at home enjoying video games with high-quality graphics, well-produced musical soundtracks, and immersive storylines. Scatters, by their very nature, are unpredictable, showing up anywhere within the game grid in various shapes and sizes, offering a plethora of different rewards, and acting to trigger features from any position where they may appear on the reels. They are versatile and dynamic and have changed the face of pokies forever – bringing a thrilling new level of video slot gaming to players that are befitting the 21st century.

Scatter symbols can be considered the gatekeepers of a title’s bonus. They are littered throughout the game to help you unlock adventures, find hidden worlds, activate mini-games, and promises of enormous win potential. These are bonus symbols like wilds, only more useful. Scatter symbols are so-called because they don’t have to align with the game’s paylines to activate features and award prizes. Scatter symbols dance to their own rhythm and deliver a thrilling gameplay experience. Let’s explore the wonderful world of scatter symbols and how they can help Australian pokies players earn fantastic rewards.

How Scatter Symbols Work

Modern video slots contain standard low-paying symbols often represented by familiar icons such as fruits, sevens, gems, and 9-Ace playing card symbols. High-paying symbols are usually directly linked to the game’s theme – think farm animals, hieroglyphs, fishing tackle, cowboy boots, or glitzy symbols of wealth like diamonds and wads of cash. These symbols must satisfy certain conditions outlined in the game’s paytable to award a win. Most commonly, this will involve landing three or more matching symbols along a payline or in the case of scatter pays engines, a minimum number of symbols must be present when the reels stop spinning.

Scatter symbols and wilds are a game’s bonus symbols and don’t play by the same rules. Bonus symbols are your key to unlocking epic win potential. Wilds substitute for regular symbols to help you form winning combos and trigger prizes. Wilds can’t substitute for scatters to trigger features. The game mechanics will dictate the role of the scatter symbol, and it’s worth checking the game rules because there are so many different ways a scatter can behave and influence your game.

As well as sometimes acting like a wild or carrying multiplier values to boost your wins, landing three or more scatters anywhere on the reels can often trigger a bonus game. The most common among these is free spins, but mini-games, pick bonuses, and feature respins are all possibilities. Scatter symbols very much are the chameleons of the pokies world.

Scatter Symbols: Diverse Themes and Variations

As scatter symbols are the highlight of online pokies, representing the best of the game’s bonuses and engaging gameplay, they usually adopt the imagery of the game’s theme or genre. Development studios put massive effort into every aspect of a title’s art direction, ensuring each symbol, character, and animation ties into the theme and combine to deliver a truly immersive gaming experience for players. To this end, you will see scatter symbols taking on the likeness of a game’s protagonist, displaying the title’s logo, or designed to look like a key item or symbol of the time being portrayed – sandstone pillars of ancient civilisations, piggy banks promising access to cash prizes, concrete blocks embossed with hieroglyphs – there is no end to the creativity.  

Providers also have carte blanche to determine the powers of each scatter, whether they carry multipliers, offer free spins in the base game, or cart you off to bonus worlds where entirely new games sit waiting to provide you with jackpots, cash prizes, respins and more. Some scatters can double up as wilds, offer payouts in the base game, or morph into other symbols once the bonus feature is activated. There are so many options with scatters; they wear the many hats of online slots and can be seen as the precursors of possibilities.

Pragmatic Play’s Big Bass series of pokies offers fantastic bonus games. For example, the scatter symbol in Big Bass Amazon Xtreme is the big bass himself. When three or more land in the base game, he triggers the bonus, which transports players to a pick bonus arena to select some thrilling game modifiers for the free spins bonus. Landing further scatter symbols during the free spins features will trigger a respin as the scatter moves one position down the reels for added chances to win more free spins and increased win potential.  In Fire vs Ice from Pariplay, the flaming scatter symbols activate the free spins bonus. You need at least three to trigger the bonus. However, the more triggering scatters landed, the more free spins were awarded.

Additional scatters landed during the feature also offer the chance to win more free spins. The beautifully designed Densho slot from Hacksaw Gaming takes this to the next level, awarding a boosted Super Free Spins bonus for landing four triggering scatter symbols that jump-start you up the feature’s progression ladder.  With so many variables, it is easy to understand why scatter symbols rule the pokies roost and why it’s handy to check each game’s rules and paytable to find out the best way to trigger those bonus features and bag yourself some terrific wins.

Scatter Symbol Features and Functions

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With so many possibilities on offer, thanks to the inclusion of scatter symbols and bonus rounds in online pokies, it can be easy to lose track. We break down the most common functions you can expect to see performed by these useful icons when playing online video slots:

  • Scatter Pays – the symbol’s namesake and often a bonus freebie before launching into a feature game. Scatter symbols can create winning combos and payout from anywhere on the reels.
  • Free Spins Bonus – the most common bonus feature in pokies is the free spins round. Most likely triggered by landing three or more scatters on the reels. Can be played on the main game grid or in a separate bonus arena. 
  • Bonus Rounds – can take on many forms and usually involve a wee trip to a special bonus arena or to play a mini-game, sometimes with an entirely new set of symbols.
  • Scatter Wilds – some games allow scatters to act as wild symbols, too, so they substitute for regular symbols to help you form winning combos and earn rewards.
  • Sticky Scatters – Money Train 4 utilises this function in its Money Cart Bonus; the scatter symbol remains stuck in place for the bonus duration to earn multipliers on every spin. This title’s scatter symbol is one of the mightiest of all, with its ability to morph into a multiplier, travel to the bonus arena with you, and ride out the entire feature. An impressive use of a scatter’s functionality by the development team and a lucrative symbol indeed.

Maximising Wins with Scatter Symbols

Scatter symbols add an interesting dynamic to online pokies with endless gameplay possibilities and thrilling added win potential. If you want to know how to maximise your wins using scatter symbols when playing online slots, then follow our tips below:


Make sure you know what’s going on!

Game rules and payouts vary massively from title to title, so you must have a firm understanding of the game you’re playing. Read the paytable, find the casino’s house edge and RTP offered, and check the game variance so you know what you’re up against.

Choose games that suit your play style

Not all pokies are created equal, and no two players are alike. Casinos offering free-to-play slots so you can have some practice spins beforehand are always useful for finding a suitable game for you.

Manage your bankroll

Set your limits and stick to them. It’s easy to get drawn into these immersive and thrilling games, so setting your limits at the start will help to ensure you don’t go over budget.

Always gamble responsibly.

Remember that online gambling is supposed to be an enjoyable pastime that helps you to relax. Don’t bet more than you can afford; take breaks and seek help if needed. So many great resources are available to help you, either online, in person, or over the phone.

Multipliers and Scatter Symbols

Often, a scatter symbol will carry a multiplier value and award the bonus games, which are applied to your wager amount and awarded when three or more scatters land. This usually occurs before the feature begins and is not impacted by what occurs in the bonus. Some games will carry the multiplier scatter through to the feature, like Relax Gaming’s Money Train 4, which we mentioned before. 

In this title, the scatter symbol is a stone block embossed with the word BONUS, a fitting symbol for an underground mining adventure. The Money Cart Bonus is triggered and played out in a different arena when three blocks land on the game grid. The multiplier scatter sticks in position for the duration of the feature, multiplying your wins on every spin for a seriously supercharged prize pot!

Progressive Jackpots and Scatter Symbols

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You will often also find scatter symbols in progressive jackpot slots. Remembering that the jackpots are triggered randomly and not influenced by scatter symbols. Still, scatters that lead to bonus features make these networked slots more exciting for jackpot players. Dream Drop Diamonds from Relax Gaming is just such a title. The Dream Drop progressive slot network is proving hugely popular worldwide with its Dream Drop Bonus game randomly triggered in the base game.

This game also has a scatter symbol – represented by a dazzling diamond with BONUS written underneath – which triggers the free spins bonus when three or more land. The game’s tumbling reels mechanic increases the likelihood of landing the scatters as symbols forming winning combos vanish from the game grid to make way for new symbols. If you’re looking for strategies for playing progressive jackpot slots, just remember that these games tend to have a lower RTP than normal pokies, as a percentage of your wager is fed into the jackpot. However, This results in some epic win potential if you are lucky enough to trigger a jackpot.

Scatter Symbols in Different Slot Variants

Scatter symbols are more closely associated with adventure slots, modern video games that promise more than just the reel-spinning action of classic pokies. Adventure slots are like the next level up, with narratives that weave throughout the action, characters and quests, stories of ancient civilisations, infamous heists, alien abductions and any other setting or storyline your brain can conceive.

In each of these games, the artwork, soundscapes and iconography all work together to support the storyline and help to create an atmosphere and ambience that draw players into the game, caught up in the adventure as you seek out bonus games, jackpots, and prizes. Scatter symbols are the perfect tool to provide the extra level of excitement expected from games of this nature and make adventure pokies some of the most popular the world over. 

Classic three-reel machines are less likely to include scatters, or if they do, they only have quite basic functions compared to what we’re used to seeing in adventure slots. Diamond Duke from Quickspin is an excellent example of a classic pokie machine with a basic bonus feature – the bonus wheel, which sits above the reels. You need only land two of the game’s scatter symbols to earn yourself a spin of the bonus reel and the chance to earn a multiplier. As developers continue to explore the myriad ways they can incorporate new bonus features and mechanics into online pokies, we reap the rewards as scatter symbols take on more and more responsibilities to embellish gameplay and award players.

Some of the most inventive uses of scatters we have seen are games like Tombstone RIP from Nolimit City, which has an intricate set of bonus features and games triggered by various scatter symbols and enhanced with modifiers.  Another fantastic use of these bonus symbols is Jammin’ Jars from Push Gaming. This sticky cluster game has one scatter symbol to rule them all – the Jam Jar. This colourful chap acts as the game’s wild to help you form wins, collects multipliers that are applied to wins it creates, and triggers the free spins feature that can haul in some impressive wins thanks to the game’s cascade mechanic.  There’s nothing these tremendous symbols can’t do. You can find them unlocking reels, offering payouts, triggering bonus features and awarding free spins; they act as wilds and multiply wins. The more inventive developers become, the more thrills these special bonus symbols will no doubt unveil.

Case Studies and Real-Life Examples

While there have certainly been more high-paying online slot wins that have come as a result of hitting progressive jackpots such as Games Global’s Mega Moolah network or Mega Fortune from NetEnt, that isn’t to say you can’t win big on bonuses. There have been multiple significant wins on online pokies that have been won by playing out bonus features. One of the most notable was when a Twitch streamer known as Trainwreck won a whopping $22.5 million playing the Might of Ra game by Pragmatic Play.

This happened in 2021 when he placed a $100 bet spin and triggered the bonus round by landing the prescribed amount of scatter symbols. During the free spins, he was awarded a massive 225,000x multiplier on his stake, resulting in this fantastic win that came very close to breaking the record. Another highlight win was in 2019 when a Swedish player won the 111,111x multiplier promised in NetEnt’s Dead or Alive 2 game to earn himself the equivalent of USD$2.4 million playing the free spins bonus feature. 

Another excellent example of the force of these powerful scatters was when Big Time Gaming’s Lil Devil slot game paid out USD$1.3 million to a player in the UK after he triggered the enhanced heartstopper free spins feature from a 10-cent bet. And the Jammin’ Jars game we mentioned earlier awarded a player in Norway 20,000x off a $60 bet after the free spins feature was triggered when he landed those mighty jam jars.

While not so common, these impressive wins are possible and demonstrate how bonus features and scatters can help these thrilling pokies pay out vast sums of money without relying on networked progressive jackpots. Please bear in mind, however, that online slots are not guaranteed to pay out, so you mustn’t go into a session expecting to hit big wins. Gambling online is not an alternative to a reliable income and should be approached with caution. Play sensibly and within your means, and you can enjoy plenty of excitement while playing with all the bonus features, modifiers and clever mechanics that help deliver an enhanced and thrilling gameplay experience.  

Responsible Gambling Practices

When it comes to any type of gambling, online or at land-based casinos, you must always exercise safer gambling practices. Remember that online gambling is designed as a form of entertainment and not a valid way of making a living, so you should only gamble within your means. Heaps of resources are available to ensure you always remain safe while playing online casino games, including several services available through online casinos.

Many operators offer facilities to impose limits on your gambling – whether wagering, time, or loss limits. You can set these before commencing your session so you don’t go over. Additionally, casinos will send ‘reality checks’ designed to remind you of your gameplay length and encourage you to take breaks. If you do feel you need further help, plenty of national and state organisations can help – such as the National Gambling Helpline and the BetStop self-exclusion register.

You can also find local help in each state and territory, like Gambling Help QLD or GambleAware NSW, all offering comprehensive tools and resources and friendly advisors to speak with if you feel you are losing control. Remember, gambling is supposed to be a fun activity. As soon as the fun stops, it’s time to seek help. 

Conclusion and Next Steps

So there you have it, a breakdown of the wonders of these delightful little bonus symbols and the great rewards they can unleash. Available across various game genres, themes and platforms, scatters come in all different shapes and sizes and perform differing roles from game to game.

While there are certain attributes that thread through many popular games – the landing of three or more to trigger bonus rounds, not abiding by a game’s paylines, or taking on the game’s title or protagonist character in its appearance – they can also be wildly different and take you on unique adventures, through whole new worlds and introduce you to thrilling modifiers designed to enhance your game and boost your wins. 

Fans who like a little more adventure, enjoy immersive video slots with engaging narratives and relish the unpredictability of high-variance gameplay should explore the wonders these mysterious little symbols can offer. Go forth and find your scatters and enjoy whatever magical adventures they may lead you on as you search for bonus wins.

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