Fruit Slots Guide – Free Online Fruit Machine Slot Games
Why Fruits? We’ll come to that in time, but for whatever reason, fruity-related slots remain a popular staple of the online video slots market.
The truth of the matter is that the fruit slot is a relatively superficial distinction. Another way of looking at these games is as retro slots or classic slots, a style of game that tends to prioritise slightly less technical gameplay, and has a simpler set up.
These games hark back in time, and some fruit slots can even be mock-ups of old-style fruit machines of the sort that were known as fruit machines in the UK.
Playing fruit slots is not much different from playing any other slot, so you may as well give this style of game a go. The aesthetics have some common features – which we’ll cover in this fruit slots guide – but online fruit slot machines these days can look like 9-bit graphics or superb 3D renderings of future space fruits!
Let’s start by asking the big question first: not why are we here, why doesn’t he/she love me, or how long will Frank Lampard last at Chelsea, but: why the hell do we play games with fruit symbols at all?!
The History of the Fruit Slots
Fruits are there to get around the law.
The brave lemon, melon, orange and grape are all buccaneering pirates of illegality!
The slot machine is a gambling game, whether it’s in a cabinet in a bar or casino or on a screen in your hand. And if anyone tells you that “nothing is original” they’re not being clever (or original) they’re absolutely right, and slots took their inspiration from previous gambling games, in fact, the first slots were just automated card games.
The first slot reels actually had playing cards glued to them. Around and around they went and when they stopped they would deliver a poker hand. The first games had five drums to match a dealt hand of poker. Prizes were handed out by the machine’s owner (probably a saloon keeper with a huge moustache).
These games proved a hit and started to spread. As they did, new producers came into the market and started to produce variants.
Card games produce a lot of complex hands, with a huge variety of odds. So, to really automate the gambling experience, the game needed to be simplified. Two of the five reels were ditched to give the three-reel set-up of the classic slot, and the deck of cards was ditched. The house edge in those early games was delivered by removing two of the 52 cards in a standard pack, but that still leaves 50 unique symbols to be considered, and late 19th-century machinery was no way sophisticated enough to turn that into an automated pay-out. Cards were chucked out to be replaced with symbols.
A man called Charles Fey made some of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of slots, and he gave us a lot of the symbols we still use today. Lucky horseshoes and patriotic (he was American) Liberty Bells joined the suits of the card deck.
With just three reels and a very cut down set of symbols, it became possible to use the mechanics of the time to deliver automated pay-outs for prizes.
This made the fruit machines even more popular.
This popularity was a double-edged sword because the games started to come up against the confused and puritan-inspired world of American law. Gambling was frowned upon and often illegal. A machine that looked like a poker game was always going to have trouble convincing legislators that it was anything more than another way to deliver a gambling game.
And that’s what the machine makers were trying to do. In the end, the fruit machine was represented as a type of vending machine! Cash prizes went out, the cards were gone. The prizes went back to the food and drink that the original machines had paid out. Chewing gum was something of a novelty product, and also came in small packages that could be easily stored in machines without going off. Hence, the gum machine (you can still gamble for gum in some arcade games today). And many gums came in fruit flavours.
In come those fruit symbols! Designed to fool legislators that the games they were trying to regulate were really just innocent gum selling machines.
Some of the other classic symbols of our beloved online slot games come from this era.
The BAR is a logo for the Bell-Fruit Gum Company.
A World of Fruits – the Symbols on your Fruit Slot Game
Fruit gums come in a relatively small palate of flavours, but it’s probably to them that we owe the colourful fruits we see today. It also helps that these chosen fruits are easily represented in a simple, graphical format, are relatively internationally recognised (in the age of the internet), and look nice and colourful.
These days fruit slots do not always pay homage to retro style. The fruit symbols might be represented in simple drawings, or in state of the art graphics.
Let’s look at an example of a fruity pay-table from an extremely retro fruit game, Fruit Slots, a 2013 game by Microgaming.
This pay-table is really retro.
At the bottom are cherries. Next up are lemons. Then oranges. Then plums. And then (water) melons. All very easy to understand, all with clearly defined colours (red cherries, yellow lemons, orange oranges, purple plums, green and pink watermelons).
Because this is a retro game, the top of the paytable is filled out with bar symbols.
Now let’s compare that with a modern take on a fruit game.
Fruit Warp from Thunderkick puts its fruits in space. It’s innovative in a million different ways, but it’s still a fruit game.
These fruits aren’t all our classic favourites though.
Here we start with cherries, then plums, then strawberries, and oranges. After that things get more exotic, with bananas, grapes, starfruit, kiwano, and dragonfruit completing the paytable.
Now, this says a little bit about increasing global trade and the mundanity of once-exotic food products in European countries. It also says a lot about slot design and fruit slots.
Fruit Slots v Classic Slots
For most slots players the first of those two slots (Microgaming’s Fruit Slots) will be the one that they identify as a fruit slot.
Fruit Warp might have those beautiful looking fruits floating around in space, but it doesn’t look like a classic fruit game, so it’s likely to be classified as something different.
Fruit machines use a set of symbols, but to many people, the designation also means they’re backwards-looking, retro, and (most-commonly) classic.
These games tend not only to use a set of classic symbols but also a classic way of operating. So fruit slots are more likely to be simple: they’re more likely than other styles of games to have three reels rather than five, they’re less likely to have more than five reels; they’re more likely to use a simple spin to deliver symbols into sets; they’re more likely to mimic off-line cabinet games.
That’s not to say that fruit slots will be unsophisticated. They will have bonus games, for example, but these games are more likely to be simple or to mimic the games from old-fashioned real-life machines.
Style and Genre in the Online Slots World
Here we’re going to take a bit of a diversion into marketing.
Most slots are very similar.
They take a random event and invite you to bet on it. The mathematics behind the games is very similar, with the vast majority of games delivering a theoretical return to player of around 96%. The vast majority of games have five reels and three rows of visible symbols. The paytables of the vast majority of games are very similar. Most players who have played one slot game can play all the others on offer without even thinking about it.
The fundamentals of the games – a spin, a set of symbols providing a prize, an increasing level of prizes for increasingly unlikely outcomes – are the same every time.
So why are you offered a choice of thousands of apparently different games on your favourite casino sites?!
To stop you from getting bored is the short answer. An online slot machine is essentially a piece of mathematics: the fundamentals of the game could be delivered by a thread of random numbers flowing across your screen and stopping every now and then, delivering you a financial prize every now and then as the algorithm dictates.
But where’s the fun in that?
Capitalism demands variety. Otherwise, we’d simply get on with our lives and meet our needs. And who wants that, when you can have 500 different flavours of soda, and chocolate shaped like a space ship, and a new filter on your online photos.
You get the picture.
So, in the slot market, the illusion of variety is usually provided in-game skins: the graphics, sound, animation, and the symbols chosen. And to help players make sense of it all this variety is forced into a limited number of genres and styles.
These are all very elastic categories, with potentially broad definitions, but players tend to end up liking one of them particularly: maybe fantasy slots, or high-roller slots, or sci-fi slots and will go to those titles first.
Really, the games are all pretty much exactly the same but with different aesthetics. But these categories become either fashionable or unpopular, or people can use them to showcase their parasocial relationships with various celebrities, or supposed allegiance to whatever film franchise they have decided represents their world view then companies produce newly coloured versions of exactly the same game.
And fruit slots fit into this universe.
If you like them, you like them, and that’s fine.
Back to the Future: Why Retro Works Now
Classic games are popular, and perhaps increasingly popular at the moment. You’ll find a load of new fruit slot and classic slot releases every month.
Why should that be?
With increased internet speeds and device tech surely games should be continuing to get more sophisticated and complex.
If players wanted that they probably would. And the message we get from the success of more recent fruit slot and classic slot games is that players still value these games.
The first reason is their simplicity. Sometimes you might want to get into an involved game, with character symbols and multi-level free spins rounds. Sometimes you just want a nice simple click-and-spin game where you don’t need to think too hard about what’s happening next.
It’s also true that as more and more players switch to mobile gaming, very complex and sophisticated graphics and animation can get lost on these smaller screens. Mobile games work very well with a smaller playing area – blown up to full size – and with graphics that everyone understands at a glance.
Some Fruit Slot Examples
Let’s take a look at a few popular fruit slot titles to see what you might expect from a game.
We’ve tried to look at a decent cross-section of these games, but it’s impossible to cover everything in a guide like this and you should always make sure that you read the full instructions on any game you play – even if it is a simple looking fruit slot.
1 – A Classic Fruit Slot
Grand Spinn comes from NetEnt and is so classic that it’s based on an Art Deco-style machine. Its release in July 201 only goes to highlight how current the past is!
This is super-retro with just three reels and a single pay line. The nudge feature also harks back to the days of the fruit machine in pubs and clubs.
The symbols are classic fruity: cherries, plums, oranges, and watermelons are the fruits. The other symbols also come from the classic lexicon: bars and sevens, with a wild on top of it all.
The bonuses are simple. A nudge feature allows you to keep moving reels while you win (though it’s more sophisticated than the features from old cabinet games). Wilds are simply wilds, with multipliers added to some. There are no free spins.
2 – A Hybrid Fruit Slot
Aloha! Cluster Pays comes from NetEnt too. It features fruit symbols, but there the similarity with the classic fruit sort of ends. This game features an innovative set-up of six reels and five rows, and non-standard pay-outs coming from clusters rather than pay-lines.
The game is a hybrid of a classic fruit style slot with a culture-themed Hawaiian slot. Alongside the fruits are totems from the Pacific islands, and Hawaiian flowers. Even the fruits are non-standard, with coconuts and pineapples doing duty for the more standard cherries, plums and so on.
The game is complex, with sticky re-spins and a big free spins feature.
But the fruit lineage is still there.
3 – A Remixed Fruit
Reel Rush is another NetEnt title. It takes the fruit theme and sticks to it, but remixes it into a retro-futuristic game that acknowledges the historic fruit theming in a clever self-conscious way.
The game was released in 2013 and has five reels. The fruits are represented by nine-bit style old-school gaming graphics. They’re classic fruits – strawberries, pineapple, lemon, watermelon, grapes, and plums (plus sweets and a wild) – but shown in a clever, new way.
The game is more sophisticated than a classic slot, with a reel rush feature (a respin) and a custom number of pay lines. The main bonus is a free spins feature.
4 – A Future Fruit
Fruit Warp from Thunderkick is a fruit slot, but it’s one that takes the aesthetic of the fruit and runs way off into space with it.
There are fruit symbols, but that’s about all that is standard or classic about this game, which is a long way removed from the cabinet fruit machines where the symbols were born.
There are no pay-lines, no real reels even, and the symbols seem to float in space.
The fruits are non-standard too with dragonfruit, kiwanos, and starfruits joining the more traditional grapes, bananas, oranges, plums, and cherries.
Thunderkick (and a lot of Swedish design studios) tend to plough their own furrough, and this game is no exception with its unique bonus games adding gameplay depth. There’s a free spin round too.
How to Win at Fruit Slots
The good thing about fruit slots is that they are simple. So our simple message here is well suited to them.
There is no special way to win at fruit slots, as there is no way to win at any slots. Your best bet is to play fruit slots (and all slots) for fun and to largely disregard the potential for winning money.
Any site that tells you that there is some secret trick – of timing or of staking – that will guarantee you wins is lying to you.
Do not use such sites.
Today’s Top Fruit Slot Games
We’ve looked at a couple of industry sites to check out the charts and see which fruit games are flying out of the fruit bowl.
Popularity isn’t the be-all and end-all of course, but if you check out these games you’ll be getting what players enjoy at the moment.
1 – Fruit Case by NetEnts
Fruit Case is a 20-line slot with fruit symbols with a difference – they appear to have faces!
The game comes with an avalanche feature that works as a respin with an increasing multiplier. The theming takes fruits and mashes them up, with blenders (the free-spin triggering bonus symbol) and jam jars adding to the fruity feel of this rather domesticated fruity slot.
2 – Scary Fruits by World Match
This is a classic-style fruit with five reels and three rows, but the fruit slots are warped into monstrous mutants.
This is not a classic fruit, and fits into our hybrid category, with its filmic, horror elements and sophisticated gameplay, including a five-level free spins round.
3 – Fruits of the Nile by Playson
More like a classic fruit in gameplay, but with a hybrid feel to its look, Fruits of the Nile throws in some Egyptian elements with scarab and star symbols. It’s an original and not too complex game that should have broad appeal.
4 – Winter Berries by Yggdrasil
This Swedish game house has won a big following by doing things differently so you should expect their fruit title to be a remix.
Winter Berries dumps the classic fruits for the berries of the northern tundra – very lovely they are too. All Yggdrasil games play beautifully and look like a million dollars. This game, with its relatively straightforward gameplay, is no exception.
5 – Wild Fruits by Endorphina
Something of a mash-up, Wild Fruits takes our classic fruit game and plasters on a Wild West theme for good measure.
It’s quite a simple game, but in a nicely muted and sophisticated style that was popular around its 2015 release date. A hybrid fruit that you’ll likely enjoy if you like a shootout as well as a fruit salad.
6 – Wild Cherries by Booming Games
This future fruit takes the fruit theme into an eco-themed world of futuristic graphics and sophisticated gameplay. It’s a deep and rewarding game with some wonderful graphics.
7 – Fruit Shop by NetEnt
This is a real classic fruit with a retro feel in all sense of the word. Simple gameplay and graphics provide a flat, real-world look to the game that might fool you you’re standing in a British pub.
8 – Fruitoids by Yggdrasil
Animations and special effects add the spice to this fruity game by Yggdrasil that features their usual strengths – innovation and beautiful design.
9 – Fruit Zen by Betsoft
This game is really just a classic fruit slot with a slight Japanese culture overlay. It offers great gameplay and nice looks and adds the exotic extra of a massive top prize.
10 – Berryburst Max by NetEnt
NetEnt are reliably good value and this is an excellent take on the fruit remix, with spacey futuristic graphics and feel combined with the latest gameplay innovations.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our fruit salad of a guide to fruit slots. There’s a lot to enjoy in fruit slots and because they tend to be more classic games they’re a great way for beginners to try a slot game for the first time. Jump into the fruit bowl!