Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create a highly successful video slot – in fact, more often than not, it’s enough to simply tinker with its design to create something unforgettably unique. Other great examples include Captain Venture and Dolphins Pearl, they both have the same game play, just different graphics.
With Starburst, this was clearly the philosophy over at NetEnt when the Scandinavian-founded software providers set about creating Starburst – an incredibly popular online video slot that somehow manages to combine the simplicity of an arcade-style game with the steady excitement of a superb in-reel bonus.
In typical NetEnt fashion, the game doesn’t include any extra features per se, but is rather built around a simple in-reel incentive that can have an incredible bearing on players’ earning potential. While we’ll get into this aspect of gameplay in a little more detail later on, suffice to say that game adheres to the studio’s typical standards of excellence in terms of design, animation, sound and all-round playability.
A simple yet colourful slot, the five reels in Starburst are adorned with a variety of differently coloured gem stones, with the iconic lucky seven and BAR logo accounting for the game’s two highest value icons. Five of the latter on any valid payline will award a top prize of 250x players’ bet per line amount, while the frequency of their wins will be boosted significantly by the presence of two-way paylines.
Essentially a fast-paced slot that doesn’t attempt to overwhelm players with any complicated rules or bet modes, the main source of excitement in Starburst are the wild symbols that give the game its name. These special, multi-coloured icons appear only on the game’s three central reels – but when they do, a remarkable transformation occurs that can potentially land players a prize of 50,000 coins.
As with all our slot reviews, lets start with the featured symbols. The way the Starburst wilds work is actually as straightforward as it is ingenious. Should one of these beauties appear on the second, third or fourth reel, it will expand to fill all three column spaces. Payline wins will then be calculated and awarded to players with an incredibly satisfying “combo” animation, before the reels are respun once more at no extra cost with the wilds icons locked in place.
Essentially, this gives players a free shot at landing additional wins with the benefit of a full stack of wilds helping them to complete payline combinations. The fun doesn’t stop there, however, as landing a subsequent Starburst wild will re-trigger the same scenario, thereby creating a situation where it’s possible to have a 3×3 grid of wild symbols locked in the centre of the gameboard for your last respin.
Of course, it goes without saying that any symbols that appear will now guarantee at least a four-of-a-kind win (the icon on reel one or five plus the three Starburst wilds in the centre), but if players are really lucky, things will line-up just right for them and create multiple five-of-a-kind symbol combinations. These will pay out both from left-to-right and right-to-left for truly astronomical prizes.
As mentioned above, the Starburst wild mechanic – and the subsequent respins that it triggers – is the only thing in the game that could be considered a bonus feature, but thankfully it comes around so frequently that the absence of a free spins mode or pick-and-click game is almost entirely forgivable. Indeed, not only do the respins result in frequent wins; they also speed up the gameplay dramatically.
In terms of how the game’s theoretical maximum prize of 50,000 coins is calculated, this is only available when BAR symbols or a combination of BAR symbols and Starburst wilds completely fill the reels. When this happens, players will receive 250x their line bet for each of the game’s 10 paylines counting left-to-right (10 x 250 = 2,500) and then the same amount again for all paylines right-to-left.
Given the largest stake players can place on a payline is 10 coins, that means there’s a top award of 5,000 coins available on each one – resulting in a maximum jackpot of 50,000x your chosen currency.
There’s no denying that Starburst is one of the most popular NetEnt titles ever created – and after looking at the game in a bit more detail, it’s not particularly hard to see why. The slot does away with complicated bonus features in favour of a simple yet rewarding respins mechanic, with this in turn speeding up gameplay and ensuring that big wins are available on any given spin. Something of a fan favourite at PartyCasino, players can even enjoy the game for free as part of our Welcome Package!