If there is any slot virtually every online player has enjoyed spinning the reels on, then it must be Starburst from NetEnt. For years now, it has been in the top of the industry charts as one of the most played slots, which is remarkable considering that it was released back in 2012, has a simple gameplay and low variance as well as no free spins feature or bonus game. A simple respin feature that kicks in when a wild lands on the reels is all there is to it, and that might very well be part of the attraction. Simple, yet has a flashy appearance with lots of noise when the wilds land.
However, one of the main reasons that it topped the charts for so long is that casino operators use it extremely often to hand out free spins, extra spin, bonus spins, cash spins, no-wager spins or whatever other name they invented. It mostly serves as part of a no-deposit bonus given to new players, which explains why the absolute majority will have spun the reels on it at some point.
Starburst is a video slot with five reels, three rows and since the transition to HTML5 ten fixed pay lines. Wins are awarded both ways for three to five symbols on a line from left to right and from right to left. You can let the stars burst on desktop, mobile and tablet from as little as 0.10 up to 100 credits per spin. The RTP of this low variance game is set at 96.09%.
Game designs don’t come more basic yet modern than on Starburst. A simple dark purple background, a frameless game window and a few lightning-style animations when the wilds expand. Gems in different colours feature on the reels, while a generic soundtrack keeps things lively when little happens.
The simplicity continues with the pay symbols. They start at the low end with purple, blue, orange, green and yellow gems, paying 2.5x to 6x your bet for a five of a kind. They are followed by 7s and bars with wins for a five of a kind increasing to 12x to 25x your stake. The famous octagram in rainbow colours is the wild symbol, appearing on reels two, three and four only and substituting for all symbols.
There is barely enough happening to call it a feature but we had to give it a name and on top, it is the only extra on this slot. Whenever a wild lands anywhere on the centre reels on a spin, it will expand to cover the entire reel. It will then turn into a stick wild after any potential wins are paid and award a respin. The procedure repeats when more wilds land on the respin until either no new land on a respin or all three centre reels are wild. Wins are paid after every respin.
As a five of a kind is also paid both ways, the maximum win comes in at 500x bet for a full screen of bars. It can be of course higher when a spin sequence goes over multiple respins.
The simplicity of Starburst is baffling and probably one of the main reasons for its immense success. When looking at Starburst, I always have the feeling that NetEnt was under pressure to release a game and had to come up with something quickly. They then took a generic game grid and threw some symbols on it with a few fancy animations and sounds….voila, Starburst was born.
Overall, it is a low to medium variance game that will give you mostly long gaming sessions, even on smaller balances but don’t expect monster wins. We have yet to see a full screen of bars in over 7 years since the slot was released, which raises the question whether it actually is possible to hit.