- How Starburst Became the Most Popular Slot Game Ever
- Starburst is one of the most consumed slot titles on the planet
- Starburst captures the essence of the ludicrously addictive Bejeweled casual game
How Starburst Became the Most Popular Slot Game Ever. Starburst is one of the first slot titles that spring to mind when experienced slot players think about the most popular game in iGaming history. This colourful yet simplistic slot has captured the imagination of slot players across the globe.
It’s still one of the primary games included in slot promotions, with free spins reserved for the Starburst reels with many leading iGaming operators. Within this article, we analyse the success of the Starburst slot franchise, who were the brains behind it and what makes it such an enduring slot franchise in the iGaming industry.
Who developed Starburst?
Starburst was the marquee slot release by Swedish iGaming software developer NetEnt. The company, which was founded in 1996 at the dawn of the iGaming scene, invested significant sums in the Starburst concept, given the lack of futuristic-style slots at the time of its launch.
What is the premise of the Starburst slot?
Starburst was released around the time when slot games were designed to be fully responsive, offering slick and consistent user experiences on any device or screen size. That’s why – nine years after its release – it’s still considered a “top-tier game” by mobile casino sites like 888 that are licensed and regulated to operate in the increasingly active New Jersey iGaming scene.
In essence, Starburst is a fusion of futuristic and casual gem-themed games. After the craze of Microsoft’s Bejeweled on desktop and laptop devices, gem games have genuine pick-up-and-play appeal. They are easy to grasp and keep up with the fast-paced action, as you spin in search of valuable gem combinations on the reels.
Although Starburst is designed to offer simplistic, casual gameplay, it’s also underpinned by a futuristic look and feel. Its cosmic appearance, coupled with a ultramodern soundtrack, help to create an intergalactic, other-worldly atmosphere. Given that some people are prepared to pay $55m to fly into outer space, it’s no surprise that people are fascinated by the Starburst theme.
A guide to Starburst symbols
If you want to understand how the Starburst slot works, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the base game symbols on the reels first. There are only eight symbols active on the reels of Starburst. Although that is significantly fewer than most of the newest slot titles, it does make it easier to learn the values and features of each symbol that appears.
The lowest-paying base game symbols in Starburst are the purple and blue gems. They will pay between 0.5x and 2.5x multipliers when you land between three and five symbol combinations on a payline. That’s followed by another trio of coloured gems. The orange gem is worth between 0.7x and 4x multipliers for three to five symbol combinations.
The green gem is worth between 0.8x and 5x multipliers for three to five symbol combinations. The yellow gem is the most valuable of all five coloured gems, worth between 1x and 6x for three to five symbol combos. This is where things get a little more interesting and potentially more lucrative. The red lucky seven symbol is worth up to 12x multipliers for five-symbol combinations. The futuristic ‘BAR’ symbol is a nod to the classic fruit machine slots of yesteryear, with payouts worth up to 25x possible for five-symbol combinations.
Although Starburst does not contain a bonus scatter symbol, it does contain a wild symbol. This is the multi-coloured star symbol, which can appear anywhere on the middle three reels. It is designed to replace any of the base game symbols on these reels to try and improve the value of symbol combinations.
What are the features of the Starburst slot?
In terms of the game dynamics of the Starburst slot, it’s important to note that this was one of the first ‘win both ways’ slot titles. Symbol combinations can be formed right to left as well as left to right. When you fill reels entirely with matching symbols you can get double the fun.
Unlike most next-generation online slots which have multiple bonus features, Starburst relies on the success of its solitary bonus game – the Starburst Wilds mode. Unsurprisingly, this bonus feature is centred around its wild symbol. Whenever a wild symbol appears on reels two, three or four, it will automatically trigger the Starburst Wilds feature.
The wild symbol expands to fill the entire reel it lands on, giving you a fully wild reel. That reel is locked in place for one additional free spin. If another Starburst wild lands on any other reel, it too will expand to create a new fully wild reel. It’s possible to turn reels two, three and four fully wild with three successive re-spins.
Why is Starburst still holding its own?
The simple fact that many other slot developers have sought to try and imitate NetEnt’s classic Starburst highlight just how great a game this is. As Starburst is designed to played as a low-to-medium variance slot, it’s also a game that should yield regular wins to keep things interesting.
Many seasoned online slot players still play Starburst because of its nostalgia. It’s a symbol of the iGaming sector’s ‘boom’ period.
Recent slot releases from NetEnt
If you are interested in exploring what NetEnt has to offer in terms of its more recent slot offerings, the Swedish slot innovators have served up a red-hot branded title based on the Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen television series. With the reels set within Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, the game is oozing with visuals and soundbites from the show to transport you into the intense atmosphere of Ramsay’s culinary competition.
Elsewhere in the legalized US iGaming market, the New Jersey and Pennsylvania markets have recently received the Divine Fortune Megaways slot, which is a twist on the iconic Divine Fortune slot that is almost as popular as Starburst, giving you many more paylines to play with.