Star Gods (Golden Rock Studios): Overview
Star Gods is Golden Rock Studio’s first slot so far to make use of ever popular Asian themes. At first glance, it might seem that Star Gods suffers from the adolescent naming scheme that Volatile Slot suffered from. Dig a little deeper, and you discover that the three stars – fortune, prosperity and longevity are the most popular Chinese gods. Commonly known as Fu, Lu, and Shou, this smiling trio are no strangers to the gambling world and make up the three Star Gods in this new, aptly named, slot.
If you load up the game on a mobile device, make sure it's tilted on landscape to soak in more of the Asian ambience. This is provided by an eastern soundtrack and reels placed on a bamboo frame, surrounded by lotus ponds, temples on hills, and a blazing sun-filled sky. The scene is classically Asian, and quite pleasing to the eye. Overall the visual and audio impact is of a higher standard than it was with Volatile Slot. Symbols are better too with all of them in theme and custom made for Star Gods.
On the lower end of the paytable are 4 different coloured coins – green, gold, silver, and bronze. They are those old-style Chinses coins with the square cut out of the middle. Incidentally, they were done like that to make them easier to transport and shape a bunch at the same time. The premium symbols are a sealed letter, a waving fortune cat, and a pagoda-like structure. The last is worth 30 times the stake for five of a kind.
Three or more symbols are needed to create a winning combination on one of the 10 paylines. They pay right to left as well as left to right, which effectively doubles the win ways to 20. Players choose bets from 10 p/c up to £/€200 per spin to set everything in motion. The game is played over 5 reels and 3 rows and comes with a high volatility. RTP is acceptable on 95.97% which is slightly lower than Volatile Slot. On the other hand, the hit rate is slightly higher at 25.25%.
Star Gods (Golden Rock Studios): Features
The features are a little different. If we told you that the scatter triggers just 2 free spins from the base game you’d be excused for shunning Star Gods in disgust. Like we said though, they are a little different, and those win spins are guaranteed to dish out coins. Whether big or small, free spins and respins always result in payouts. Let’s back up a step and look at the wilds first, which have a role in triggering them.
The star symbol is wild, and it can appear on reels 2, 3, and 4. When it lands, it becomes a Stacked Wild which reveals a different god and takes over a whole reel. It also awards a Win Respin. With a win respin, the outcome can only ever be positive. When a winner lands it is paid out, and the respin is complete. If no winner lands, the reels respin again and again until a winning combination is formed. If another wild lands on a respin, it triggers another win respin whether there was a winner or not.
One other outcome can occur. The game has a scatter in the form of a gold ingot symbol which appears on reel 1. Whenever it lands at the same time as a wild, it triggers the Free Win Spins Bonus feature. This can happen during win respins, or whenever a wild and scatter lands in the base game.
Before the two free win spins kick off, Star Gods celebrates with a brief fireworks display. During this bonus game, if there is a spin without a winner, an additional spin is added. The wilds that triggered the feature also remain in place for the duration. Any new wild that land are also held in place, while adding another free win spin. If the scatter lands again during the bonus round it awards an additional 2-5 free wins spin.
One last point is the Comeback feature. If the initial two free win spins are not retriggered during the round, and there is only one stacked wild on the reels the game can award two more additional spins.
Star Gods (Golden Rock Studios): Verdict
Good on Golden Rock. They probably haven’t cracked it and released their break out slot with Star Gods just yet. But they are trying. Star Gods has been well thought through, looks pretty good, and offers something a little diverse via its features.
The free win spins present an interesting philosophical question – is it better to have 10 ‘standard’ free spins that could result in no winners or several, or two guaranteed winning spins? It’s like a koan – one of those unanswerable questions that are used in Zen Buddhism. Slots players who meditate could mentally chase the answer in an attempt to still the mind and find Nirvana. Then again, who are we kidding? Gamblers want to go large, and the more chances the better. Two spins just don’t quite cut it, but it helps that they can be retriggered. You don’t hear the words ‘guaranteed winning spins’ in the slot world much though so that alone makes it worth a look.
At the moment there is no official word from Golden Rock Studios on potential. Since they broadcast, quite loudly, the 25,000x+ available on Volatile Slot, we can assume it is a lot more humble with Star Gods. A full screen of the top symbol and wilds will return 600 times the stake using both ways of the paylines. That means a fair number of win spins will need to be retriggered to hit anything impressive. Overall, Star Gods has a few interesting features that produce a fairly new slot experience when they all are brought together. It is unlikely to be a big hit, but Asian themed fans tempted for a spin could find entertainment value with Star Gods.
Despite a dose of originality, the limited nature of the features and modest potential means Star Gods is unlikely to set the slots world alight.