Starz Megaways: Overview
Head to the outer rim with Pragmatic Play's slot Starz Megaways, their second to be driven by the popular Megaways engine. No one likes to state the obvious, but it undoubtedly appears to have been heavily influenced by NetEnt's other uber-popular galaxy-themed slot, Starburst. Is it a case of getting in before the competition does their Megaways version? Or is it some healthy snubbing, a bit of friendly rib nudging between rivals? Whatever the motivation, players have a new galactic playground of a slot to explore, and hopefully, pile up a few wins on the journey.
Starz Megaways is quite literally set amongst the cosmos, with a transparent grid revealing a shimmering, burning sun amid a star-filled sky. Asteroids, meteors, and whatever else resides up there drift past and thanks to the sounds; the atmosphere is pretty groovy.
It's all a bit futuristic, yet a retro 70s version of the future thanks to the bass-heavy disco jingle jiving away on a distant moon. If you listen carefully, it even appears the developers have worked in a sound effect from the old Masters of the Universe cartoon. Bonus points for spotting it. Starz Megaways is the kind of riot that Spock, Bones, and Kirk would have indulged in, in a back room of the Starship Enterprise. Well, maybe not Spock, he was more into logic than emotion.
The set up itself is quite standard Megaways stuff made up of 6 reels which can hold 2-7 symbols on each – the amount changes with each spin. The number of win ways also changes from 324 when two symbols are on each reel up to 117,649 with the grid maxed out.
In keeping things basic, Pragmatic has chosen not to go with the cascading feature which some Megaways fans might miss. However, to make up for the shortfall, wins are awarded for left to right and right to left adjacent symbol combinations. The game also triggers free spins a heck of a lot more often than you might expect from a highly volatile Pragmatic Play slot.
As you more often than not receive from this developer, the volatility is high, with a full meter of 5 out of 5 lightning bolts. This means wanna be space cowboys might need to buckle in as they can expect some turbulence on this trip to the stars. Evening things out is a healthy default RTP rating of 96.48% which is nicely above the average range. With flexible RTP settings, however, this number can be lower depending where you play. Stakes, meanwhile, can be placed from 20 p/c on the lower side up to £/€100 per spin for the higher rollers.
To land a winner in Starz Megaways, three or more of a kind is the minimum requirement while six of a kinds pay both ways - doubling the rewards. In saying that, symbol values are pretty low right across the board. On the low pay side of the paytable are six planet/atom symbols of various colours and shapes. They are followed by 6 precious gems – pink, blue, red, purple, and green with values of 1.2 to 5 times the stake for six of a kind.
Assisting players is the red and yellow bursting star which is wild and appears on reels 2, 3, 4, and 5. Whenever a wild hits in the base game, it expands vertically to fill the whole reel. This effect is handy in the main game, yet even better during the bonus.
Starz Megaways: Features
The saying 'it's not rocket science' seems a rather appropriate way to describe Starz Megaways with just one extra to go over. What you want here is the ball of fire bonus symbol which can appear in any position. Hit 3 or more of these to trigger the Free Spins feature where 3, 4, 5, or 6 in view awards 6, 8, 10, or 15 free spins respectively.
During free spins, the only change gets made to the wild symbol. Whenever it lands during the feature, it expands as before, but this time expanded wild symbols remain sticky and locked in place for the full duration. If you've played Desperados Wild Megaways, you sort of know the drill. One slight downer here is that the feature cannot be retriggered.
Starz Megaways: Verdict
Boy, that Starburst game has a lot to answer for. How many slots has it 'inspired' now? We've lost count, and while Starz Megaways is far from being a straight copy, it shares a similar look, as well as a simplistic approach. This makes Starz absolutely ideal for those who enjoy Starburst but would prefer something with a bit more depth to immerse them in.
The name of the game here is pacey play and the key to keeping engagement high is how often the bonus round is triggered. There might not be cascading wins, but free spins popped up a lot more frequently than usual. Far more than you usually find with a highly volatile Pragmatic Play slot which was surprising.
It's hard to think of many other slots that cough up so many free spins as Starz Megaways did during testing. More than once we hit the bonus game within a few spins of triggering the previous one. It was insane. Of course, that could just have been an exceptionally lucky run.
For balance it has to be stated that Starz Megaways is not a money printing machine though. Although there's a maximum reward of 10,000 times your stake on offer, few bonus rounds turned out to be super profitable this time around. Winning both ways might be an attribute, but the repeated bonus games seemed to be more effective at keeping interest levels, and bankrolls, up in this far-out disco fest.
Like Pragmatic's previous Megaways release, Great Rhino Megaways, Starz is also a game which takes its cues from an older slot. That doesn't make it bad though, as Starz does have its entertaining moments. It's not your typical Megaways slot either, making it a viable alternative in a sea of Big Time Gaming licensed titles. For Starburst+ gaming, with a frequent bonus game that might just blast off, it is well worth a spin.
Game title: Starz Megaways
● Reels: 6
● Rows: 2-7
● Paylines: 117,649
● Default RTP: 96.48%
● Max Payout: 10,000x
● Volatility: H (5/5)
● Bets: 0.20 - 100 EUR
● Features: Expanding Wild Symbols, Free Spins with Sticky Expanding Wilds
● Release Date: June 11, 2020