Starburst XXXtreme Slot Review (NetEnt)
Starburst XXXtreme is a sequel to NetEnt’s flagship slot.
This release also marks a turning point both for the company and Evolution, who acquired NetEnt when it was going through an existential crisis. It’s the first game made in collaboration between the two developers and a move towards Evolution’s goal of producing only the highest-quality games. From what it seems they are off to a clever start.
Built on a strong foundation, Starburst XXXtreme is way more extreme than the decade-old classic. This includes revamped Starburst Wilds, which come with multipliers of up to 150x each; and a maximum payout of 200,000x bet that dwarfs most online slots, including previous attempts like Gonzo’s Quest MegaWays. As the name implies, this 2021 version of Starburst also has an all-new XXXtreme Spins bonus buy feature, which they promise to turn into an entire series. More on that in the review below.
Starting from 15 July 2021, you can play Starburst XXXtreme at trusted Starburst slot sites like LeoVegas, which is also offering a chance to win hefty progressive jackpots in this very game.
Play Starburst XXXtreme at Licensed Slot Site
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The XXXtreme Starburst looks pretty much the same as the original Starburst. However, there are some major gameplay differences. The 5-reel slot no longer pays both ways but on 9 lines and from left to right only. Symbols, too, look exactly the same, but NetEnt have increased the maximum payout for a few of them. Among them are the two highest-paying symbols which now pay up to 20x (Lucky 7) and 50x (BAR). Meanwhile, small standalone combos now pay a little less than before.
Betting ranges are still very flexible, letting players wager anywhere from 0.10 to 50 credits per spin.
👍 Tip: Starburst XXXtreme plays with a 20% hit frequency, which is 1.2%-2.8% less than before, depending on what version of Starburst RTP you compare it to. The wins are noticeably bigger.
The superstar of the game is unquestionably the Starburst Wild. Just like before, it appears stacked on the entire reel but only on reels 2, 3 and 4. This time, however, each one of them will have a win multiplier of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100 or x150. Get two or more Starburst Wilds to combine the multipliers for a total of 450x!
Another lucrative feature of this expanding wild symbol is the free re-spin that is also earned with each Starburst Wild. Even if you don’t hit anything the first them, you’ll still get a second chance. Every additional wild will add +1 re-spin, so landing three wilds at once will get you three free spins with three guaranteed wild reels! And now there’s also a second way of getting them.
Random Wilds Feature
The Random Wilds Feature only comes with the XXXtreme version of Starburst. It can be triggered at any time, even during the re-spins, and it can land up to all three expanding wilds onto the (middle) reels at once. Mind you, getting even a single such meteor wild needs quite a bit of luck, but it’s a nice surprise factor that doesn’t mess up the simple structure and the minimal feature stack.
There are NetEnt slots with the bonus buy, like Dead or Alive 2 Feature Buy for example, but this is the first game with the XXXtreme Spins. This particular bonus buy instance is tailor-made to Starburst and lets players instantly trigger a spin with one or two wilds for a fixed gamble cost:
- 10x the bet for 1 guaranteed Starburst Wild
- 95x the bet for 2 guaranteed Starburst Wilds.
Unlike a similar feature from ELK Studios known as the X-iter, the XXXtreme Spins will remain active until you manually deactivate them! Given that each such spin can cost upwards of 4,750 credits, this can cause some serious damage when such gamble re-bet goes unnoticed.
The good news is that the RTP is higher when XXXtreme Spins are activated. The return increases from 96.45% to 96.26%. It’s not configurable by casinos (for now), in contrast to the original Starburst that has not one but 8 different RTPs ranging from 90.05% to 99.06%.
With seemingly minor modifications, NetEnt has given this very simple, 9-line slot a modern appeal and performance. How universal this XXXtreme feature turns out to be is yet to be seen, but it does seem like a simple and effective solution to awake Starburst fans and make them want to have another go at the tried and tested bonuses. How many fans of the “tried and tested” genre there are is also to be seen, but a proper Starburst sequel or a remake of some sort is long overdue anyway (not counting Starburst Slingo). The fact that they didn’t call it the Starburst 2 may be a hint that there’s more milking in store for this crown jewel of a NetEnt slot. Only time will show but for now, given the demand for high-octane slots, Starburst XXXtreme should appeal both to the fans and casual players alike. I’ve personally had a blast testing and playing it and would recommend it as a solid low-line slot, despite how many times you’ve played Starburst or its numerous copies.
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