Star Bounty: Overview
Developer Pragmatic Play does a spot of galactic bounty hunting in their sci-fi themed slot Star Bounty. Set in a nicely rendered alien environment, Star Bounty manages to get most things right with its mix of pay mechanics plus features such as Tumbles, Wild Multipliers, and Free Spins. The icing on top is its big potential, though how likely it is to hit might be an interesting question.
So, as mentioned, make sure your rebreather is strapped on tight before hitting spin because we aren’t in Kansas anymore. Outside the viewport, spacecraft can be seen traversing the surface of a rocky alien planet. Then again, it could be a future version of earth where global warming has roasted the topsoil off. Wherever it is, Star Bounty has a strong sci-fi theme, as evidenced by the futuristic structures planet side, and the space ship bridge where the 6-reel, 4,096 ways to win hexagon shaped grid is found. Players also get a pretty sweet synth-heavy soundtrack to spin to. Overall, Star Bounty is one of the more convincing environments Pragmatic has conjured up in a while.
Playable on any device from 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin, the game has a good flow to it made possible by the tumble’s and pay system. These two mechanics make the nonaligned reels much easier to work with than they might appear in a screenshot. On the load screen, Pragmatic’s volatility meter displays a rating of 5/5, so, pretty much as high as it gets. RTP isn’t quite so high, but still a respectable rating of 96.6% – in default mode, that is.
Despite the high volatility, the game is quite well balanced. The free spins feature triggered more often than was first expected, or feared. Of course, luck goes both ways, but during testing, a lot less time was spent gazing longingly at the feature buy button than is often the case.
To get a win, matching symbols can land in any row as long as they sit adjacently from the first reel onwards. As to the symbols flitting across the reels, there is quite a collection of them, 12 in fact. We get four J-A royals, four space insignias, and four characters represented by two masked baddies, a female heroine, and a male hero. The male, who looks a little like Karl Urban from Chronicles of Riddick, is worth the most at 15 times the stake for six of a kind. Hitting lines of the other three premiums will get you 5 – 10 times the stake.
A couple of wild types turn up to increase the chances of winning. In its basic form, the standard wild appears on reels 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 to substitute for any regular pay symbol. The other wild variations pop up during the features.
Star Bounty: Features
Star Bounty comes with plenty of extras to keep the game going. One is the Tumble feature which becomes active after every win. Winning symbols are cleared from the board, allowing new ones to drop into the empty spaces. Consecutive Tumbles continue until no new winning combination lands.
A winged egg looking tile is the missile wild symbol, appearing on reels 2, 3, or 4. Whenever one lands on the reels, it fires missiles onto a random number of symbols turning them into wilds.
The atom patterned hex is the scatter symbol and 3 or more in view at the end of a spin sequence triggers free spins. Before free spins begin, you have to work out how many you’re going to get. This is where the special respin feature comes in. This feature starts with the number of triggering scatter symbols locked to the reels. The remaining positions spin and each new scatter symbol that lands is locked, triggering another respin. When no new scatters land, the tally is added up and the number of free spins awarded – up to 24.
During free spins, wilds may appear with a multiplier of x2 or x3. If more than one wild is part of a win, then their values are multiplied together. Free Spins appear to trigger quite regularly, but should players wish to cut straight to them, they can be bought for 75x the stake. When the feature buy is selected, the next spin guarantees 3 to 6 free spin scatter symbols.
Star Bounty: Verdict
Gotta say, Star Bounty was a pleasant surprise from Pragmatic Play. The studio has matched excellent graphics with an ideal soundtrack to create a fantastic world to play in. The reel arrangement is a little different, yet it also works perfectly alongside the futuristic theme and the pay system. Pop on a couple of useful features, and it’s hard to find many faults with the end result.
Tumbles keep the base game ticking along at a satisfying rate, though it might have been nice if they’d been paired with a win multiplier during free spins. As it is, wild multipliers in free spins feature are capable of creating decent wins on their own.
During testing, wins during the bonus game were decent but nothing amazing, perhaps leading to question the game’s potential. Pragmatic claims 25,000 times the stake is possible. A massive number, but let’s say you triggered the full 24 free spins. You’d then need to average over 1,000x on each spin – realistic or science fiction? As we all know by now, Pragmatic’s advertised max win potential is often far too optimistic.
Aside from potential, the main criticism might be that Star Bounty doesn’t really offer anything new, features wise. It may look different, but it’s really just a 6-reel, win-all-ways reel set. Yet what it has works well, each part integrating with the others to create a straight-up fun game. When it comes to sci-fi slots, Pragmatic’s Star Bounty comes out as one of the better ones.