Star Clusters slot review
Star Clusters slot by Big Time Gaming is the first game featuring their long-awaited successor to the Megaways mechanic, called Megaclusters. Megaways proved a huge success with Bonanza slot really putting it on the map despite the fact Dragon Born was the first one using that formula. Here we have a game themed on gems with the typical BTG shushing sounds as the reels spin and stop plus a synth tune as we play. So it has the no-fuss appearance we expect from this developer with bright colours and distinct symbols on a plain orange background which will change colour as the wins progress. So can this new cluster formula add a gold star or two to our bankroll?
On The Reels...
Star Clusters slot is a cluster game as the name suggests and we need 5 or more adjacent matching symbols to win. The grid is a 4x4 arrangement with 16 tiles and the top pay is for clusters of 25+ symbols. Now you might ask how that's possible with only 16 positions? The answer is that each of the 16 tiles involved in a win divides into 4 smaller tiles so it can expand to a maximum of 64 tiles! Before we see this in more detail, the cluster pays are for the maximum 25+ and minimum 5 as follows: 50x bet/1x Purple Gem, 30/0.4x Red, 25/0.2x Blue, 20/0.15x Green or Orange and finally 10/0.1x Yellow or Turquoise.
You won't see scatters here as the bonus is triggered progressively via successive winning actions but you do get Rainbow Star Wilds which can fall in any position. There is also a Gold Star Wild which has an increasing multiplier for each winning action it's used in and if it counts in two different clusters then the multiplier rises by 2x. Winning tiles disappear for more symbols to cascade down in their column and any further Gold Star Wilds will appear overlaid with the multiplier earned up to that point which is displayed above the reels.
You need 5 or more winning actions measured on the meter at each side of the grid to trigger 2 free spins with 1 extra for each action over the 5. You also carry over any Gold Star Multiplier you have earned in the preceding triggering spin. This may not sound like many spins but the grid will now be 8x8 with 64 tiles and as before all winning ones divide into 4, thus you play on 64 to a maximum of 256 Megaclusters each spin. Like with BTG's Opal Fruits slot, you get a retrigger when the multiplier reaches 10x only here it's the Gold Star Wild multiplier and when this happens you get 2 extra spins too, same if you get to 20x and so-on. As with the base game, only 2 Gold Star Wilds can appear during any spin but if they both get to double figures and count in the same win, that's 100x multiplier for that pay! This bonus is where you are likely to get the big clusters and there is huge potential.
My first impression of the Megaclusters mechanic was underwhelming when I first looked at a small 4x4 slot where you needed clusters of 5 or more to win. After a few minutes I cottoned on as to just how exciting and addictive Star Clusters slot is! Any win can lead to the free games and the transformation of the winning tiles is mesmerising along with the big hit potential in the base game alone usually via the Gold Star Wilds. The RTP is 96.54% and the free games seem quite frequent compared to Megaways games, but are highly volatile as you can often get less than 10x bet or alternatively thousands times stake. It's not tiring to play and the colours are stunning especially when the background changes each time you win. Hats off to Big Time Gaming, I'm mega impressed with the Star Clusters slot...