Star Clusters Megaclusters
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Big Time Gaming are a relatively small company, and with fewer than 40 video slots in their portfolio, they are hardly the most prolific provider. However, for genius innovation in the industry, they are second to none. The prolific Megaways game engine is of course the prime example and is now licensed to most of the serious players in the business. Other releases such as Danger High Voltage, The Final Countdown, and Lil’ Devil have also had us gushing with praise as BGT rewrite the rule book at every turn. However, on June 17th, 2020 Big Time Gaming are set to launch their biggest and best innovation since Megaways with the release of a brand new slot, Star Clusters Megaclusters.
Community Big Wins
With a sci-fi feel, this gem-laden slot starts with a 4x4 grid with a cluster pays mechanic. As with your average cluster pays slot, 5 or more matching symbols grouped together horizontally or vertically anywhere on the grid is a paying win. However, unlike other cluster slots, a winning combo triggers the release of exponentially more symbols as they split and react. Huge cluster wins are up for grabs in the bonus round where the grid starts at 8x8.
Star Clusters can deliver big wins in the base game, but its free spins where the truly huge wins occur. I’ll go into more details of the specifics of the Megaclusters mechanic and free spins round a little later on.
The RTP for Star Clusters Megaclusters is a slightly above average 96.53% and it plays at medium to high volatility. Wins of up to 23,000x are possible and you can play from €0.20 o €20 a spin.
Design & Symbols
Star Cluster comes with the most basic of designs. It’s not that it looks dated, or even unattractive, it is just, well, basic. The background colour begins yellow but changes whenever a win lands. Also, whatever the background colour, the different shards of colour swirling around the gameboard give the impression that it is moving through space. The board itself is a standard 4x4 grid in a curved rose-gold frame. Slim meters either side of the grid show your progress towards the bonus round, and the current wild multiplier value is incorporated into the frame above the grid. The control panel to the right of the grid is similar other BGT games (Lil’ Devil, The Final Countdown etc). The bonus round board is much the same, except with twice the number of starting symbols. The soundtrack is trance-like, electronic, and almost hypnotic. Along with the spacey background animation and the spinning gems on the reels it can be quite the sensory overload. Also, if you listen very carefully you might hear some familiar voices at various points during game play. This is because BGT have added a few snippets from some well-known twitch streamers – with our very own LetsGiveItASpin included!
Low value symbols are turquoise, yellow, orange, and green gems.
High value symbols are blue, red, and (or course) purple gems. Purple is the highest paying, with clusters of 25 or more paying 50x the bet size. The wild is a multi-coloured star (looking very much like the wild in NetEnt’s Starburst without the pearl centre). There is also a Gold Wild which adds a win multiplier when forming part of a win. Unlike regular wilds, there can only ever be 2 Gold Wilds on the board at the same time.
- Gold Wilds
- Free Spins
Megaclusters with Reaction Wins
The major innovation on display here is the Megaclusters mechanic which comes into play when a win lands. Any symbol forming part of the win is replaced by 4 smaller symbols. For example, if two reels of 4 symbols (8 symbols in total) all formed part of a winning combo then they would be replaced 4 reels of 8 symbols (32 symbols in total). Of course, the wins are never usually that clean, so the likelihood is you’ll end up with a board with some large and some small symbols.
The game also allows for reaction wins, so winning combos formed by the Megaclusters split are replaced with symbols of the same size from dropping in from above. Reactions continue until there are no more wins.
When Gold Wilds form part of a winning combo they add a multiplier of x1 to the win. Subsequent Gold Wild wins during the same set of reactions each add a further x1 multiplier. The win multiplier resets to zero at the end of a series of reaction wins in the base game. During free spins, the win multiplier does not reset until the end of the spins.
5 or more reaction wins trigger free spins. 5 reactions awards 2 free spins. An additional free spin is awarded for any further reaction wins in the same series. Win multipliers accrued during the base game carry over into the free spins round.
Free Spins begin on an 8x8 grid. Once again Megaclusters form upon a win landing. This means that at full Megacluster capacity there are some 256 symbols on the grid. The Gold Wild meter above the grid becomes more significant during free spins because every time it reaches 10, 2 more free spins are added.
Our Thoughts on Star Cluster Megaclusters
Big Time Gaming have once again come up trumps, the Megaclusters concept is another sure-fire hit. While some might say the design is a little lacklustre, I personally think this is the perfect way to showcase the new mechanic. The simplicity of the design puts the focus solely on the game at hand, and it doesn’t disappoint. Just like Megaways, however, you need to be prepared to put in the hard yards to get the payoff, as free spins are hard to come by, and quite often they’re over before you feel they’ve even begun. However, hit a half decent run and you could be staring down the barrel of some outrageous wins. The excitement when the board is packed with mini symbols and the win multiplier is in double-digits is palpable.
The hit rate in the base game is pretty decent, with wins of up to 1,300x available, and these wins take a lot of the sting out of the inevitable wait to trigger free spins. The slightly lower volatility allows for a lot more gameplay for your fiscal outlay.
Star Cluster Megaclusters could be the start of something beautiful for Big Time Gaming, and indeed for the slots community. Whether it can reach the dizzy heights of Megaways is anybody’s guess, but it's hard to see this innovation being bested in 2020.