I must admit that when I heard I would be reviewing Stardust, I was initially expecting a game to do with space, stars and similar. However, upon loading up the new Realtime Gaming slot, I was surprised to see that this was a fantasy-themed slot.
Now, the fantasy theme has been done to death in slot games and that is for two reasons. Firstly, they tend to look great and secondly, they are clearly a hit with players when you consider the popularity of some of the most celebrated examples in the genre.
So after the initial surprise of finding myself in fairyland and not outer space, I decided to knuckle down and see what this 243-ways to win 5-reel slot offered me in terms of excitement and game play.
Let's take a closer look and see what I found out.
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The Stardust slot has been presented very nicely indeed. The predominant color is a green and blue and the slot is set in what is supposed to resemble a leafy wooded glade in some fantastical land. The animations on the backdrop, combined with the quality of the graphics on the slot in general are excellent.
The sound is also suitably fantastical, but the song is very short and just loops continually as you play. It isn't too intrusive however and you can 'zone' it out if necessary, but after a while it can grate a little on the nerves. A few more bars of more original music would have helped the soundtrack a great deal.
All the key information about your bet is located at the foot of the reels as are the main Spin and Auto-play buttons. Stardust is a very beautiful looking slot, which with just a few small touches here and there, could have been made even better.
What's on the reels?
There are nine standard symbols on the reels and I am delighted to say that all of them have been devised with the fantasy theme in mind, so no annoying playing card symbols here. Instead you have a range of unusual objects including berries, crystals, toadstools, ladybirds, butterflies, a Unicorn and what appears to be a fairy or imp.
These latter two symbols are the higher paying symbols offering up to 500 coins for a standard win, but up to the jackpot of 2,000 coins when landed with the Blue Fairy Wild symbol (see below). The higher value symbols also offer pays for just two symbols on a line, although these wins are generally small (between 3 and 10 coins).
One of the best aspects of the Stardust slot is that there is not just one Wild symbol on the reel, but two. The first is the Green Fairy and she is usually a standard Wild who can count for all symbols on the reels apart from the Scatter.
The Blue Fairy is the other Wild and can count for all symbols too, apart from Scatters, but the Blue Fairy has another trick and that is she will multiply any win that uses her Wild symbol by four, which can lead to some of the best value wins in the game.
On some wins, the Green Fairy may morph into a Blue Fairy before your pays are awarded. This means that instead of receiving the standard pay-out for any win using the Green Fairy, you receive the 4x multiplier on those wins instead, which again is a nice touch.
Free Spins features
The willow tree Scatter symbol is the key to the Free Spins bonus in the Stardust slot. Land three, four or five of the Scatter symbols across the reel and you will receive either 8, 15 or a massive 50 Free Spins respectively.
In addition, land three or more Scatters and you will receive an immediate payout of 3x, 10x or 125x your total bet, which is a nice boost when you trigger Free Spins.
Now while 50 Free Spins sounds fantastic, in truth, the chances of you triggering that are very small indeed, and you will be lucky to land 15 Free Spins once or twice, with 8 Free Spins being the default win most often.
One nice touch is that during Free Spins one reel is selected at random and becomes completely Wild with the Green Fairy symbol on the reel. This can lead to some decent wins, especially when you land it on the first two or three reels.
You can also re-trigger Free Spins from within the bonus game, although I have found that it is quite rare to actually do so.
Other bonus features
The other bonus feature on the slot is the Lucky Feature and in theory, this should be an incredible addition to the game and make it a must-play, but in truth there's a real problem I have with the bonus and it is that it just does not trigger anywhere near as often enough as it should to make it a worthwhile addition to the game.
The bonus can occur at the end of any spin and when it does, it will turn between one and five of the reels wild for one single Free Spin. Once the spin is played, if you win, then you receive the cash added to your account.
Now the chance to turn all five reels Wild is a huge boost, but in truth you can play hundreds of spins and never see this bonus kick in. Even turning just one reel Wild is a rarity, let alone two, three or more and it is this lack of access to the bonus which makes it somewhat redundant in the game in my view.
Best feature of the Stardust slot
For me the best feature of the Stardust slot is the presentation and the fact that you can land some pretty decent wins in the game without having to invest a huge amount of time and money, usually. There are times when the slot does play tighter, but even those who play for a short time can usually hit a decent win, which does give you a favorable feel when playing the game.
What does the Stardust slot lack?
The main thing that the Stardust slot lacks at the moment is inspiration. Yes, this is a well-designed and put together slot, it has the basic features and they are presented well, but it doesn't push any boundaries and there aren't any features that you are going to want to come back to play the slot time and time again to try to trigger.
The Stardust slot is a decent enough game and I can see why players will fall in love with the game. Visually it is appealing enough and the fact that you can land some decent wins is also a big positive, as are the number of the wins. However, it is a game that doesn't push any boundaries and its bonuses are generic, save for a few small cosmetic twists. I also feel the base game bonus doesn't trigger anywhere near as often as it should to make it a worthwhile addition to the slot. Overall, this is a good game, but falls short of being one of the best.
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