Colorful gems on the reels are certainly one of the more common themes found in land-based and online casino slots. Gambling simply goes hand in hand with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and other precious stones. In this article, we’ll compare two slots with this base theme, but quite different gameplays and in-game features. Two slots going head-to-head today are NetEnt’s Starburst and Playtech’s Hot Gems.
Graphics & audio 4/5
Starburst is definitely one of the NetEnt’s best-known games, although why this is so remains something of a mystery to many. In terms of graphics, the game doesn’t look bad as the gems have been nicely designed and the animated space background fits with the theme, but there is nothing particularly impressive about Starburst’s visuals. The music is calming and relaxing but very repetitive, so you’re bound to get tired of it after a little while.
In-game features 3/5
If there is one thing you won’t find in Starburst that’s bonus features. This slot has just one feature and that’s Starburst Wilds. Namely, when a wild lands on reels two, three, or four, it will expand to cover the reel and then a re-spin will be imitated.
If another wild lands on the re-spin, it will also expand and stay in place, triggering yet another re-spin. The best you can hope for is having all three middle reels turn wild, which is relatively exciting, but happens really rarely.
Starburst’s RTP is fairly decent at 96.1%. However, this game can be very volatile at times as a bad series without decent hits in the base game can create quite a dent in your bankroll. Since there are no free spins to offset this variance, you should have a decent number of bets available if you’re intent on chasing those three wild stars.
Winning potential 3/5
Starburst features 10 paylines and the game pays both ways. However, only the highest win is paid, so you can’t get paid twice for the same line.
The full line of the highest paying symbol pays 25 times the stake, so the absolute maximum you can expect to win on a single spin, if you get super lucky, is 250 times your stake.
Overall value 3.5/5
It will always remain a mystery why there are certain players who hold Starburst in high regard, but everyone’s entitled to their own taste. However, when all things are considered, this game really doesn’t bring a lot to get excited about. Getting all three stars is really hard and even when you do get them, your maximum win is very limited. It’s an okay game to play for a few spins but not much more than that.
Graphics & audio 4.5/5
As mentioned in the intro, gems are the only touching point between Starburst and Playtech’s Hot Gems, as these two slots are very different in all other aspects. The Hot Gems slot takes players inside a mine filled with bright-colored gems, mining equipment, lamps, etc. Symbols on the reels look really nice, and the animation of the funny miner popping out and dancing during your idle time is bound to make you laugh. Quick and cheerful music fits perfectly with bright colors featured in this game as well.
In-game features 4/5
The Hot Gems slot features 25 paylines and it has two main features. The first one is Collapsing Reels, where any symbols in a winning combination are removed to make place for new symbols to fall in their place. The second feature, triggered by three Free Games scatters, contains 15 free spins. During these spins, Collapsing Reels are active and they also feature a win multiplier, with every explosion in a series increasing multiplier by one (up to the maximum of 5x).
While none of this is very innovative, these features make Hot Games fairly exciting, especially during the bonus, as hitting a 5x multiplier on a nice base hit can be quite substantial.
The RTP of this Playtech’s slot is 95.99%, so, once again, nothing too special in either direction. Hot Gems is your average casino slot as far as the Return to Player is concerned.
Winning potential 4/5
Miner is the highest paying symbol on the reels, paying 5,000 coins or 200 times the total wager. Since symbols aren’t stacked on the reels, you can only expect to get one full line, but potentially at a 5x multiplier.
So, the biggest single hit on this slot is 1,000x the total stake, which isn’t shocking, but it is a pretty decent score.
Overall value 4/5
Hot Gems isn’t a revolutionary game in any sense of the word, but it can be fairly entertaining, especially if you like collapsing reels games such as Gonzo’s Quest or Jungle Jim. A decent RTP and a solid winning potential, combined with nice graphics, definitely make this slot worth at least a few spins.
Our verdict & where to play
At a great disappointment of numerous Starburst fans, Hot Gems takes an easy victory in this head-to-head. The only thing Starburst has working in its favor is the tradition and the fact the game’s been around for a long time. In every other aspect, Hot Gems is simply better – better gameplay, better features, and a higher winning potential.
You can play Starburst at almost any online casino out there, but we recommend Leo Vegas and Mr Green, two casinos where you’ll also get a generous welcome bonus when signing up for the first time. Hot Gems can be found at Playtech casinos such as William Hill Casino, Bet365 Casino, and Paddy Power Casino.
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