When NetEnt released the outstanding StarBurst slot a few years ago now, nobody would have foreseen just how popular the slot would become. It’s popularity remains undimmed after many years and its combination of simple game play, free respins and expanding wild symbols remains a firm favorite with players.
Little wonder then that a number of companies have sought to use a similar system to make an appealing slot of their own. The Isle of Man-based company Microgaming, one of the largest slot game developers in the world, were just one who sought to capitalise on the popularity of this particular type of slot.
That came in the form of their September 2019 release, Aurora Wilds. This unashamed clone of the Starburst style of slot shares many of the features of the NetEnt classic, but with the addition of four fixed jackpot prizes, each of which is based on the amount of money that you are willing to bet on each spin.
So is imitation the most sincere form of flattery, or does the Aurora Wilds slot build on the superb foundation that Starburst games have set over the years, and add something a little extra to this particular genre of slot game?
We decided to grab our snow gear and head north to see the Northern Lights, the inspiration behind the game, to find out exactly what it has to offer.
- Name – Aurora Wilds Slot
- Released – 2019
- Theme – Nature
- Studio – Microgaming
- Reels – 5
- Reel Set Up – 3-3-3-3-3
- Pay Lines/Ways To Win – 10 Pay Lines
- Minimum Bet – $0.10
- Maximum Bet – $60.00
- Jackpot – 2,000x
- Key Features – Expanding Wilds, Free Re-Spins, Jackpot Wheel With Four Fixed Jackpots, Win Both Ways
- Volatility – Medium
- RTP – 96.20%
- Find The Game at – DraftKings Casino
Graphics & Sound – 8/10
One of the guarantees that you tend to get with Microgaming games, is that they are not short when it comes to production value. Aurora Wilds is another good example of this, with a very eye-catching and muted backdrop of the famous borealis in the night sky over snow-capped mountains.
The five reels, each with three symbols, are superimposed over this and the symbols on the reels seem to be taken from native American culture, which have been used alongside some more commonly used slot symbols, such as Bar and Lucky 7 symbols. If that sounds familiar, it is because it is the same set up that was used so successfully in the StarBurst Slot.
The four jackpot prizes, the mini (15x), Minor (50x), Major (100x) and Grand (2000x) are also shown clearly at the top of the reels and add to this an atmospheric soundtrack that is nice enough, but not quite the match of StarBurst’s sound palette, and you have all the key ingredients for a very solid slot game.
Gameplay – 9/10
As you would expect from a slot that is set up to be a clone of the StarBurst slot, the game play on Aurora Wilds is very similar to that of the NetEnt classic. The main thing to note here is that this is a win-both-ways slot, which means that you can win on any of the 10 pay lines in play either from left to right, as is standard on a slot game, or right to left.
This is always a very positive feature as it effectively doubles your chances of a win on a spin. It also means that if the first three reels don’t turn up a win, then you can still land a win depending on how the fourth and fifth reels land, which makes the slot keep your attention far more than a standard game.
The different animal symbols are the lower value symbols on the reels, with the Lucky 7 symbol and the Bar symbols the higher value symbols and these can offer you a good chance of a larger value win, especially if you can land them with one or more of the Expanding Wilds, which we will explain more of in the section below.
The fast-paced nature of Aurora Wilds makes this a fun game to play and at a minimum bet of 0.10 per spin, it is also a game that does not cost too much to play for a longer period too.
Bonus Features – 8/10
There are essentially two different bonus features on the Aurora Wilds slot. The first is the Expanding Wilds, which can be landed on any of the middle three reels. When one or more of these symbols land on the reels, you will see it expand to cover the reel in full.
You will then be paid out any wins you have landed from that spin but then you are given a free Re-Spin of the other reels, with the Wild held in place. If you land another expanding Wild, this will trigger another Re-Spin of the reels. You can land up to three Expanding Wilds to land three Re-Spins of the reels and of course, the more Wilds you land, the better chance you have of a big cash win.
The frequency with which this bonus land does make up for a lack of Free Spins in the game and it is a feature that is very popular with slots players.
The other main bonus feature on Aurora Wilds is the four jackpot prizes. These are not progressive prizes but are based on a multiplier of your total bet. Ranging from 15x to 2000x your bet.
If you land three of the Jackpot Scatter symbols across the reels, then you trigger the Jackpot Wheel, which you can then spin to land one of the four jackpot prizes.
This is a nice addition to the game and gives Aurora Wilds something that even the great Starburst slot does not have.
Aurora Wilds is an unashamed tribute to the StarBurst slot, and it offers very similar gameplay. Sure, it is not the most original game in terms of how it is set up, but if you love the gameplay of the StarBurst slot, which is a big part of its appeal, you’ll find Aurora Wilds ticks the right boxes for you too.
Add to that the four jackpot prizes in the game too and you could argue that there is more to offer here and while there are many players that will enjoy chasing the bigger jackpots down, I still feel that StarBurst probably just shades things between the two in terms of pure enjoyment, originality and gameplay.
That said Aurora Wilds is still a very solid game, and it is available to play now at DraftKings Casino.