The Sports Star line of slots by Microgaming gives players a chance to take part in the action with games based on a wide variety of sports. Rugby Star is a part of that series, and it's set up to give you a lot of the same action and excitement as the sport it's based on. This game does have a lot of visual and feature-based similarities as other titles from the series, and that's the first thing a lot of players notice. However, you also need to notice what makes it stand out from the other titles in the Sports Star line and what makes it specific to the sport of rugby.
The format of this game is five reels, three rows and 243 ways. This effectively turns every symbol into a left-to-right scatter, and it's a format that Microgaming has been very fond of in a lot of their new releases over the past few years. For this game in particular, it sets the tone for a lot of action with frequent wins, and it also makes the features specific to this game more exciting.
In terms of bet sizing, you don't actually pay for each individual payline in the 243-ways format. Instead, you pay 50 coins per spin, though you can increase this to 100, 150, etc., up to a total of 500. The minimum coin size is $0.01 in this game, so you can start play with $0.50 per spin. This gives players a good selection of bet sizes to choose from while also giving low stakes players a chance to get in on the action.
The way the symbols work in this game is that there are basically two tiers of symbols in addition to the scatters and wilds, and this is fairly standard for Microgaming slots. You have the player symbols that are the high symbols, and you have the equipment symbols that are the low symbols. The high symbols include various players in various situations like running, diving, passing or tackling. Cleats, helmets and other items appear on the reels as well as the low tier of symbols. The ball itself is scattered and gives you a chance at up to 25 free spins.
Rolling Reels Feature
This game uses the Rolling Reels feature by Microgaming. The way this works is that your winning combinations are paid out on a given spin, and before your next spin begins, all of the winning symbols explode to allow new symbols to fall into place. Wins continue to explode and cascade until there are no new wins to pay out. This adds a lot of opportunities for multi-line wins to this game, and that's one of the reasons why it's such a popular feature for players. For Rugby Star in particular, it adds a ton of value thanks to the 243-ways format.
Free Spins Feature
Pick up three or more of the scattered ball symbol anywhere on the reels for 15, 20 or 25 free spins. During these free spins, your payouts on the Rolling Reels feature are hit with multipliers. It starts with a multiplier of 2x and then proceeds in order to 3x, 4x, 5x and a whooping 10x. This means that a lot of the biggest payouts in this game are only available during the free spins. With that having been said, there's another feature that gives you a lot of opportunities to get paid.
Wild Pass Feature
At random during the normal spins, you can trigger the Wild Pass feature. The way this works is that two reels will turn completely wild, and this strongly affects your payouts. Five of a kind wins are as easy as lining up three symbols with this feature, and because it uses the 243-ways format, it's something that gives players a ton of value when it's triggered. Multi-line wins are really easy to get when the Wild Pass feature is triggered.
The Rugby Star game does look extremely similar to other games in the Sports Star lineup. However, it stands out by having different features and a clean look. People who are fans of rugby will enjoy this game, but pure slots fans might not find enough excitement because a similar set of features are found in a lot of other Microgaming titles. With all of that having been said, it's definitely a good example of Microgaming continuing a push in the sports genre.