Microgaming Solutions has produced a wide variety of pokie machines in many different styles. The company is just as much at home producing modern video bonus pokies with extra features, side wagers, skill-based bonus rounds, and licensed themes as it is producing titles like Astronomical, which is a traditional poker machine with just one pay line and three reels.
Astronomical is clearly designed with retro pokie play in mind. Single pay line games, sometimes called classic pokies or traditional pokies, remind players of a time before Internet poker machine play was even a gleam in some casino’s eye – the graphics themselves are campy and bright, and Astronomical’s top payout of 8,000 coins is another sign that this title was made for people who remember the bygone days of pokie play when nickels and dimes and electro-mechanical games were the order of the day.
In keeping with the traditional pokie style of the game, Astronomical is not built with any side bets, bonus games, and opportunities for free spins. The pokie has no scatter symbols or any of the extras that players may be used to from other Microgaming titles. This can be both a good and a bad thing; gamblers who tend to play the most contemporary titles with video scenes, 3D graphics, huge numbers of pay lines, and thousands of winning combinations may not see the appeal of a simple game like this.
Then again, Astronomical would be a great way to take a break from those complicated modern pokies and let your brain relax a little with a title that comes loaded with simple instructions, an easy-to-read payout schedule, and not much else going on. Since Astronomical does include a wild multiplier symbol, it can’t be said that this poker machine is truly old-school.
One feature that sets Astronomical apart from other classic-style pokies is Microgaming’s use of that game logo wild multiplier symbol. In this game, the logo itself not only substitutes to form winning combos, it can double or quadruple winnings from those combos if there are two or three symbols used to complete the payout.
Microgaming casinos that host this game do so because their pokie fan customers have shown that they like traditional pokie play. But this poker machine isn’t 100% traditional – the title comes with a lineup of twenty-four possible winning combinations. Yes, it is a three reel pokie with a single pay line, and the lack of a progressive jackpot will keep some pokie fans at bay, but at heart this is a fun hybrid of traditional fruit machines or poker machines from the mid-20th century, when machines with giant barrel reels made up the vast majority of a casino’s slot banks.
The game’s payout table is easy to read and understand, broken up into three columns based on how many credits a player is wagering per spin. While we’re on the topic of credits, Astronomical comes in coin denominations ranging from just $0.25 per credit up to $25.00. Since players are allowed to bet as many as three coins per spin, the highest bet on this pokie is an astronomical $75.00 each time the reels turn.
Like many of Microgaming’s classic-style pokies, only three types of symbols appear during game play. The most important is the wild symbol, which on Astronomical (as on many other of the company’s poker machine games) is the game logo itself. Written in a retro-futuristic font and bursting with bright stars, the logo flashes when it appears on the reel and is even more animated when it completes a winning spin.
The other two symbols are the Planet image, which twirls and shoots stars as if in orbit, the classic Microgaming single-, double-, and triple-bars, and the cherries symbol, a bunch of three cherries attached to a stem with a bright green leaf sticking out from the top of the branch.
Astronomical’s largest fixed jackpot comes when the player lines up three of the game’s logo symbol. When three of the big stylized word Astronomical symbols appears on the reel, and the player is placing the maximum bet of three coins per spin, the payout is 8,000 credits. For a two-coin wager, the payout is 4,000 credits, while bettors placing a single coin wager per spin win 2,000 credits for lining up three game logos.
Of course, the pokie’s biggest prizes don’t all come from fixed jackpots. Since the Astronomical logo is also the machine’s wild symbol, and can double or quadruple other win totals, the next-largest wins, which come when the player lines up three Planet symbols, can be anywhere from 300 credits for a single-coin bet up to 3,600 credits for a three-coin bet which is completed by two logos and therefore quadrupled.
Outside of these top two payouts, the difference between the game’s biggest wins and its smallest is pretty vast – the first four columns of winning numbers on the pay table don’t break the 100 credit barrier unless the bettor happens to double or quadruple the win with two or three logo wild symbols.