is a Malta-licensed online gaming site that offers players the choice of playing casino games, bingo, poker, and skill based card and dice games for real money. It features the biggest selection of Novomatic branded slot machines available online, along with traditional casino games and live casino tables. I took StarGames for a spin and discovered that it has a couple of very unique features that I had not seen online before.
Software and game selection
The slot machine section of StarGames features a big selection of games from the popular and well-known slot machine developer Novomatic. These games are commonly found at land based casinos throughout Europe. We have reviewed several other casinos that offer some of Novomatic's games, but StarGames has by far the biggest range of their slots that I have seen in one place. Some of the best games include Lord of the Ocean, Book of Ra, Lucky Lady's Charm, Cleopatra Queen of Slots, Katana, and Dolphin's Pearl Deluxe. You can even try your luck at a couple of David Hasselhoff themed games like Hoff Mania or Hoff Meister. All these games are played directly in your web browser, without requiring any new software installation, and in my time at the casino there was no noticeable lag or server issues or errors to slow the games down.
The web-based interface for playing the games at StarGames is in fact quite unique. When you select a game from the tiled list of titles, a new browser window opens up that displays a bank of machines like you would see at a land casino. Some of the machines are unoccupied, while some of them have a virtual person sitting at them playing. In one of the cooler innovations that I have seen, you are able to watch someone else play by clicking on their machine, and you can even tell when they have hit a big win or a bonus round because their avatar changes to a person with their arms in the air in celebration. Once you pick an unoccupied machine, you are able to start playing. Another great in-game feature I must mention is the replay button that allows you to go back and view a spin that you may have missed.
StarGames has a live dealer casino section with Blackjack, Baccarat, and Roulette games supplied by Evolution Gaming. These tables are broadcast from a studio and they are shared between many different casinos, so the tables are almost always busy. They also offer virtual poker and bingo rooms, but the area of the site I found more interesting was the skill games section. In it you are able to play against other players head to head in games of skill such as Backgammon, Rummy, Crazy Eights and card based Solitaire. I actually found myself spending quite a bit of time playing head to head Solitaire against other players, with both players receiving the same deal and the game scoring you depending on how many cards you get up to the target piles. This was surprisingly fun.
All games in all sections of the site can be played for real money, or for fun play money which is called "Stars" on the site. Even if you elect to play for fun, you can win, lose, and maintain your Stars balance as you play, just like a real money account, and it is therefore possible to run out of Stars. Incredibly, the site offers you the option of buying more Stars using real money, but you can never convert these Stars back to real money. Why anyone would do this is beyond me. If you're going to put up real cash to play, you may as well give yourself a chance of winning something!Banking and support options
Depositing into your real money account at StarGames (or buying yourself more play money Stars if you are inclined) can be accomplished using common credit and debit cards, along with e-wallets including Neteller, Skrill, and WebMoney. All deposit methods credit your account balance instantly, and the casino allows you to maintain an account in one of 13 different currencies. Withdrawals can be made back to your credit or debit card where permitted, or to an e-wallet. The site charges a small fee, typically about €1, for each withdrawal. My test withdrawal to Skrill was paid after a wait of around six days (two of which were a weekend), which included a check on my identity documents. Another thing to watch out for is that non VIP players have limits on the number of withdrawals you can make, starting at 2 per month maximum. So overall the withdrawal speed is ok, but not as fast as I would like for a site that should be able to pay quickly to e-wallets.
Support is an area in which I think StarGames could improve. Although the site is available in a huge number of different languages, there is no live text chat option, so you can either contact them via telephone or email. Telephone support is available every day between the hours of 8am and 10pm CET, though if you are not in Germany, Austria, Malta, or Switzerland, you will be paying international call rates. In testing out the speed of the email support, the response time was variable. I received a response to one enquiry after around 5 hours, but a second took closer to 48 hours to get a response.
Security and game fairness
When you log in at StarGames all further communication with the site's servers is conducted using an encrypted SSL connection. This ensures that your browsing, gameplay, and any financial transactions remains private. The site's random number generator used to power the games has been tested and certified by an independent third party known as Technical Systems Testing. However StarGames does not publish the results of any audits into the payout rate of the games in its casino, nor does it publish the theoretical RTP numbers for any of its games.Conclusion
StarGames is a very good casino with some unique and useful features that really do make it stand out from so many other "cookie cutter" online casinos. The Novomatic slots are great, and the fun is enhanced by the ability to watch others play, or replay your winning spins. However it is not without its flaws, and could certainly benefit from some improvement in its support options and withdrawal speed.