Veteran casino game designer NetEnt indulges its sweet tooth with a baked goods and candy-themed online slot going by the name of Cupcakes. Sweety slots are a perennial favourite amongst both players and providers, as there's something about the subject matter which brings them back time and again. Kind of like when there's leftover cake in the refrigerator or a packet of biscuits in the cupboard, which is meant to be saved for later, but the temptation is too irresistible to resist. As well as plenty of sugary imagery, this NetEnt release comes with ingredients such as Cupcakes, Gumdrops, a Crush feature, multipliers, free spins, and, where possible, a bonus buy.
If you've played one of these sweet-tooth slots before, then there's a good chance you will know the drill. The reason being a lot of them tend to have rather similar looks, and Cupcakes is a prime example, as it's set in a swirly, dreamy world of deliciousness designed to tempt the taste buds. Luckily for your teeth, this thing isn't edible. In the middle of the pastel-coloured wonderland is a 6-reel, 7-row game grid which uses a scatter pays mechanic to create wins. This particular mechanic was popularised by Pragmatic in their Sweet Bonanza slot which has become the template for these kinds of games. The view, while hardly original, is pleasing to the eye and should bring satisfaction to players keen on some candy-based action.
Playable on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices, Cupcakes accepts bets of 10 p/c to £/€200 per paid game round. In spite of its relatively low potential, it's a highly volatile slot that comes in a trio of RTP settings; the highest value being 96.05%, though be on the lookout for a 94.01% or 88.03% version depending on the market. To win, players collect a payout when at least 8 matching symbols are in view anywhere on the board. Since Cupcakes uses a scatter pays system, winning symbols do not have to land in lines, ways, or be adjacent to each other.
Each cluster win triggers the Avalanche mechanic, which removes the winning symbols from the board, allowing other symbols to drop down to fill in the spaces. This system continues to function like this until no new win hits. Then any tallied multiplier is applied to the total prize value accrued during the sequence and paid. Cupcakes' symbols are split into two varieties – Gumdrops and the Cupcakes of the title. Each symbol type comes in 7 different coloured varieties, which can interact with each other as part of certain features. Let's take a look at how they may do so in the following section.
Cupcakes: Slot Features
Gumdrops appear in any position in 1x1 size, while Cupcakes hit in 2x2 size and fall to the bottom of the grid or stack up on top of each other. Gumdrops take part in Scatter Pays; however, when a Cupcake of the same colour hits, gumdrops gather on top of its frosting. The Cupcake's multiplier then adds to the tally when it is filled with at least 10 Gumdrops. Cupcakes come with random multiplier values of x2, x3, x4, x5, x10, x25, x30, x50, or x100. The multiplier is reset between spins in the base game.
The Crush feature is active in the base and bonus game. When 5 or more Gumdrops are part of a winning combination over two reels with at least two Gumdrops on each reel, the Crush feature is triggered. A Cupcake then falls through the reel pair. Note that this feature will not trigger if the reel pair has a scatter symbol, two Cupcake symbols, or if there are four Cupcakes already on the grid.
Getting 3, 4, or 5 Cupcake Tub scatter symbols anywhere on the reels awards 10, 13, or 16 free spins, respectively. While free spins are active, it is possible to win 3, 6, or 9 additional free spins when 3, 4, or 5 scatter symbols hit. The difference in free spin is that where the multiplier resets in the base game between spins, it does not reset in the bonus round, so it can keep on accumulating. On a final note, for those players who cannot wait to get to the bonus round, paying 100x the bet will get them a guaranteed 10 free spins.
Cupcakes: Slot Verdict
One of the positive things about the candy subject matter is that it provides a versatile cover for all manner of math models and features. Cupcakes, despite its heavy calorific count, is in some ways a fairly lighter, mid-level slot, following in the footsteps of games like NetEnt's Cornelius, which came out not long before this one did. Okay, maybe Cupcakes is a little more heavy-duty than Cornelius was; it is a highly volatile game, after all. However, Cupcakes isn't the sort of slot that showcases the sort of envelope-bending NetEnt has displayed in the past.
It's not necessarily a write-off either, though, and while it might have candy, scatter pays, and multipliers, it is quite different from, say, Sweet Bonanza – the slot which feels like one of Cupcake's closest competitors and which it, in part, might have been modelled after. One area where Cupcake possibly comes up short when compared to the Pragmatic Play classic is that its winning potential tops out at a so-so 2,762 times the bet. Though, on a side note, there were question marks regarding Sweet Bonanza advertised max win (which we are yet to see), but anyway. Aside from this somewhat disappointing stat, the rest of Cupcakes has been designed to a typically high NetEnt standard. As such, certain candy and cake fans looking for a new way to scratch the sugary slot itch might find their desires satisfied in Cupcakes, for a while at least, until the next one pops from the oven.
So, did the world need one more sweet-themed online slot? Not really, but if this sort of thing is a personal preference and the low potential isn't a show stopper, then Cupcakes is like a box of chocolates - it's hard to say no to just one more, even if you're full.
Cupcakes might not be the most filling sweet slot on the market, but one that should still be able to satisfy a certain level of sugary gaming cravings.