Sweet PowerNudge: Slot Overview
Casino game maker Pragmatic Play adds to its PowerNudge range of slots with a third release bearing the title Sweet PowerNudge. Gotta say the plain name didn't inspire a whole lot of excitement at the start, though it did provide a big clue of what to expect. You got it; Sweet PowerNudge slides right into the candy category of online slots and all that entails from a sensory standpoint. For its gameplay, we find the PowerNudge mechanic alongside a Multiplier Reel, free spins, and, where available, the Ante Bet and feature buy.
Sweet PowerNudge's presentation is pleasant, but like its title, is a little unimaginative as well. It's got candy symbols and candy in the background, so there are plenty of sweet, chewy objects. An additional layer of bounce is provided by the soundtrack, which has a joyful presence, yet cranking up the bass setting on your equaliser might help fill it out further. All in all, a nice enough scene, though pretty hackneyed by now. Whilst there is likely well thought-through strategy behind it, going for the uncomplicated feelgood Candy Crush style presentation and all, Sweet Powernudge displays little on the screen that players with candy slot experience won't be familiar with.
Backtracking a bit now, the first two PowerNudge games, Goblin Heist PowerNudge and Rise of Giza PowerNudge, had similar grid setups which Sweet PowerNudge deviates from. This time, it's made up of 6 reels holding 5 symbols each, plus a multiplier reel on the right-hand side. To get a win, matching symbols must land in blocks of at least 5, connected in vertical or horizontal directions. Available in three RTP models, 96.08%, 95.01%, and 94.07%, these values stay the same whether playing normally, using the Ante Bet, or buying free spins. Base bets can be set from 20 p/c to $/€100 per spin, increasing by 25% with the Ante Bet on, doubling the chance of winning the feature.
It's all squidgy, sweety-looking objects on the paytable in Sweet PowerNudge, beginning with J-A icons as the low pays, then purple, yellow, green, and red treat items as the highs. Entry-level five-of-a-kind wins pay 0.1 to 1x the bet, while at the upper end of the pay scale, 15+ sized hits are worth 10 to 100 times the bet. Other extras can be used to boost wins, but not wild symbols since they do not appear at any time in Sweet PowerNudge.
Sweet PowerNudge: Slot Features
Since PowerNudge is the headlining act, let's start with that. When a win appears on the board, the reels holding the winning symbols nudge down one position, and new symbols appear at the top. Non-winning reels remain stationary. The game pays again for any winning symbols in view after the nudge down. New wins can appear after a nudge, and the nudge feature ends when no more winning combinations are present. Then, the next paid spin or free spin can begin.
This reel has multiplier values of x1, x2, x3, x4, x5, or x10. By default, it's disabled in the base game but can randomly activate. When it does, it also nudges on that spin for any winning reel nudges. After each nudge, the multiplier value in the middle position is added to a total multiplier which is applied to the win of the current nudge. At the end of the spin, the multiplier resets to x1, and the reel is disabled.
Scatter symbols are collected when they land, and in the base game, collecting 4 or more of them triggers the free spins round. If more than 4 scatters trigger the feature, the extra scatters carry over to free spins, possibly contributing to retriggers. Now, the bonus round begins with 7 free spins and each time 4 scatters are collected, +3 additional free spins are awarded. One of the benefits of free spins is the multiplier reel is switched on for the full duration. The last thing to mention is the feature buy option which players can use to buy free spins for the cost of 100 times the stake.
Sweet PowerNudge: Slot Verdict
It's hard to know what to say about Sweet PowerNudge. It's not a game that commanded attention from the outset with its low-key title, and where the low-keyness was followed through when the game's regular batch of candy graphics filled the screen. Guess we were expecting something more after the devious-looking goblins of Goblin Heist PowerNudge and the cyborg pharaohs in Rise of Giza PowerNudge. This one's a lot more conventional, presenting mainly, well, sweets, which has been done enough times in the past to make Sweet PowerNudge feel a little passe.
Still, looks and sounds are only one part of the equation; how about the gameplay? Again, it's alright, but nothing hugely exciting. Pragmatic Play is no stranger to the multiplier reel idea, having popped up before in games like Hot Safari and Aztec Gems. It has the ability to work quite well when it's firing off multiplier values, ramping up the collective multiplier during a nudge sequence, which it has the ability to randomly do in the base game or on each free spin. It might take patience to sit through batches of dead spins, yet Sweet PowerNudge has the type of features and pay mechanic that are capable of snowballing off of each other. With a max win of 5,000 times the bet, there are no doubt opportunities here for some pretty exciting snowballing, too.
After the two previous PowerNudge games' bursts of creativity, it was a tad disappointing to see Pragmatic Play fall back on such a generic theme presentation. Then again, candy slots are immensely popular, in particular those coming from the Pragmatic Play production line, so perhaps picking such a cosy game world will wind up making this a PowerNudge break-out slot, or perhaps it'll end up being one of those games that's okay for a spin or two but hard to justify returning back to. Time will tell.
Sweet PowerNudge comes with intriguing gameplay but is hampered by its rather generic presentation.