Cupcakes Slot Review
Sadly, in 2023, NetEnt as a slot brand does not mean as much as it did in the years before Evolution purchased this legendary Swedish company. As mentioned in our Wonders of Christmas review, NetEnt now releases around a game per month, and sometimes a few go by with no product from this provider appearing in casino lobbies. Thus, we take note every time they release a slot, and Cupcakes, distributed on December 8th, 2022, caught our eye because it is a NetEnt attempt to grab fans of the unassumingly popular sweets genre. This game debuted without much fanfare. And it does not seem to be doing exceptionally well in any market. Still, its similarity to other highly-popular releases made us review it, see how it stacks up and if NetEnt still has something to offer in the tank.
Cupcakes Slot Key Facts
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Theme & Design
What are sweets slots? They are reel-spinning games that feature candy as an integral part of their theme. How and why did this sub-genre become so established that it now boasts over two hundred titles no one knows? But the staggering success of Pragmatic Play’s Sweet Bonanza likely had something to do with it, as after its release in 2019, more and more of these games started to come out, and Sweet Bonanza still ranks as a top five slot in multiple markets. It even got a live casino version named Candy Land. Hacksaw’s Tasty Treats and Betsoft’s Super Sweets are two other beloved candy-themed spinners that players around the globe adore.
Cupcakes, in our opinion, is NetEnt trying to make a Sweet Bonanza-like slot. The setting here is similar to Pragmatic’s game, as it is also a mystical candy land whose sugar-rich landscape acts as a backdrop to colorful fruit and candy-inspired symbols lining up in a rectangle grid. Music-wise, the soundtracked used in Cupcakes is a light one, similar to the one other entries in this category boast. The audio effects fit appropriately but are slightly louder than the music than what we think they should be.
Overall, the presentation here is nothing spectacular. It is about what you would expect for a NetEnt game. We would go as far as to say that we thought we would get more flair from Cupcake’s presentation.
Concerning the gaming interface, the spin functions are in the middle of the bottom transparent panel. The win and balance info are to the right of these, with the bet adjuster to the left and the setting icon in the bottom left corner of your screen.
Specs & Gameplay
First, let us note that this is a cascading slot. That means that symbols that comprise winning combos explode, leaving room for new ones to fall into their place that will potentially create new rewards. Cupcakes also implement what many call the Buffalo mechanic, which are wilds with multipliers. Also, this is a scatter-pay game. That means when eight or more identical symbols appear in view, this spinner generates a prize sum into your balance. These tokens do not have to connect or be on adjacent reels.
The default RTP of Cupcakes is 94.01%, but it can fall as low as 88.03% at some operators and can climb up to 96.05% at others. The variance here is high, and the minimum bet is $0.1. The maximum wager is $200. The most you can stand to win in this slot is a reward worth x2,762.
There are no low and high-paying tokens in this slot, as only one set of pay ones exists labeled gumdrops, producing wins of x0.5 or x1 for combos of fifteen or more matching symbols. As mentioned, at least eight identical ones materialize on the same spin get needed for Cupcakes to generate a win.
The previously discussed symbols, gumdrops, show up in any position as 1×1 tokens. Cupcakes are 2×2 ones that fall to the bottom of your screen. They cannot partake in the scatter-pay cascade system and do not award wins. When gumdrops form a winning combo, they get removed from the grid and collected by an identically-colored cupcake on the game’s layout, accumulating on its frosting. When a cupcake gathers more than ten gumdrops, it disappears from the grid, and its multiplier value gets assigned. Cupcakes can have multiplier values up to x100, and multipliers get reset between spins in this slot’s base gameplay.
The Crush Mode randomly activates in the free spins and the base game when five or more gumdrops form a winning combo over two reels with at least two on each one. When that occurs, a Cupcake drops through the reel pair, but this will not happen if it has a scatter, two cupcakes, or if four in total are on the grid already.
Boxes labeled Cupcakes are the scatters in this game, and if three to five land anywhere on the same spin, they will activate ten, thirteen, and sixteen free spins, respectively. Extra free spins can get won in this round, and gamblers in specific jurisdictions can buy their way into this mode through a Bonus Buy button whose activation will run them x100 their bet.
We have seen some players writing off Cupcakes, calling it a rip-off game. Yet, in our eyes, it is different from Sweet Bonanza and deserving of more attention. Yes, even with a max bet of $200, the maximum prize potential of Cupcakes falls below most high-variance Pragmatic Play slots, but it still is not bad at all. The scatter-pay mechanic keeps things interesting, and the Crush Mode livens things up out of nowhere. All in all, we thought that the Cupcakes slot was loads of fun. It’s not the best sweets-themed reel spinner around, but we don’t understand the neglect it receives. It should get more credit and rank higher. Of that, we are certain. You are unlikely to attain steady streams of wins on Cupcakes, but that does not mean that you should not give it a spin and see how you fair on NetEnt’s latest game, one infused with mountains of virtual sugar.
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