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Candy Stars [Pragmatic Play]


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Title: Candy Stars
Developer: Pragmatic Play
Reels: 5
Rows: 3
Paylines: 20
RTP: 96.47% | 95.02% | 94.31%
Hit Freq: 1 in 3.33
Free Spins Freq: 1 in 216
Max Win: 5,000x
Max Win Probability: Freq: 1 in 2,159,827
Volatility: High
Min/Max Bet: 0.20/100
Release Date: October 7, 2022


Now playinghttps://k8.io/games/slots/vswaysstrwild 



Candy Stars: Slot Overview


When keeping tabs on new slot releases, does it sometimes seem like developers get caught up in trends, and a bunch of them release games with similar themes, mechanical concepts, or visual cues, either together or in a short space of time? So, it seemed when Pragmatic's Candy Stars hit the desk as we prepared our teeth for another candy-themed battering. Candy Stars is, as the name suggests, a sweet slot with a simple set of rules, which can nevertheless turn up the heat when its sticky wild multiplier is firing.


At first, though, Candy Stars didn't exactly turn up the heat from an aesthetic standpoint. Visually, Candy Stars had a half-finished, half-unfinished feel to it. As if it was a practice slot that slipped out of the sandbox and ended up in the wild - or it was destined to be filler. However, it got out; Candy Stars has a disco, boogying down effect going on, while the action occurs on a 5+1 game grid. In some ways, perhaps players should be happy the studio didn't flood the visuals with candy floss, doughnuts, and so on, as is often the case in a candy slot. Not that there's anything wrong with the sweetness overboard approach of games like Sweet Bonanza (also from Pragmatic Play), but it is nice to mix things up every now and then.





Played on desktop, mobile, or tablet devices, Candy Stars comes with the dependable set of stats we've come to expect from Pragmatic Play. This means a trio of RTP settings, from 94.31% to 96.47%, and volatility the studio has rated as high (5 out of 5). Any device from tablets, mobiles to desktops can be used to play the game, where players have a bet selection of 20 p/c to £/€100 per spin.


Candy Stars looks like a mini-mEGAWAYS game, played on a game grid with 5 reels holding 3 symbols each, plus a 3 symbol horizontally spinning reel on the top. On this panel, wins are awarded when matching symbols land left to right on adjacent reels, starting from the leftmost reel. This system provides 576 ways to win. As for the pay symbols, they start with J-A card royals as the low pays, worth 1-1.5x the bet for five-of-a-kind, then followed by four candy high pays worth 2 to 7.5x the bet for five-of-a-kind. Wilds in Candy Stars are pretty special. For one, they are able to substitute for any regular pay symbol, plus, they have an interesting multiplier element as well, covered below.





Candy Stars: Slot Features




Candy Stars gets its boogie on through a variety of features such as tumbles, sticky wilds, free spins, and, where possible, a bonus buy.


Tumble Feature
Available in the base and bonus game, the tumble mechanic removes winning symbols from the board after a payout has been made. Symbols left on the reel strips fall down into the empty positions. If a new win is created after the symbols have dropped, the tumble mechanic triggers again, stopping when no new win hits.


Sticky Wilds
When a wilds lands (they only appear on the top row), it is not removed from the board when used as part of a winning combination. Instead, they remain on the reel until the next new base game spin or free spin occurs. Wilds come with a starting multiplier of x1 in the base game. After each tumble, the multiplier increases by +1, up to a maximum of x128. Wild multipliers are applied to any win that passes through it.


Free Spins
Diamonds are scatters, and landing 3 of them on reels 1, 3, and 5 triggers 8 free spins. During this bonus round, one wild is guaranteed to land on the top row in a random cell on every free spin. Now, wilds land with a multiplier of x2, which is applied to any win passing through it. After each tumble, the multiplier value is doubled, up to a maximum of x128. Landing 3 scatters during the round awards +5 extra free spins.


Buy Free Spins
If the opportunity is there (depending on casino and jurisdiction), players may buy free spins for the cost of 80 times the total bet. When buying free spins, the max RTP value is 96.26%.








Candy Stars: Slot Verdict


Is it us, or has Pragmatic Play opened up the spigot recently and increased its rate of production? Slots seem to be fair flying off the line at the time of writing, which can be both a positive and a not-so-positive thing. Doing things briskly can lead to slots like Candy Stars which feel like they were rushed out the door to make up numbers rather than fulfil some sort of creative urge. The game came across as half done, cobbled together quickly, given a polish, and sent out into the real world to see what it can do.


Of course, we could be entirely wrong, yet that's the impression Candy Stars gave off during testing. Initially, at least. When compared to slots which clearly have a ton of effort and creativity poured into them, it felt a little threadbare. There's a sweetie disco thing going on that is fun, in its way, but was it designed this way on purpose, or were a few bits and pieces lying unused around the studio get mashed together in a hurry? Who knows, anyway, as to playing Candy Stars, it could actually be surprisingly good. Simple, pacey, to the point. Wild multipliers had the ability to produce eyebrow-raising moments, in part due to the pay ways system and part to their progressive nature. Free spins are where the game can really blast off since the multiplier values are able to grow so much quicker than in the base game, while the max payout is governed by a 5,000x the bet win cap.


Candy Stars might not be as interesting as a game like Raptor DoubleMax or even its sibling Florageddon!, but it has its moments. Throughout the testing session, there was a suspicion Candy Stars was actually a clone of a previous game, but the name of which hovered just out of our consciousness like a dream you vaguely catch wisps of when waking yet are unable to fully playback in your mind (there are also some slight similarities to Euphoria). Either way, Candy Stars isn't a bad game, the sticky wild multipliers are a source of intrigue, and there's a simplistic charm that's easy to go along with, but it's not one likely to rock the gambling world a whole heck of a lot.




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