One of the interesting things about online slots is seeing what themes or characters become long-term favourites. There are the big obvious ones like Ancient Egypt, Irish/Leprechaun, and classic fruit machines, which return again and again. And again. One species that has somehow managed to stick it out are those industrious insects, bees. One way these little guys and gals might have managed to carve out such a successful niche in the gambling market is that they’re usually super cute. Tipping the genre on its head, here’s Sticky Bees from one of the busiest bees in online slot design, Pragmatic Play, which shuns the traditional cute bee angle.
Matching the naturalistic bee theme is a stack of naturalistic imagery. Players are thrust deep into a dense rural area full of sparkly bits, flowers, vines, trees, grass, the whole enchanted grove thing. The scene is a teeny bit generic, as in, it’s not overly bee-related, and the scene Pragmatic Play has designed to host the game could have been used for all manner of beasts. Yet, the aim of Sticky Bees isn’t to feel all warm and fuzzy with a hive of smiling insects. Get Sticky Bees on a good roll, and it is unlikely to matter much which kind of critter is crawling around the game grid.
Speaking of grid, Sticky Bees is played on a 7 by 7 sized gaming panel, utilising a cluster pays system for creating wins. Simply put, landing five or more matching symbols that connect in horizontal or vertical directions creates a winning cluster. Symbols in a winning cluster are removed from the reels by the tumble mechanic and are replaced with symbols dropping down from above. Runs of consecutive cluster wins are possible on a single spin, coming to an end when no new win hits.
Playable from between 20 p/c to £/€100, be sure to cast an eye over the paytable where the game’s RTP value can easily be found. It is available in several settings, maxing at 96.06% when playing normally or 95.96% when buying the bonus round, which comes at a cost of 100 times the bet. For symbols, Sticky Bees has got 10 regular pays. These are J-A card royals as the low pays, then cherries, grapes, an orange, watermelon, plum and a strawberry as the high pays. Landing a 5 OAK winning cluster pays 0.25 to 5 times the bet, while a 20+ symbol cluster awards 12.5 to 125 times the bet. Regular wilds appear on all reels and substitute for all symbols except the scatter symbol.
Sticky Bees: Slot Features
The remaining features to go over are marked positions and Super Wilds, plus free spins.
Marked Positions and Super Wilds
On each spin, 12 to 19 positions on the grid are randomly marked. Where the bees come into the game is the Super Wild. Super Wilds also substitute for all symbols except the scatter and may appear on all reels. When a Super Wild lands on a marked position either from an initial spin or a tumble, it activates the position. When symbols land on an activated marked position, they transform into a wild symbol. Positions remain marked and/or activated until the end of all tumbles in a base game spin.
In the base game, when a Super Wild lands on a marked position, it sends 2-6 extra Super Wilds to other random marked positions, activating them until the tumbles on the spin end.
Hitting 4 scatter symbols triggers 7 free spins, plus 1 extra free spin for each additional triggering scatter symbol. At the start of the free spins round, 16 to 19 positions are marked on the grid for the full duration of the feature. On each free spin, 1-3 Super Wilds are guaranteed to land on random marked positions. Activated marked positions remain activated until the round comes to an end. Landing 3 or more scatter symbols awards +1 extra free spin.
Sticky Bees: Slot Verdict
Sticky Bees isn’t really about hanging out in a beehive or anything like that, nor is it trying to be cute. So if getting a full-on friendly anthophila fix is what you want, you might want to try one of the competitor slots like Bee Hive Bonanza, Beellionaires Dream Drop, or Wild Swarm, for example. Nor is Sticky Bees trying to be all adorable and cuddly by giving its characters cartoon personification, either. However, there is more to Sticky Bees than just joining in a pollen hunt with a bunch of cartoon characters. When it gets on a good roll, it doesn’t really matter what part of the animal kingdom it’s associated with.
Wind Sticky Bees up, and on the right occasion, it can go pretty bananas with sequences of consecutive tumbles – when the right symbols are sitting in the right place. Not so much in the base game for us, but in free spins, all the ingredients are there to knock together some lengthy tumble runs. It’s funny; Sticky Bees brought back memories of Relax Gaming’s slot Cluster Tumble, which could chain wins together like practically nothing else. If you’re into repeat tumbles and haven’t seen the €100k Cluster Tumble win, it’s worth checking out. Just make sure to bring a bottle of water and supplies with you, as the clip runs for more than 20 minutes. Sticky Bees wasn’t quite that drawn out, but darn, activate a few marked positions near each other in the bonus round, and you could be in for some solid repeat tumble-win action. Of course, Sticky Bees is certainly not guaranteed to perform, but it’s got the goods to do so, technically speaking.
And with 10,000 times the bet as its top prize, there’s plenty of honey to dip your fingers in, too, potentially, when they tumblin’s good. Make no mistake, Sticky Bees is happy to tease as well, and for some reason, it feels like a multiplier system, while not essential, is somehow missing. So, as mentioned before, Sticky Bees isn’t one to play if you want to plunge into an adorable bee game and wrap the theme around you like a goose feather duvet. If, though, you’re in the mood for a slot that has the capability to string together decent runs of consecutive tumbles and aren’t too fussed about what animal is involved, then Sticky Bees could be well worth a look.
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