Back in 2019, Pragmatic Play released Sweet Bonanza, which players took to like children in a sweet shop, finding joy in the mechanics and features, coupled with multipliers as high as x100 on offer. Sweet Bonanza proved so popular players were treated to Sweet Bonanza Xmas – which surprisingly is still requested in the hottest months of the year, with these two releases considered more than enough to keep players entertained. That is, until 2021 came around and Gates of Olympus was released, offering the same core mechanics and experience, with multipliers up to x500 on offer, all combined during free spins to take the experience to the next level. Oddly, despite turning the excitement up, the maximum win was decreased to 5,000x bet, which seems to be the level the team at Pragmatic opt to hover around these days. Now, they're back with another edition to this series – with Starlight Princess, a tranquil yet highly volatile edition, offering wins up to 5,000x bet alongside a default RTP of 96.50% (94.50% also available).
Visually, the reels are bordered in yellow gold, and the whole thing seems to hover in the clouds, with shooting stars, a full moon, an anime styled princess to the right and turrets of a castle just visible to the sides of the screen. Audios are surprisingly close to trance/dance tracks you'd hear on a Saturday night, with giggles from the princess scattered throughout.
Starlight Princess Base Features
Taking place across 6×5 reels, there are no fixed win lines in Starlight Princess, with symbols paying in any position, and a minimum of 8 required in view to form a win. Symbols available are a host of shapes, with yellow hexagons, teal decagons and green diamonds paying between 0.25 and 0.5x bet for 8 in view, increasing to between 2 and 5x bet for 12-30 in view. Next, pink pentagons and red hearts reward players with wins of 0.8 and 1x bet for 8 in view, and 8 and 10x bet for 12-30 in view. Premium symbols are circles with symbols imprinted upon them, with blue stars, purple moons, and pink hearts awarding 1.5-2.5x bet for 8 in view, up to 12-25x bet for 12-30 in view. Finally, the highest available symbol is the red sun, paying 10x bet for 8 in view, up to 50x bet for 12-30 in view.
Helping to keep things moving during the base game is the Tumble feature, wherein all symbols involved in a win are removed from the reels, with any remaining symbols dropping down to fill the spaces, and new symbols falling in from above, allowing new wins to be formed. Tumbles continue until no more wins are formed, with no limit to the amount of tumbles possible.
Also present on the reels are multiplier symbols, available to hit randomly during tumbles or at the beginning of any spin, paid or free. Multipliers take a random value from 2x – 500x, and are separated into coloured categories – green, blue, pink and orange. When a tumbling sequence ends, all multiplier symbols in view are added together, and the total win is multiplied by that value.
Finally, players have a choice of a higher bet during the base game (Ante Bet). If players opt in to bet an additional 25% per spin, the chance of triggering free spins naturally is doubled, and more Scatter symbols are added to the reels. Players cannot buy a feature if the additional 25% bet is enabled.
Starlight Princess Bonus
Landing 4, 5 or 6 Scatter symbols triggers 15 free spins, with trigger values of 3, 5 and 100x bet respectively. During free spins, whenever a multiplier symbol lands on the reels and the spin results in a win, the multiplier value gets added to the Total Multiplier – visible to the left of the reels.
For the duration of free spins, any new multiplier values that land will be added to the Total Multiplier before being applied to the current win value of the spin. The spin must result in a win for the multiplier to be added to the Total Multiplier, and a multiplier value must land for the Total Multiplier to be applied to the win value.
Landing 3 or more Scatter symbols during free spins awards an additional +5 free spins.
Players in appropriate regions can instantly trigger the free spins round for a cost of 100x bet. The feature buy option will be disabled if Ante Bet is activated. Free Spins will end either when 0 spins remain, or the maximum win value of 5,000x bet has been reached.
The RTP of Starlight Princess is the same in regular play, when Ante Bet is activated, or during the feature buy.
For all intents and purposes, it’s fair to say Starlight Princess is Gates of Olympus. From the win values, symbol imagery and features to how the character alters position before a multiplier drops – the experience is the same. With that in mind, the resultant opinion is fairly simple. There’s nothing new to discuss here, and no groundbreaking mechanics to consider, but the original was popular. Gates of Olympus proved just as popular as Sweet Bonanza, as its natural follow on, so it’s hard to see why Starlight Princess won’t catch on in the same way, especially given how many games each year are released with different imagery, to no complaint from players.
It seems that releases such as this suit players with a more superstitious approach towards gambling – for example, they feel if they've just won on their favourite game, they shouldn't play it for a while. Games such as this solve that problem, because you can just go play a reskin of your favourite game, and experience the same features. However, given that slots are entirely random (more on this here), it's hard to see how much of a point there is in two games doing exactly the same thing. Statistics are still more or less the same, with high volatility (5/5), 94.50% – 96.50% RTP and a maximum win of 5,000x bet, so nothing to complain about.
Overall, there's nothing at all wrong with Starlight Princess, there's just nothing new. If you're a fan of Sweet Bonanza or Gates of Olympus, then rest assured – you'll probably love it.
*The screenshots taken of games reviewed on this site are taken from Demo Play, as reviews are often written before games are released for real play.