The team at Big Time Gaming are back with another release, and this time they're heading to Greece to bring us an Apollo themed game, packed with potential – Apollo Pays. With up to 117,649 ways to win thanks to BTG‘s famed Megaways mechanic, respins, Win Exchange™ and free spins, this highly volatile release is capable of producing wins up to 116,030x bet, aided by a Default RTP of 96.56%. Let's take a closer look at Apollo and everything he has to offer…
Visually, we're in Olympus, with a stunning neutral town in view – or maybe it's just a huge estate for Apollo himself. Either way, it's certainly soothing. There are clouds, clear blue waters glimmering in the sunlight, bright green shrubbery, waterfalls, and mist adding to this aesthetic. The reel edges are adorned in ornate gold tying in with the theme, and the reels themselves are a deep navy, helping to contrast and make everything easy to see, and follow. Audios are pleasant and calm, with harp sounds and lighter than usual reel sounds, making the whole thing feel very light and soft.
Apollo Pays Base Features
Taking place across 6 reels, wins are formed by matching at least 3 symbols on adjacent reels, beginning with the leftmost reel. Each reel can contain up to 7 symbols, for a combined total of 117,649 ways to win. When it comes to the payable, things are a standard Big Time Gaming affair, with the lower end consisting of 9, 10, J, Q, K and As, paying between 0.05 and 0.15x bet for 3 of a kind matches, increasing to wins between 0.20 and 0.30x bet for 6 of a kind. At the premium end, it's the green, blue, red and purple symbols we would expect – this time in the form of Grecian jewels. Land 3 green or blue jewels to see wins of 0.20x bet, increasing to 0.40x bet for 6 of a kind, whilst red jewels pay between 0.25x bet and 0.50x bet for matches between 3 and 5 of a kind. The highest paying purple jewel is also the only which pays for 2 of a kind, awarding wins of 0.20x bet, increasing to 5x bet for 6 of a kind. Finally, we have a rainbow Apollo wild which can land on reels 2-5, substituting for all symbols except the golden harp Scatter.
There's two things to keep your eye on within Apollo Pays – respins and the Win Exchange, but we'll take a look at respins first. Whenever a win occurs, the winning symbols are locked into place, surrounded by a golden glow. At this point, all other symbols on the reels are respun. If at least 2 more symbols improve the win, they will lock into place during the respin and 1 more respin is awarded. Respins continue until less than 2 new symbols improve the win, at which point the win is paid.
During respins, Scatters will be locked into place regardless of their reel placement, and new symbols can land to form new combinations. The requirement to trigger another respin is to have at least 2 symbols improve the overall win, rather than improve the specific win respins started with. This means if a wild is locked into place on reel 2 with Ks forming a win, Qs on reel 1 and 3 may lock into place on the next respin, as these will improve the overall win awarded.
Next up it's Win Exchange™, which Big Time Gaming first introduced to us in Gold Megaways. With Win Exchange, whenever you win 100x bet or more, you have the option to exchange 100x bet for 10 free spins. If you have won more than 100x bet, only 100x bet will be exchanged, and the remainder will be added to your free spins win.
If you win between 25 and 99x bet, you have the option to exchange the entire win for a chance to be awarded 10 free spins – by gambling. The chance of winning the gamble is represented by green on the wheel, and the chance of losing is represented by red. The higher x bet the win, the more green will be present on the wheel.
Apollo Pays Bonus
To trigger free spins naturally, you must land at least 3 Scatters – 3 Scatters will award 10 free spins, with an additional +2 free spins awarded for each Scatter beyond the third. During free spins, things continue much the same as within the base game, with the addition of an unlimited Win Multiplier.
Each time a respin is triggered in free spins, the win multiplier increments by +1. The multiplier begins at x1, and has no limit on how high it can go, however respins do behave the same as within the base, with at least 2 symbols improving the win required to award a respin.
Landing 3 Scatters during free spins will award an additional +4 free spins, and a further +2 free spins for each Scatter beyond the third.
If you're a fan of Big Time Gaming, Apollo Pays could be calling your name – it doesn't get more BTG than this. On a design front, it's clean, crisp and well executed, but it's nothing particularly new in terms of styling. It is the first Grecian release we've seen from the team, so the elements themselves are new, but the aesthetic and style feel like classic Big Time Gaming. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but if you've been spending extended amounts of time playing some of the other releases on the market packed with extreme graphics, you would be forgiven for thinking Apollo Pays is pretty tame.
There are further new aspects for the team within the game play, beginning with the respin feature, particularly with this being possible in every spin within the base game and free spins round. This leads to the potential for some pretty hefty wins, as can be seen above in our screenshot (144x in the base game), however it can feel more difficult than one would first think. With respins available, it feels like achieving the 25x bet necessary for Win Exchange should be easy, but it isn't landing as often as you imagine.
It is good to see Win Exchange making a comeback, with my only issue being that if you bypass the 100x mark, the win count up is also bypassed, instead taking you straight to the Win Exchange screen. This does remove some of the excitement of seeing the win count up and wondering how far it will go, although this blow is obviously softened by the opportunity to exchange, or gamble, for free spins.
Free spins do what they say on the tin, taking the base game action and elevating it with the win multiplier available, culminating in an experience that builds the right kind of tension. There is potential for some huge wins in this highly volatile release – up to 116,030x bet, specifically. Overall, a solid release from the team.
*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.