AvatarUX are bringing us back to their innovative PopWins™ mechanic, and this time around things are about to get a lot jazzier, with the release of PapayaPop™. Joining it's 6 predecessors in the series, including HippoPop, PapayaPop utilises expanding reels, a gamble feature, free spins and incrementing multipliers. Inspired by elegant casino lounges and cabaret clubs from Paris to New York, audiovisuals take us straight back to the 1920s, with graphics so stunningly art-deco they could almost be framed and hung in the grandest of entrance halls. RTP is the usual 96.0% we've come to expect from the PopWins series, with a hit frequency of 22% and a glamorous maximum win of 10,542x bet in this 5 reel, moderate volatility slot. With such high-end themes on offer, will PapayaPop bring the Jazz Age back into fashion?
PapayaPop Base Features
Taking place across 5 reels, each beginning with 3 symbols for 486 ways to win, Papaya Pop offers the chance to expand win ways up to 15,552 ways in the base game, through PopWins. Winning combinations “pop” off the reels and are replaced by two symbols on the reels, up to a maximum of 6 symbols. With a hit frequency of 22%, players can expect a high energy game, with plenty of value.
PapayaPop builds upon the previously established fruit theme, set in stone not just by AvatarUX with CherryPop, but by providers across the sector from day 1. PapayaPop naturally doesn't use the same standard cherries and plums as any old slot, though – they didn't call it the roaring twenties for nothing. Instead, we're treated to a deliciously exotic selection, including star fruits, guava, figs, passion fruit, dragon fruit, gold pineapples and of course, the most exotic of all – the solid gold Papaya. Accompanying our high paying symbols are the usual suspects of 9, 10, J, Q, K and A. Matching 5 of a kind premium symbols rewards players between 2.5x and 15x bet, but remember – PapayaPop pays both ways, so there's some solid groundwork for huge wins here.
Expanding all reels to 6 symbols high triggers free spins, which begins with a x2 multiplier. Rather than awarding a set amount of spins, players are instead awarded 3 lives. At this point, players can choose to gamble the feature, or collect. If players choose to take their feature to the gamble wheel, they can win:
- Gamble Wheel 1: x3 multiplier and 2,048 ways
- Gamble Wheel 2: x4 multiplier and 6,250 ways
If the gamble wheel lands on gold, the starting multiplier will be x5. However, if either of the gamble wheels land on the X symbol, players forfeit their entire bonus.
During free spins, any spins which do not produce a win remove a life, but any winning spins will reset the counter back to 3 lives. This is a mechanic we've seen well established in releases like Money Train 2 or Fire In The Hole. PopWins continue to work as normal during free spins, but instead of increasing to a maximum of 6 symbols high, reels can increase as tall as 9 symbols high, giving the opportunity for 118,098 ways to win. After each spin, reels reset back to the smallest height of the spin before, rather than their starting height.
An incrementing multiplier works alongside free spins, but rather than increasing by 1 for each win as we would expect, the multiplier increases by 1 after each spin, regardless of wins. If all reels unlock to 9 symbols high, the multiplier increases by 2 after each spin. Alongside this, all reels will remain 9 symbols high for the duration of free spins – which are unlimited, with no multiplier limits in place, which is perhaps how wins of up to 10,542x are available.
For players in appropriate regions, a feature buy is available at a cost of 75x bet, where players again can choose to gamble or collect their feature, which will always begin at 486 ways to win & a x2 multiplier.
Fans of the PopWins series will undoubtably add PapayaPop to the favourites list without much thought. For players that remain unconvinced, it's unclear if PapayaPop will be the one to tip the scales in their favour. Although still an impressive 10,542x, the maximum win available is one of the lowest of the series so far, and it seems to be a lot tamer in comparison to it's predecessors. Now, that doesn't mean we won't see some lucky players hitting some huge wins on PapayaPop, but there will inevitably be some players disappointed by the lack of “extra” features such as the multiplier wheel within BountyPop, or the multiplying hippo from HippoPop.
Attention to detail and passion is clear to see by the superb audiovisuals in this upcoming release – the Art Deco graphic as wins pop from the board is a nice touch. Despite not making any changes to the overall mechanic, PapayaPop remains a solid addition to the catalogue, and will please well-established fans. It's often important to remember that once mechanics are developed we frequently don't see many changes made after the fact, aside from theme changes. AvatarUX are frequently adding and taking away small parts of the PopWins series, meaning each release does offer a slightly varied experience, to cater to individual player preferences, such as multiplier wheels, multiplying top symbols, and multipliers incrementing by more than 1. RTP remains a solid 96.0% and the hit frequency is fair, sitting at 22%. Overall, we suspect there will be many players delighted to have another pop-slot to sink their teeth into, but still a few players just waiting for that push to move PopWins forwards.
*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.