Happy Apples: Slot Overview
Of all the varieties of fruit in the fruit kingdom, apples do seem like they would be one of the happiest. All red or green, hanging from trees, bursting with nutrients and… oh okay, yes, we are grasping at straws here trying to decipher the meaning of the title to Happy Apples, a fruit and Asian-themed online slot from developer Red Tiger. Clicking through the interwebs for a while offered little illumination, so let's just roll with shall we.
Happy Apples is a scatter-paying slot with a chain reaction mechanic and a handful of extras. It's located in an artsy spot; the background looks like it's been designed with a paintbrush and a palette of vibrant oil colours. The base game can be found in a mountainous region with soft, candy-floss clouds resting in a valley, while free spins appear to move players to a higher altitude which looks like a leftover from a candy-themed slot. Apt in a way, since as well as apples, whether happy or not, other symbols include Asian sweets and a bunch of adorable animal characters. Cute is well and truly the name of the game around here.
In the middle of all this adorability is a 6x6 game grid which drops 36 symbols on each base game round or free spin. The goal is for 10 or more matching symbols to land absolutely anywhere on the reels, to create a scatter win and fire out some coins. To start, players pick a stake of 10 p/c to $/€10 and decide whether to hit the spin button in regular mode, or pick one of three feature buys, if the option to do so is present. No matter how one plays Happy Apples, the maximum RTP is 95.7%, while the game's volatility is high.
Hitting a ten-of-a-kind win pays 0.1x to 7.5x the bet, whereas the most valuable wins have 15+ symbols in them and pay 1.5 to 35 times the stake. For Happy Apples' symbols, the four lower-value lot is made up of four sweet objects, and the four higher-value bunch are four cartoon animals that look like they are sitting on plates. There's another mystery as to why they might be doing so. Wild symbols are often absent from scatter-paying slots, and Happy Apples is yet another one which does not include them.
Happy Apples: Slot Features
One thing Happy Apples does have is chain reactions, as well as a Fortune Tree, Golden Apples, Diamond Apples, free spins, and feature buys. Chain reactions mean that every symbol in a win disappears from the board, making space for symbols left on the reels to drop into the spaces. Chain reactions roll on until no new win hits.
The apple tree above the reels is called the Fortune Tree. It contains apples which may drop at any time. At the beginning of a spin, there is a chance the Fortune Tree activates, dropping Golden Apples or Diamond Apples before regular symbols land. At times, the Fortune Tree might activate on a non-winning spin or at the end of a chain reaction. In these cases, Golden Apples are dropped, but it is possible a Diamond Apple drops as well.
When Golden Apples land on the reels, they all reveal the same pay symbol type. Up to 10 Golden Apples can drop from a single Fortune Tree activation.
Up to 3 Diamond Apples may land in a single Fortune Tree activation, each one carrying a multiplier of x2, x3, x5, x7, x10, x20, x25, x50, or x100. Diamond Apple multipliers are added up and stored above the reels. At the end of a spin, the multiplier is applied to the accumulated win. Multipliers always reset for the next spin.
Getting 3, 4, or 5 scatter symbols in view on the grid awards players with 10, 12, or 15 free spins, respectively. During the feature, there is a chance the Fortune Tree activates more often than in the base game. Also, if 3 scatter symbols land during the bonus round, +5 additional free spins are added to the tally.
Not in the mood to wait for the extras, and the Feature Buy button is on screen? Then clicking it lets you pick three ways of playing Happy Apples. One is buying free spins for 70x the bet; the second is to buy a spin with 5 or more guaranteed Golden Apples for 3x the bet, while the third is a spin with 1 or more guaranteed Diamond Apples for 15x the bet.
Happy Apples: Slot Verdict
Is it just us, or has Red Tiger made some creative changes recently, breaking away from their usually reliable MO to try different design ideas? Not like crazy makeovers, yet it feels like, around the time Red Tiger started bolting feature buys onto some of its games, the mood has shifted. The studio has always been fairly random in some ways, though you could more or less count on a good number of its releases having that steel win line slapping on reels effect when wins were formed, but those games seemed to have dropped back of late. Perhaps Happy Apples emerged during an experimental phase, and the studio will return to its ways before long. Or perhaps the team will be emboldened to push the imagination boat out further to see where the currents of creativity take them?
Then again, perhaps we're overplaying the creative aspects because Happy Apples came with a puzzling name and was hard to entirely pigeonhole into a single genre. It's got elements of fruit, sweets, culture, some fancy background brushwork, and features that aren't monstrous but can play into the scatter-paying mechanic well. What's perhaps not so great is the pay symbols don't have major values on their own, so any multiplier you're able to drag in will be a help. Multipliers can technically be quite large, too, though they tended to max out at modest levels in the review. Even then, they could be useful. The multiplier is not persistent in free spins, so there's no kind of progressive dynamic, making each game round one you hit or miss on. Like the multipliers, Happy Apples' max win on paper is fairly attractive, too, with a ceiling figure of 6,186.5x the bet.
After a run-through, Happy Apples didn't feel like it had the same level of mass appeal as something like Fruit Smash or Super Fruit Smash. The target audience came across as more specifically targeted, perhaps, but there are more goods than bads in Happy Apples, so the right player should be pretty satisfied with what Red Tiger has rolled together.
Happy Apples should throw enough of a curve ball to interest players looking for a slightly unusual, Asian-inspired scatter pay slot.