PapayaPop: Slot Overview
Developer Avatar UX invites players to get all glammed up for a night out in their Art Deco themed game PapayaPop. As the name suggests, this is another instalment in their popular PopWins driven range of slots, in collaboration with Yggdrasil Gaming. Avatar UX has done a fruity PopWins game before titled CherryPop, so PapayaPop is aimed at a more upmarket audience, described by its maker as a 'luxurious fruit slot'. It actually shares more than just fruit with CherryPop, as both games offer a similar set of features, including PopWins, expanding reels, and free spins using a progressive multiplier.
If there is one word that sums up the Art Deco era to a tee, it's 'swinging'. PapayaPop has plenty of this on tap, captured mainly through big band audio while the graphics team did a nice job of replicating the visuals from The Great Gatsby, which was in turn based on the quintessential F. Scott Fitzgerald novel of the age. 'I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life' as expressed by the main character. PapayaPop certainly has a sparkle, and the choice to use exotic fruits for symbols instead of the usual cherries or plums lot was a wise move.
Getting 1920s chic is possible on any device from smartphones to desktops, while bets range from 20 p/c to £/€40 per spin. Highly volatile, the action occurs on a reel set that starts in the base game at 5x3 size, providing 243 ways to win. This number is technically doubled since the grid pays both ways – left to right, and right to left, making more use of the game board to showcase the PopWins feature. With an RTP of 96%, hits come at a frequency of 22%, while potential is modest for a PopWins game but respectable in the grand scheme of things.
As mentioned, the game pays both ways, so if three matching symbols land adjacently from either outside reel, players celebrate a win. We get 9-A card royals on the low side, followed by horned melons, starfruit, durians, figs, mangosteens, dragon fruit, and a sparkling silver pineapple as the high pays. Landing a five symbol high paying combination is worth 2.5 to 8 times your stake, trumped by the golden papaya symbol, paying 15x the bet for five. Papayas being the lone super high symbol. To wrap up this section, let's just mention PapayaPop uses neither wilds nor scatters at any point in the game. Instead, it relies solely on PopWins' properties to build values.
PapayaPop: Slot Features
When a win hits in PapayaPop, the respective symbols are popped from the board and replaced with new ones, possibly leading to consecutive wins on a single spin. This process extends reels upwards and increases ways to win. In the base game, reels can reach 6 positions high at the most, meaning up to 7,776 ways are in play, or 15,552 since it pays both ways. When no new wins appear in a sequence, the grid resets back to its regular size.
However, if all reels reach 6 rows high in the base game, free spins with an x2 multiplier are awarded. Before they begin, players can collect or gamble them to potentially start with up to 6,250 ways and an x5 multiplier. To do so, you spin a Gamble Wheel, which will forfeit free spins if it stops on a non-winning segment.
The bonus round does not have a set number of free spins, starting with 3 lives instead. Non-winning spins remove a life, while wins reset the counter back to three. Hit zero lives, and the bonus round ends. The grid can now increase up to 9 reels in height in free spins, boasting 118,098 ways to win. Also, the grid resets to the lowest reel height instead of its starting size between free spins. Therefore, if all reels reach nine rows high, the game will stay that way for the rest of the feature.
In addition, the win multiplier increases by +1 after each free spin, whether there was a win or not. If the grid reaches its full 9-row size, the multiplier increments by +2 instead, with no enforced upper limit.
One more feature before we go is the Bonus Buy option. Hit the button to pay 75x the stake to buy free spins. Players can gamble to improve the starting size and multiplier as before or collect to head straight in with the x2 multiplier/ 486 starting ways. For those who prefer to wait, or can't access the feature buy, free spins trigger every 197 spins on average.
PapayaPop: Slot Verdict
PapayaPop provides players with a conventional run-through of what PopWins is all about. Avatar UX hasn't added anything new to the gameplay, focusing their attention on the theme instead. In some ways, it feels like PapayaPop was hurried off the line not to further the series but just to keep the brand in the public eye lest it fades into obscurity. There seems little chance of this happening since Avatar UX has done a great job of building its own niche for their PopWins games to occupy. It's just that since PapayaPop does nothing to move the range on, it feels like padding rather than evolution.
It's not to say PapayaPop won't entertain players up for a bout of PopWins in an Art Deco-styled game. The core features function as well as ever; it's just there are no extra sparks provided by an interesting new innovation. Potential is high, at 10,542 times the stake, so exciting payouts are technically possible, yet this figure is nowhere near as high as others in the range. In fact, PapayaPop's is one of the weakest when it comes to potential, not that there is an abundance of footage evidencing players hitting max wins on any of the PopWins games, though.
To sum up, PapayaPop is capable of producing fine moments, and it's as slick as any other PopWins game. It is a little disappointing that Avatar UX didn't put a lot of thought into the features, relying on brand recognition and fancy styling to carry the game.
PapayaPop doesn’t advance the PopWins mechanic, but its lux environment might appeal to glamsters looking for something fashionable to enjoy the game engine in.