PiggyPop: Slot Overview
Editor’s note: This review evaluates PiggyPop based on its early access state. We plan on updating this review if needed once the game gets a full release.
Eagle-eyed players should be able to unravel the mystery of PiggyPop by splitting the concatenated title into its two constituent parts. The first part relates to the theme: anthropomorphic piggy’s working in or near a bank overflowing with cash. The second part, ‘Pop’, signifies Avatar UX‘s burgeoning PopWins series of slots. We’ve pretty much lost track of how many of these games the studio has released now, each one using a different theme and side features, though all built around the PopWins mechanism.
PopWins games were arguably more diverse in the beginning, but it seems Avatar UX has hit a groove they like, and the last few releases have shared a similar vibe. This is the jazzy, shiny, bright, chromed look, completely ditching the Asian influence that kicked the series off in PopRocks. In its stead are pigs in various poses and a hint of a bank, though the banking angle isn’t as hugely prominent as it can be in games of this ilk.
PiggyPop introduces a change from the get-go; this is the extra row and reel over what we usually get. Now, the action takes place on a default 6-row, 4-reel grid, providing 4,096 ways to win. Winning combinations in PiggyPop are formed when three to six matching symbols land on adjacent reels starting from the left-hand side. Each win triggers the PopWins feature covered below. A little disappointing for a PopWins game, PiggyPop’s RTP has taken a minor hit, dropping to 95.5%, which isn’t the end of the world yet being the lowest of the range dents its appeal. Not even buying the feature increases the theoretical return. Volatility is high, while hits come at a frequency of 18.93%, so a bit under one in every five spins is a winner.
Piggies appear on the paytable as the four highest paying symbols; the most valuable is the golden pig symbol worth 3x the bet for a six of a kind combination. Lower-value symbols include Q-A royals, plus perfume bottles, cocktail glasses, and gems. That’s it for symbols, too, since PiggyPop does not use scatters or wilds.
PiggyPop: Slot Features
Okay, we had a countback, and PiggyPop appears to be the 8th slot in the series and offers the same core feature used in previous releases. This is the PopWins mechanic, which removes winning combinations from the grid, replacing each individual symbol with two new ones, thereby increasing reel height and the number of ways to win. If the added symbols create new wins, the process continues. If you’ve played PopWins before, you’ll know rows and ways build up pretty fast. At full size, the grid grows to 6 rows high in the base game, providing 93,312 ways and 8 rows high in free spins where 524,288 ways are active. When no new wins appear in the base game, the grid resets to its default size.
If you manage to increase the height of all reels to 6 positions high in the base game, the PiggyPop Free Spins bonus is triggered. Before it begins, players have the option of spinning the Gamble Wheel. Winning the first gamble increases the starting game grid to 5 rows high, the second gamble increases it to 6 rows.
The bonus game starts with 3 spins, and any win resets the counter back to 3. In the feature, the height of expanded reels resets to the height of the shortest reel instead of all resetting back to the default size. For example, if 3 rows are 8 positions high and the other two are 7 rows high, they will reset to 7 rows for the next spin. A progressive win multiplier is also active during free spins, starting at x2, and increasing by +1 after each PopWin. The multiplier does not reset at any point during the feature.
Not only is the golden pig the most valuable symbol, but it also appears with a multiplier in free spins. The multiplier’s value depends on the number of golden pigs in view. For example, 4 golden pigs in view means any golden pig win is multiplied by x4. However, if all reels reach 8 rows high, the value of Golden Pig multipliers is doubled, so if 4 are in view, for example, their multiplier will be x8, not x4.
Where available, PiggyPop comes with two feature buy options. One is the standard bonus buy which costs 100x the bet to trigger free spins and allow players to gamble on the wheel. The other one is the MAX Bonus, where for 400x the stake you can start free spins on the 6-row game grid.
PiggyPop: Slot Verdict
As the series eyes up double digits, Avatar UX is certainly squeezing the cash cow for as much as it’s worth. Are they running out of ideas, though? The piggy bank thing is a very common slots motif, and the last few PopWins games have used fairly regular themes as well. The funny thing is, the more mainstream the theme, the more successful PopWins powered games seem to be. Perhaps Avatar UX cottoned on to this and is creating increasingly regular packages to appeal to the masses. PiggyPop fits the definition of a commonly themed slot, so maybe Avatar UX has got a potential crowd-pleaser on their hands.
Then again, these sorts of slots are pretty samey, so perhaps we’re nearing a PopWins saturation point, and players will be ambivalent to the never-ending rollouts. These games tend to end up relying on increasingly subtle intricacies to set them apart, so sooner or later, Avatar UX may need to brainstorm some sort of radically new feature to keep the series relevant. You won’t find any revolutions in PiggyPop, though, which sticks to the script, producing a decent PopWins experience without doing anything unmissable. Even potential is less impressive than normal. Often, these games come with astronomical figures, while PiggyPop keeps it relatively sober at 10,690x the bet.
In PiggyPop there’s a feeling of having seen it all before and did we really need another piggy themed slot cluttering the shelf? Still, PiggyPop is capable of entertaining as it pops, expands, and powers on into free spins, so the PopWins cognoscenti shouldn’t be disappointed.
Ultimately, PiggyPop is just more of the same PopWins antics, with a few rule changes around the edges to justify the release.