Polar Paws (Quickspin): Overview
With the arrival of Christmas, slot players can expect two things - casinos littering your mail client with promos, and a barrage of cloned Christmas themed slots competing for your attention. Barely did we have time to tuck away our speedos before Quickspin announced their contribution to the 2019 Christmas season which, in true Yule spirit, turns out to be a mix of nostalgia and disappointment. Having been around as long as we have, it'll only take about 1.34 seconds to name the original game.
Played on a 5x3, 25 payline reel set, Polar Paws is a clone of the 2012 release Goldilocks and the Wild Bears. While that takes most of the magic away, it gives us a chance to revisit this old classic that we used to hold in high regard to see how it holds up today. Medium variance, the game benefits from multiplier wilds and a multi-level free spins bonus where extra wilds can be unlocked with the help of collected scatter symbols. This is not a game for thrill-seekers, as you will see, but it comes with an exceptionally high RTP of 97.84% which should offer plenty of play time and also potentially a solid wagering slot. Available across all devices, you can play it from 0.25 to €/£100 per spin.
Visually, Polar Paws retains the same level of charm as the original and does a phenomenal job at embracing a true Christmas spirit. Set against a dreamy winter landscape inhabited by polar bears and with an alluring sound-loop playing, symbols on the reels include 10, J, Q, K, and A royal values as well as a polar bear family of four with papa bear being the most rewarding, giving you 10 times your stake for five on a full payline.
When it comes to wild symbols, there are two of them - a regular wild and a Multiplier Wild which appears on the three central reels only both in the base game and in the free spins bonus. The more multiplier wilds that land simultaneously, the higher the multiplier - 1, 2 or 3 multiplier wilds will give you a multiplier of 2x, 3x, or 4x respectively.
Polar Paws (Quickspin): Features
The highlight in Polar Paws is the Free Spins Bonus which comes into play when 3 elf scatter symbols land on reels 2, 3, and 4 simultaneously. Once in, you start with 10 free spins, but more can be unlocked during the round. To the right of the reel set you'll see a meter.
Now, look out for the elf progress scatter - 3 of these will turn papa bear into a wild, 5 more will turn mummy bear wild and provide 2 free spins. Finally, if you collect another 5 elf scatters, the cub will also turn wild and give you 2 extra spins. If you unlock all wilds, you will play your remaining spins with all high paying symbols as wilds. While this seems great and all, it's not anywhere near as lucrative as it sounds. Statistically confirmed, the top prize is just slightly over 800 times your stake, and even that will be hard to achieve.
Polar Paws (Quickspin): Verdict
Playing Polar Paws undoubtedly brings back memories of the good old days, but the truth is that the mathematical model hasn't aged very well. Back when Goldilocks was released, it used to be one of our favourite slots. Playing it now, it feels more like a children's game rather than a proper slot machine.
There's nothing wrong with the mechanics. Built using the classic industry standard 5x3 format, the game hasn't gone completely sour, and the progression free spins bonus is just as great as we remember it. The problem is with the low payouts. New players won't know better, but for veteran gamblers, it will be as exciting as shopping at IKEA. On the positive side, it's quite a "kind" slot, so it won't ruin your Christmas the same way the more modern video slots with their brutally high volatility can.
If you're looking for a Christmas themed slot with a bit more action, we suggest you take a look at Secrets of Christmas (NetEnt), Jingle Spin (NetEnt), Santa's Wild Ride (Microgaming), and Flowers Christmas Edition (NetEnt).
Polar Paws may be the sweetest, most charming Christmas slot, but the payouts are as child-friendly as its theme.