PopRocks Slot: Overview
No, this is not a slot based on the candy that pops in your mouth, PopRocks is the latest title from Hong Kong based studio Avatar UX. A collaboration with Yggdrasil’s Masters Program, PopRocks comes with an intriguing game design based on their new trademarked PopWins feature. It also boasts some pretty big numbers when it comes to both paylines and potential as you will see.
Avatar UX creates Asian themed games for the European market, and it shows with PopRocks – more so than with their previous slot, Lilith’s Inferno, despite the characters and the martial arts fighting. Along with expanding reels and popping symbols is innovative game mechanic which plays out like a grid slot at times. Sounds confusing? All will be revealed.
The game world is a little like the popular Netflix show Ice Fantasy. If you missed that one, it was a full-blown Asian good vs evil tussle, and PopRocks looks like it's set in the Fire Tribe’s kingdom. It’s a murky underworld with an ominous castle visible through the game’s transparent reels. If you like a high drama soundtrack while you spin, then PopRocks will appeal. It’s like a chase scene from a Disney action movie that will either entertain or annoy. It's worth mentioning, however, that the game still was in development during testing and that there was still some work to be done on the sounds.
Visually, PopRocks doesn't exactly arouse awe but it gets the job done even if it has a slight generic feel to it. The grid is expandable and starts with a default 5 reel, 3 row arrangement along with 486 win ways - the game pays both ways which is why you get 243 win ways x 2. To get popping, stakes from 10 p/c up to £/€30 must be set first. One positive stat to mull over in the meantime is a rather generous RTP of 96.8%. Nice to see in a time when RTP is creeping downwards. PopRocks is insanely volatile though and sessions required sitting through stacks of dead and low pay wins until the expanded reels and features were unleashed.
Moving on to the paytable, the symbols leave no doubt about the games origins and theme and are split into four categories – low, medium, high, and the appropriately named super high. The lows are a bunch of Asian infused 10-A royals which make up the bulk of the wins. Next up are the medium pays, which are four gems – green, blue, purple, and red. More personality has been injected into the high pays, which include gems clasped by dragons in blue, purple, green, and golden hues. Just one symbol earns the tile of super high and 5 of them are worth 100 times the stake.
Low pay symbols are low value indeed, but when the features take off, they can have a huge effect on payout values. Wilds complete the paytable and can substitute for any other pay symbols. One thing to keep in mind is that high and super high symbols do not appear organically from spins, but only from Pops – let’s look at what that means.
PopRocks Slot: Features
PopRocks is a slot that works best when the features are firing on all cylinders. Central is the PopWins feature which is similar to a cascade wins system with a few different rules. Firstly, symbols from winning combos are Popped off the reels, and each one is replaced by two new symbols. Obviously, more space is needed for the extra symbols, so the game extends reels to do so – each reel can expand 7 symbols high at the most.
The right hand side of the reels displays the number of current win ways in play while the left-hand side has a multiplier meter that lights up when symbols are Popped. Each batch of 7 Popped symbols increases the multiplier by +1.
When each reel has been expanded to 7 rows high, the Bonus Mode is triggered. In this mode, a wild is added to the game, the multiplier increases in increments of +2 rather than +1, and only one new symbol appears from each pop. Also, the win ways hit 33,614 – due to lines paying both ways.
PopRocks Slot: Verdict
PopRocks brings enough novel features to the party to make it worth checking out. If you like grid slots with high inertia, you might appreciate what PopRocks can do. It’s hard to get going, but once it does, it can power on and on, racking up wins in the process. Without free spins, respins, or any sort of bonus games, it relies solely on its big runs to provide the major thrills and rewards. Because these runs can be quite profitable, the rest of the game tends to putter along not doing a whole lot and when you hit that dry spell, the repetitive low win pop cycles can really test your patience. On the other hand, the fact that the game can skyrocket on any spin and go berserk undoubtedly adds a compelling element.
If you don’t manage to get it on a good roll, not much else happens. Symbol values are so low that without a ton of consecutive winners blowing up all of the features, wins remain too small to do anything else expect drain accounts. Even when Pops chain together, you also need the high pay symbols to play their part in getting close to that fabled 72,188x potential. Of course, that is easier said than done.
PopRocks is certainly worth a look, maybe a demo to get a feel for what it can do. Avatar UX has done a respectable job overall, it looks ok, plays well, and the features can be quite absorbing. Tread carefully though, PopRocks defines what all or nothing gaming is all about.
If you enjoy the PopWins feature, take a look at WildPops which is the second slot from Avatar UX to utilise PopWins.
The first in a series of PopWins™ games, PopRocks is a ultra-volatile slot with a decent mix of expanding reels, multipliers and impressive potential.