RagingPop: Slot Overview
Proving its ongoing popularity, RagingPop is, count 'em, the eleventh PopWins game to roll off Avatar UX's production line. For RagingPop, the studio has left the 'land of the rising sun' where we last encountered them in MonkeyPop and moved to another exotic part of the world. This time, they're in the swaying grasslands of Africa, a popular slot destination, and brought with them dynamic reels, increasing rows, ways, and potentially hefty random multipliers sprinkled in for good measure.
While not as immediately eye-catching as MonkeyPop, RagingPop is nevertheless a smart-looking game, cramming in most of the visuals this genre is famous for. This includes natural elements such as a running stream, golden grass, acacia trees, distant mountains, and mainly blue skies. In a weather-related twist, when the bonus round triggers, the clouds open up, and it absolutely buckets down with rain. A minor detail, but doing something different, no matter small, is always appreciated. The game oozes quality and is a testament to how far the developer has come in its relatively short existence.
If RagingPop was a safari, it would be disappointing since there are no animals in the vista; however, a bunch of them do land on the game's 6x4 reel set. At least, this is the grid size at the start of each base game spin, but it can expand up to 7 rows high via PopWins in free spins or the Raging Rhino feature, boosting win ways from an initial 8,196 to 235,298 at the most. It can create so many ways because matching symbols pay from left to right, as well as right to left, starting from the respective outer reel. Stake selection ranges from 20 p/c to £/€40 per spin, and this highly volatile slot generates a return to player value of 96.34%.
Mention the word 'raging' in an online slot, and rhinos usually aren't far behind. In RagingPop, rhinos are the super high-value symbol, paying 15x the bet for six of a kind, while beneath it, the high pay symbols are crocodiles, buffalo, and leopards, worth 5-6.25x the bet for six of a kind. Further down, the mids consist of butterflies, fish, and birds, worth 3 times the stake for six, while at the bottom of the paytable, J-A card ranks can be found, paying 1-1.5x for six of a kind. Lastly, wilds help complete winning ways by substituting for any pay symbol, note though, wilds only appear during free spins.
RagingPop: Slot Features
Central to RagingPop is Avatar UX's principal contribution to slot evolution – its PopWins mechanic. Controversially, this feature is only available in RagingPop during its free spins bonus round. During free spins, when a winning combination lands, each winning symbol is removed and replaced with 2 new symbols, thereby increasing the reel height. If a new win is created, the process repeats, though reels can expand up to 7 positions high at the most.
In the base or bonus game, there is a chance the Raging Rhino feature randomly activates. When it does, the reels grow to 5, 6, or 7 symbols tall, and a multiplier is generated, which gets applied to any win. The multiplier can be as high as x500.
Landing 3, 4, 5, or 6 scatter symbols awards 10, 15, 20, or 30 free spins. The reels start at 4 positions high and can grow to 7 high through the PopWins feature; however, they return to their starting height at the start of each new free spin. In addition, for every 10 consecutive free spins, the reels grow by +1 symbol in height, which they stay at for the rest of the feature. Before free spins begin, however, players have the option of gambling what they've won for more on the gamble wheel. The gamble feature has several stages, allowing players to win 15, 20, 25, or 30 free spins. Losing the gamble on the first stage returns you to the base game but losing at higher levels triggers the bonus round with a lower number of free spins, as indicated by the wheel.
Where applicable, players can buy a standard free spins trigger for 100x the bet, which can be gambled for more, or by paying 500x the bet, players instantly get 30 free spins.
RagingPop: Slot Verdict
Avatar UX slots are usually quite successful when the studio picks traditional themes, such as CherryPop or PapayaPop, and the same can be said about RagingPop. It looks the business and flows as smoothly as any they've done so far. There are a few surprises from a gameplay perspective, which may be perceived as negative or positive. The biggest shock was finding out PopWins was missing from the base game. That was odd. It's like playing a Megaways slot without Reactions for the first time. It doesn't ruin the experience as such, though, and after a few spins, veterans should be well-adjusted.
It's not a complete desert of features either, since the Raging Rhino can trigger at any moment, but without PopWins, RagingPop's base game is one of the most uneventful in the range. If you're the kind of player who prefers Megaways without cascades, then Raging Rhino could be the ideal PopWins slot to transition with. It does mean that more than any other PopWins game, RagingPop is all about its free spins bonus round. There is where things can heat up, and payouts up to a cap of 20,000x the bet may be possible. On a side note, RagingPop also comes with one of the more forgiving gamble wheels Avatar UX has designed. Often, these wheels will brutally tax you of all free spins when a gamble is unsuccessful. At least now, players can walk away with a few free spins when losing from the second level onwards.
For players looking for an all bells and whistles PopWins experience, RagingPop probably isn't the number one choice. There are others in the series that ram in way more popping possibilities than RagingPop does. Perhaps it's a sign of maturing that Avatar UX doesn't feel the need to impress by stuffing in every kind of firework. After seeing this and MonkeyPop, it feels like the studio is putting a greater focus on theme presentation rather than going all out with features. So, while RagingPop might not be the zenith of PopWins gaming, it's evidence of Avatar UX striving to create a more refined experience.
RagingPop might not be a paradigm shift for the PopWins mechanic but is a solid African-themed entry all the same.