ReefPop: Slot Overview
ReefPop is a deep-sea dive of a game from software provider AvatarUX and a continuation of the studio's unstoppable PopWins range of online slots. This one comes hot on the heels of the last PopWins slot we reviewed, LooneyPop, and one possible contributing factor to ReefPop's speed is the fact it is basically a reskin job of PiggyPop. Certainly, the same features have returned, such as the PopWins expanding reels 'n ways mechanic, free spins with a rising multiplier, a gamble wheel, and bonus buys.
From piggies to denizens of the deep, ReefPop takes players beneath the surface of the sea to an underwater world full of coral, weeds, and rock formations. It's a colourful spot, and like PiggyPop, the creatures on its reels have a humanistic element to them, holding bombs, rocking bandanas, or wielding baseball bats, amongst other things. In the middle of this particular patch of sea resides a 6-columned, 4-row gaming panel, which stretches and expands all over the place when winning symbols start to pop. The finishing touch is a jazzy soundtrack, helping to give ReefPop a very vaguely Big Bass Bonanza kind of feel, or at least, it triggered memories of the Pragmatic Play angling classic.
Playable on any device, players bait their virtual hooks with bets ranging from 20 p/c to £/100 per paid spin or click the 'Bonus:' button to access the feature buy menu. Not much has changed in the way of stats. Players can still expect a theoretical return value of 95.5%, generated by the game's highly volatile math model. The gaming part occurs on a 6-reel matrix, where each reel in the main game starts with four symbols. At this size, 8,192 ways to win are possible; however, when reels grow to their full size in free spins, ways to win mushroom to 524,288 win ways.
One reason why there are so many is that ReefPop pays both ways – left to right as well as right to left, starting from the first or sixth reel onwards. Three to six-of-a-kinds are possible, and it is here we meet low pay weed covered Q-A lows, three rascally fish as the mediums, three more aquatic creatures as the highs, and a shark as the super high. Payout values for a six-symbol winning way are 0.6x for the lows, 1x for the mids, 1.5x for the highs, and 3x for the super high. Like before, these are all the symbols you will encounter in ReefPop, as it does away with wilds or any form of scatter.
ReefPop: Slot Features
As is traditionally the case, the first feature to tackle in a PopWins-powered game is the PopWins system itself. So, it means that winning symbols pop off the board and are replaced with two new symbols, increasing the height of the reel. This procedure will continue to trigger until no new win appears. In the base game, reels can grow to 6 positions tall.
Unlimited Free Spins
When all 6 reels reach their maximum height in the base game, free spins are awarded. The reels in free spins can now reach 8 high max. Between free spins, reels will reset to the lowest achieved reel height. The round begins with three free spins, and any win resets the spin count. The round also has a global multiplier starting at x1, which does not reset between free spins. Each spin increases the multiplier by 1 after wins are paid. Also, when the golden shark symbol lands in free spins, it possesses a multiplier equal to the number of golden sharks in view. If all reels reach their full height, the golden shark multiplier is raised to +2x per number of them on the reels.
Before free spins start, players have the option of gambling them on the Gamble Wheel. Winning the gamble increases the starting number of reels from 4 to 5, while a second successful gamble increases them from 5 to 6. Losing the gamble at any time takes players back to the base game.
ReefPop provides three bonus buy options for applicable players. For 100x the bet, you can buy your way straight to a standard round of free spins. Or, 100x the bet also buys the gamble option letting players start free spins with a larger grid size if successful (unsuccessful gambles mean 0 free spins, though), whereas 400x the bet buys free spins guaranteed to start on a 6 high grid.
ReefPop: Slot Verdict
When PiggyPop came out, it was like the eighth PopWins release. Now we're up to close to 80. Okay, that's a wild exaggeration, but there are enough PopWins slots out there to make a reskin feel kind of unnecessary. Of course, many a studio has cloned, reskinned, or repackaged prior work; that's just how it is, so we're not singling AvatarUX out for special criticism or anything along those lines. Maybe if ReefPop did something special that PiggyPop did not, though, maybe it wouldn't have felt quite so superfluous to requirements.
But, putting aside any potential concerns over the reskin issue for a moment, PiggyPop was a thoroughly enjoyable AvatarUX production, and so, by extension, is ReefPop. The studio has broadened its scope as time has progressed, trying its hand at all sorts of topics from zombies to Egyptian to hip hop and many more besides. Since fish slots are white hot, it's no surprise to see the team has had an underwater crack. ReefPop doesn't focus on fishing as such, so there's no money symbol collecting going on; preferring to focus on the combination of building potentially huge numbers of ways to win, a win multiplier which grows on every free spin, and an additional multiplier for its highest paying symbol. Simple in some ways, yet absorbing, where one of the main focuses is on getting as many wins in free spins, not just to collect cash prizes, but to keep the whole shebang moving along and prevent the round from ending.
The final piece of the puzzle is max win and seeing as PiggyPop had a figure of around 11,000x the bet, it's fairly safe to assume a similar amount is possible in ReefPop, too. Not the biggest total from the PopWins range, by a wide margin actually, yet a significant amount nonetheless, and a pleasing icing on the cake for everything else ReefPop has to offer.
ReefPop is a charismatic clone of PiggyPop with an equally charming personification of its animal characters to accompany its high-quality gaming.