TikiPop: Slot Overview
If there is one bunch of games finding its stride, it's the PopWins range from independent developer Avatar UX. The 5th release in the series, TikiPop uses one of the more mainstream themes so far, aside from its fruity filled sibling CherryPop perhaps. As the name makes mention, we're off to the Pacific Ocean for some Tiki-themed action alongside expanding reels, PopWins, multipliers and free spins.
When you go Tiki, it's customary to go bright, which Avatar UX has most assuredly done. Tiki symbols on the reels are as flashy as you could want them, while laced around the grid is plenty of Pacific fauna. TikiPop's soundtrack is just as bouncy, with pleasant auditory effects when combos hit or wins count up. It gets moodier during free spins, where the action shifts to a blazing red temple and where every element of TikiPop is enhanced. Suffice to say, TikiPop does the genre justice with an explosion of colour.
Players get their totem on by selecting bets from 20 p/c to £/€50 per spin, across all devices. So far, PopWins has been about highly volatile math models, which is what we find here as well, chaining wins together and blowing out the reels when it's firing. RTP, meanwhile, is decent and close to what the other PopWin slots have offered, producing a value of 96.10%.
Central to the range is the PopWins mechanic itself. Whenever a combination lands, the winning symbols pop and are replaced by two new ones so more wins may occur. This pushes the default 5x3 sized grid up to 5 rows in height at most during the main game. If all reels fully extend, an x2 multiplier is applied to the round win. As you'd expect, expanding rows has an effect on win ways as well, boosting them from a starting figure of 243 up to 3,125 in the base game and stretching even further during free spins. Keep in mind that TikiPop pays both ways – left to right as well as right to left, doubling the number of functional win ways to 486 – 6,250.
Tikis abound on the paytable, making up the five high pay symbols, worth 2.5 to 6 times the stake for five of a kind. There is a more valuable symbol, the jewelled Super High which is worth 10x the bet for five of a kind. Rounding out the bottom of the paytable are tribal patterned J-A card icons. There's no wild, but the pay both ways system and other features mean you don't really miss it.
TikiPop: Slot Features
Hitting 3, 4, or 5 scatters on the reels, awards 7, 11, or 15 free spins, or as they're referred too; Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 free spins. Before the round, players may gamble to win more spins. Level 1 can be gambled for Level 2, or Level 2 for Level 3. There is a 50/50 chance of winning. However, be warned that losing will dump you back to the base game. Alternatively, you can collect free spins and head straight to the bonus.
Free spins start on an altered grid arrangement from 4-3-3-3-4 up to 5x5 in formation. A couple of changes occur in the bonus. A major one is the progressive multiplier which enters the fray, starting at x1, and incrementing by 1 following each PopWin - with no set limit on how high it can go. Also, the grid does not reset to its original height between spins. Instead, it drops down to the shortest reel height. If players unlock 7 positions on all 5 reels, then the game remains locked at that height for the rest of the round where 33,614 win ways are available.
In addition, when all reels are unlocked, the multiplier increments by 2 instead of 1, while 2-4 free spins are also added to the total. Basically you want to open the grid as early as possible to pick up a host of benefits.
TikiPop also provides a bonus buy for those looking to skip the base game. 100x the bet gets you 7 free spins which can be gambled or collected as if they were triggered naturally.
TikiPop: Slot Verdict
TikiPop is another solid entrant in the PopWins range, and more evidence the series is going from strength to strength. It's got a bright yet conventional look that most players can enjoy, as well as high volatility, big reward combination to satisfy the harder crew. It's not the deadliest beast in the PopWins stable, nor the highest paying. Although we're yet to see evidence of its claimed potential, none have so far matched the first one, PopRocks, in that regard, where brutal punishment could flick to insanity in a beat.
Nevertheless, the series has improved as it has progressed, and TikiPop has a better flow, landing wins at a rate that makes it easy to stay motivated. The other incentive to keep spinning is a bonus game which can go mental when the full grid is unlocked. TikiPop's bonus game is one of the less complicated ones in the range, though all the better for it. Its free spins are where the pay both ways system really shines in conjunction with a multiplier which can hit some pretty high levels. When the multiplier is increasing by +2 a pop, it's capable of turning even low pay wins into something special each time. Then there's massive potential of 32,000 times your stake up for grabs, putting the icing on a highly playable game.
All up, TikiPop is another solid release in a range going through a refining process as it moves along. TikiPop might be a little garish for some, but if the fluro stylings don't burn your retinas, there is plenty to like about where PopWins is heading.
Those who have enjoyed previous slots in the PopWins range are already TikiPop fans.