PapayaPop, developed by Avatar UX, has an Art Deco aesthetic and encourages players to dress up for a night on the town. It’s obvious from the title that this is yet another entry in their successful PopWins-driven series of slots developed in tandem with Yggdrasil Gaming. Avatar UX has previously released a fruit-themed PopWins game titled CherryPop, so PapayaPop is positioned as a ‘luxurious fruit slot’ for affluent players. It has more in common with CherryPop than just fruit, as the two games share similar gameplay elements like PopWins, expanding reels, and free spins with a progressive multiplier.
The term “swinging” is the epitome of the Art Deco era. The graphics team at PapayaPop did a great job of channeling the aesthetics of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby, and the big band music that accompanied it. The protagonist says, “I was within and without, enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” PapayaPop shines brightly, and it was smart to use exotic fruits for symbols rather than the more common cherries or plums.
The 1920s look can be achieved on any device, from mobile to desktop, with wagers ranging from 20 percent to 40 pounds or euros per spin. The action takes place on a reel set with a maximum of 243 ways to win, and it is highly volatile. The reels begin at a size of 5×3 in the base game. Since the grid pays both left to right and right to left, this figure is effectively doubled, providing more opportunities to demonstrate the PopWins feature. The hit frequency is 22%, the RTP is 96%, and the potential is average for a PopWins game but still respectable.
As previously mentioned, the game awards a win in either direction when three identical symbols appear in adjacent positions on the outer reels. Starting with 9-A card royals as the lowest paying hand, the payout structure moves up to horned melons, starfruit, durians, figs, mangosteens, dragon fruit, and a glittering silver pineapple. The highest paying combination of five symbols awards between 2.5 and 8 times the wager, with the golden papaya symbol paying 15 times the wager for five of a kind. Papayas are the only extremely powerful icon. Finally, it should be noted that neither wilds nor scatters appear in PapayaPop. Instead, it uses nothing but PopWins’ properties as a foundation for its calculations.
Slot Features in PapayaPop
It is possible to rack up multiple wins in a row on a single spin in PapayaPop because winning symbols are removed from the board and replaced with new ones. This procedure raises the reels, thereby increasing the number of possible paylines. There are a maximum of 7,776 ways to win in the base game, or 15,552 with both ways paid for. This is because reels can go up to a maximum of 6 positions high. If no subsequent wins occur, the grid will return to its original size.
However, free spins with a multiplier of x2 will be granted if all reels in the base game expand to 6 rows in height. Players have the option to collect or gamble their ways to a maximum of 6,250 ways and an x5 multiplier before play begins. To do this, spin the Gamble Wheel; if it lands on a losing segment, you lose your free spins.
Instead of a set number of free spins, players start the bonus round with 3 lives. If a spin doesn’t pay off, you lose a life, but if you win, you get three back. When your life count reaches 0, the bonus game will end. In free games, the grid can grow to a whopping 9 reels high, giving you a whopping 118,098 ways to win. In addition, the grid reverts to its minimum height between free spins rather than its original size. Therefore, the game will remain at nine rows high for the duration of the feature if all of the reels reach that number.
Also, regardless of whether or not a win occurred during a free spin, the win multiplier will increase by 1. There is no hard cap on the multiplier and it increases by +2 instead if the grid reaches its maximum of 9 rows.
The final feature worth mentioning is the Bonus Buy feature. To purchase 75 times your wager in free games, click the button. The initial bet and multiplier can be increased through gambling, as in the past, or the player can collect and begin playing immediately with an x2 multiplier and 486 starting ways. Free games occur on average once every 197 spins, which is great news for those who don’t want to use the feature buy or can’t access it.
PapayaPop: The Case for the Slot
PapayaPop gives users a standard introduction to the PopWins game. Avatar UX hasn’t changed the gameplay in any significant way, opting instead to focus on the game’s theme. It’s possible that PapayaPop was rushed to market for reasons other than advancing the series, such as maintaining brand awareness. Since Avatar UX has done such a good job of carving out a space for their PopWins games, the likelihood of this happening is low. The problem is that PapayaPop serves more as filler than development because it doesn’t contribute anything new to the canon.
Not that PapayaPop won’t keep you entertained if you’re in the mood for some PopWins with an Art Deco twist. The fundamental capabilities are fully operational, but there is no exciting new feature to liven things up. Exciting payouts are theoretically possible, with a potential of 10,542 times the stake, but this figure is significantly lower than others in the range. Although there isn’t a ton of video evidence of players getting max wins on any of the PopWins games, PapayaPop’s potential is among the lowest.
Overall, PapayaPop is as polished as any other PopWins game and is capable of producing some truly memorable moments. Avatar UX’s reliance on name recognition and flashy design rather than solid feature development is a minor letdown.