|Software:||Big Time Gaming|
|Game Type:||Video slot|
|Bet Levels:||0.10 - 20|
|Free Spins:||Yes (12-unlimited)|
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Overview: Pop by Big Time Gaming
Australian developer Big Time Gaming have earned a reputation for creating slots with the ability to deliver a life changing win from a modestly sized bet. Their latest creation, POP, continues this tradition with a maximum win of a frankly outrageous 66,960x your stake. You won’t need to be a math wizard to calculate that a £1 bet on t his monster could potentially result in almost £67k being added to your balance. Are there any slots players out there not excited by that prospect?
POP is a four reel game that can be considered the third in the series which began with the release of 2018’s smash hit Donuts. The 2020 follow up Chocolates performed poorly, failing to connect with players in the same way that Donuts did. Considering it has only been five months since the release of Chocolates, it seems a fair assumption that BTG are now taking a second stab at recreating the huge buzz generated by Donuts. It’s a tall order, but if anybody can do it, BTG can.
Symbols & Payouts
A pretty standard mix of royals (10 through Ace) and picture symbols populate the reels in POP. The picture symbols are represented by balloons, including a rainbow balloon that acts as the games wild symbol. These wilds can have random multipliers of up to 4x added to them too, and you’ll be hoping to score several of these onscreen at once for a chance of a larger win.
The action takes place on a 4×4 grid that uses the “ways” mechanic as opposed to pay lines. This means that every possible set of matching symbols ordered from left to right will award a win. The 4×4 grid means that there are 256 ways to win, and the familiar “rolling reels” mechanic is used to remove winning combinations, allowing new symbols to take their place. This gives you the chance to score many wins from one initial spin.
An interesting alteration to the usual rolling reels formula is that balloon symbols will float upwards instead of exploding, increasing the possibility of achieving a large number of balloon and multiplier symbols on-screen. Gold coins stamped with the BTG logo act as the scatter symbol, and three or more award 12 free spins.
Volatility is clearly as high as it gets in POP – those maximum wins of 66,960x, have to be paid for somehow! I wonder how many we will see on YouTube in the coming months? BTG quote an average hit frequency of 32.98%, but that doesn’t mean very much considering that many of those hits are going to be worth as little as 1/10th of your stake. The minimum stake is 0.20 credits, and the maximum is 100x higher at 20 credits regardless of the currency being used.
As you would expect from Big Time Gaming, the free spins feature mentioned in the previous section has a few tricks up its sleeve designed to crank the excitement up to eleven! All sixteen positions of the grid have a multiplier added to them at the start of the feature, starting at 1x with the exception of the triggering scatter symbols which can start with a multiplier of up to 4x!
It should go without saying, this means that triggering the free spins with more than three scatters can be very profitable – especially if you are lucky enough to receive a 3x or 4x multiplier on several of them!
After each free spin, one or more multipliers may be increased randomly. If a free spin results in a win consisting of several balloons or wild symbols, one or more of those winning symbols can have their multiplier increased by up to 3x. Once again, it’s all just about luck here – those multipliers can add up extremely quickly, and there’s one more important feature to discuss yet too: re-triggers!
Hitting at least three more BTG coins during free spins awards a re-trigger, and whilst you only receive three additional free spins for each re-trigger, it will also increase ALL of your multipliers by 1x. Hit a second re-trigger and all multipliers increase by 2x. This pattern continues with every re-trigger, and should you be lucky enough to reach a fifth or sixth re-trigger, each extra set of three spins can be worth a LOT of money.
POP: The Verdict
Ever since Bonanza took the online casino world by storm in 2016, slot players now eagerly await every new release from BTG. POP has all the elements required to be a huge hit, and that maximum win of 66,960x your stake is bound to attract every player who enjoys these ultra high variance slots.
Playing the base game, it does feel very difficult to hit a big win. BTG state that a win of up to 14,407x is possible If you can manage a decent number of consecutive wins and start to collect a large number of balloon and wild symbols on the screen. It’s hard to imagine ever having enough luck to score a figure like this, but it’s nice to know its a possibility. Again, we’ll be watching for these hits on YouTube in the coming months!
Lets be honest though – most players will only really be interested in the free spins bonus, and it really doesn’t drop very often. Around a decade ago, you could be reasonably sure that the chance of hitting three or more scatters on major releases such as Dead or Alive and Thunderstruck was around 1 in 150.
These newer ultra high variance games seem to have a MUCH lower chance of scoring a feature than this – I have personally played several sessions on donuts where I didn’t see a single bonus in over 1,000 spins. Without knowing the exact order of the reel strips its impossible to calculate the equivalent number for POP, but I’d go out on a limb and guess that it is closer to 1 in 300 – on the plus side though, when you do hit a feature it will usually award a win of at least 50x your stake.
Unfortunately there is no longer any alternative to just waiting for the feature either – bonus buy options are no longer permitted in several jurisdictions, which has caused most gaming companies to leave these features out of new releases altogether rather than enabling or disabling them on a case by case basis.
So is POP going to cause a huge bang, or is it going to slowly deflate and be pretty much forgotten in a few months just as Chocolates seems to have been? Only time will tell, but personally I think this game has the potential to be another huge hit for BTG.