Stakelogic, one of Avatar UX’s competitors, has licensed the company’s trademark PopWins feature. Given that PopWins has been almost associated with Avatar UX up until this point, there was understandable curiosity in the perspectives of fresh minds. But if you go back to Mystery Drop, the PopWins rip-off we evaluated from Stakelogic a few months ago (more on this game in a little), you’ll see that the company had previously hinted at something. What has emerged thus far is a game with a familiar exterior and some enticing extras to complement the frantic gameplay. The proof of the pudding is in the playing, so let’s see what else can be done with Avatar UX’s official contribution to the development of slot machines.
The premise of Joker Drop PopWins, centered on fruit and jokers in classic Stakelogic manner, isn’t exactly riveting. Players interested in a PopWins game with a more classic aesthetic would enjoy this one, and we don’t have to tell you that online slots are popular. Joker Drop PopWins is played on an expanding game grid that begins each spin in the standard game with a 5×4 configuration. But the aesthetics and presentation are pure retro fruit, a style that Stakelogic really like.
Players may choose wagers anywhere from 20 p/c to £/€10 each spin, whatever on the device they’re using, and the Super Stake feature can be used for double the normal wager. By doing this, you can enter the bonus game many times. The Super Stake increases the game’s volatility to a “5” when activated and reduces it to a “4” when deactivated. Different variations of the RTP exist as well, with returns ranging from as low as 88% to as high as 95.8%.
Wins in Joker Drop PopWins can begin on either the left or the right side of the game grid. This implies that in the base game, players have 1,024 ways to win (not counting the pay both way feature), while in the maximum configuration, players have 16,807. By popping and being replaced by two new symbols everytime a winning combination occurs, the number of reels and ways can be expanded to its maximum capacity.
All of the icons in the game, from the 10-A royals to the cherries, limes, pears, plums, oranges, watermelons, and 7s, are completely generic in appearance. A reward between 0.75 and 5 times the initial wager is given for every winning combination of 5 symbols that is not the royal flush. Let’s take a look at the bonus options, because the wild symbols are only available through them.
Slot Highlights: Joker Drop, PopWins
There are free spins with a gamble drop feature, two collecting meters, and a bonus buy in Joker Drop, in addition to the licensed PopWins mechanism.
Sometimes little coins or diamonds may emerge on top of conventional symbols, and when they do, you’ll get them if they drop in your coin or diamond meter. If you fill up the diamond meter, reels 2, 3, or 4 will receive an extra 5 wild symbols. When the coin meter is full, mini reels appear in 5 randomly chosen spots, awarding cash prizes.
When all reels on a basic game slot machine reach a height of 7 symbols, free spins are triggered. The number of times this occurs during a spin is recorded in the left-hand star meter. The gamble drop feature allows players to try their luck at winning more free spins before the bonus round begins. A ball is dropped from the top of the screen and must land in one of numerous buckets at the base of the screen. Any landing on the red ‘x’ results in a loss and a return to the main game, while any landing on the green ‘+’ symbol awards additional free spins (up to a maximum of 15).
During free games, the grid size is 5 by 7, and the win multiplier begins at 3. The multiplier goes up by one after each successful bet. Extra free spins are awarded for the appearance of three or more diamond scatter symbols if the bonus round was triggered with the Super Stake feature active. In addition to being utilized as wilds in the base game, Joker symbols may also be triggered in the free spins bonus round.
Spend Money on a Bonus
The price of access to Joker Drop’s free spins feature is 120 times the wager if you want to purchase it. After making a purchase, a participant can either keep the five bonus spins or risk them on the pachinko machine.
The Final Say on Joker Drop PopWins Slots
Analyzing Joker Drop was like unwrapping a Russian doll full of twists and turns. The most surprising part was learning that, unlike in Mystery Drop, Stakelogic had licensed PopWins from Avatar UX rather than brazenly exploiting the invention and passing it off as their own. It would appear that Avatar UX had had enough of other studios profiting off of their original concepts and decided to intervene. After further negotiation, both studios agreed to provide Stakelogic exclusive use of the PopWins mechanism for a period of six months. Players that enjoy PopWins now have access to a another studio’s interpretation of the game, so all’s well that ends well.
On to Joker Drop then. After all the legal fighting and behind-the-scenes fuss, you’d think Stakelogic would want to create something truly mind-blowing to impress everyone, rather than simply another fruit-related product. Moreover, Stakelogic has already produced a number of fruit-based Megaways games, so we may have set our sights too high. Perhaps they had too many fruits at once. Who cares, Joker Drop didn’t seem like much at first. In games like CherryPop and, to a more swanky level, PapayaPop, Avatar UX has already gone down the fruity PopWins path, and both of these games have a more distinctive style than Joker Drop. Stakelogic’s primary focus from the beginning was on attracting players who were already familiar with the traditional aesthetic by maintaining a consistent visual style.
Anyway, enough about bananas, on to the game proper. Despite receiving the green light from Avatar UX and the backing of the company behind the PopWins system, Stakelogic hasn’t exactly gone all out with their innovation. Besides the pachinko element and the slightly novel addition of the two collecting meters, this is pretty much par for the course for Avatar UX. The maximum payout in this game is set at 20,472 times the initial wager, which is more than in many competitors.
Overall, Stakelogic has done a great job recreating the Vegas-style PopWins atmosphere in Joker Drop for its gamers. The game’s victories are visually appealing, the controls are responsive, and the pachinko-inspired free spins gamble is a nice touch. Joker Drop is the PopWins game with the most classically-inspired visuals, complete with fruit and other conventional slot symbols.