Out in the wild, puppet shows occasionally filled the void left by CGI’s heyday. The Muppet Show was an outlandish illustration of this type of program. Pigs in Space, a spoof of Star Trek, was a recurring segment on The Muppet Show. It featured Captain Link Hogthrob, First Mate Piggy, and Dr. Julius Strangepork as they voyaged across space in the Swinetrek. Maybe, just maybe, AvatarUX’s Critter Pop, an animal-themed slot machine, was inspired by Pigs in Space.
Critter Pop, as its name suggests, is one of AvatarUX’s PopWins series of video slots. There are planets and stars and gases and… animals? in this story set in space. The animals are the highest paying symbols on a growing grid that begins with 5 reels and 3 rows. All sorts of buttons, such as Ante Bet, Bonus Buy, and more (may not be present in all jurisdictions) surround the grid. You may choose your stake, which can range from 20 pence to £/€100 every spin. Alternatively, you may press the Ante Bet button to boost your wager by 25%, thereby increasing your chances of triggering free games. With a potential RTP of 96.03%, Critter Pop is an extremely volatile slot machine.
Players have 486 possible winning combinations in the idle 5×3 state, where wins pay both left to right and right to left. This means that winning combinations of three or more identical symbols on adjacent reels can begin on either the left or the right side of the grid. Keep in mind, five of a kind only pays in one direction. Five of a kind of the low pay symbols (card values 10-A) pay out at 1-1.5x the wager, while five of a kind of the high pay symbols (six animals) pay out at 2-6x the wager. The tiger and the mammoth are the two most valued icons, which will come in handy throughout the Rewards Reel phase. Keep in mind that wild symbols can stand in for regular pay symbols, however they only show during free games.
Slot Feature: Creature Pop
In addition to the game’s primary PopWins mechanic, Critter Pop also has a free spins bonus round with many reel modifiers and a feature called Base Game Unlock.
In the event of a victory, all matching symbols will explode off the board, making room for two additional symbols above the reels. PopWins will activate again as long as new wins are produced through this procedure. There are a maximum of 15,553 ways to win in the basic game, with the reels expanding to a maximum of 6 places high, and a maximum of 65,536 ways to win (both ways) in the free spins bonus round. Popped symbols are replaced by a single symbol when the reels are at their highest possible position.
First Level Unlock
The Base Game Unlock feature awards two free spins on the extended reel-set when the user expands the reels to a height of six symbols.
No Risk Turns
If you get 3, 4, or 5 scatter symbols anywhere in the main game, you’ll enter the free spins bonus round, where you may play with 2,048, 6,250, or 15,552 starting ways on a 5×4, 5×5, or 5×6 grid. A Rewards Reels sequence is performed before the free spins round starts. Free spins, beginning multipliers, win multiplier increases, random 2×2 symbols, random 3×3 symbols, random wild symbols, tiger symbol multipliers, and mammoth symbol multipliers are all up for grabs in this one spin. After this spin, any Rewards Reel winnings will be rolled over to the next round of free spins.
Rather of returning to their original size after a win, the reels in the free spins bonus round will shrink to their lowest possible height. If the counter reaches 7-7-7-7-8, for instance, the reels will reset to the lower value of 7. If the grid reaches a height of 8 symbols on all reels during a free spin, an additional 2 free spins are awarded, the multiplier is increased by 2, and the grid remains at that height for the remainder of the bonus. Depending on the amount earned from the Rewards Reels spin, the win multiplier will start at x1 or higher. The multiplier goes up after a winning cascade and stays that way during subsequent free games.
There are typically three methods to purchase more spins when the Buy Bonus button is present. Starting ways to win are 2,048, 6,260, and 15,552 for the Buy Bonus 125x, Buy Bonus Plus 250x, and Buy Bonus Max 500x, respectively. More expensive bonus purchases should, in theory, lead to greater payouts during free spins.
Animal Pop: Judgment in the Slot
The concept of Critter Pop’s animals in space may sound outlandish at first, but when you truly break it down, animals were important in getting humans ready for space travel. Let us pause to remember the courageous animals that came before the Russian Cosmonauts, such as Laika, Belka, and Strelka. Who could forget American chimpanzee Ham, who, based on the film, doesn’t appear to have enjoyed his suborbital trip very much? Remember that these creatures were helpless victims. They were forcefully loaded onto rockets and sent into the sky as an experiment. Those of you who braved the stars, rest in peace.
The decision to activate Critter Pop is, of course, up to the player, so let’s have a look at the pros and cons of using it. In keeping with the idea, Critter Pop lacks the polished harmony of more contemporary albums like MonkeyPop, RagingPop, or CherryPop Deluxe. The unusual combination of animals and outer space is more experimental, which might either interest or turn off gamers. After a time, the stark contrast between the characters and the environment becomes less noticeable, allowing you to focus more intently on the game itself.
This meant regular sequences of winning symbols, expanding reels, and expanding ways outside of the bonus round, with the possibility of activating two free spins when the grid filled out. Due of the infrequency with which the Base Game Unlock occurs, the main game may feel repetitive at times. PopWins innovation arises in the bonus round, thanks to the Rewards Reels spin’s ability to award modifiers. If you’re lucky, you may earn as much as 20,000 times your initial wager.
The Critter Pop slot machine from PopWins is a reliable game with a novel combination of themes. Not the best PopWins game ever, but fun for lovers of the genre; bonus-buyers may be enticed by the chance of modifiers on the Rewards Reel.