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Last update: 13th January 2020
Our Slot Of The Month for May 2019 is Opal Fruits by Big Time Gaming. It was given a limited release at the end of May and was rolled out more widely in early June.
To understand the meaning behind the name Opal Fruits is is necessary to go back in time more than 20 years – to 1998. Opal Fruits were a type of fruit flavoured chewy sweet, introduced to the UK in 1960. Opal Fruits was an incredibly well known brand throughout the 70s and 80s thanks to some very memorable TV advertising with the tagline “made to make your mouth water”. So what happened in 1998? The answer is a name change – to Starburst! So basically, what Big Time Gaming are trying to do with this slot is to create a Starburst beater – a relatively simple game that works well on a mobile phone and/or when played sporadically – with a retro feel.
Big Time Gaming is almost synonymous with Megaways but Opal Fruits is NOT a Megaways slot. It has a 6 x 3 array plus horizontal reels at the top and bottom of the middle 4 reels (similar to the conveyor belt in Bonanza). Together these make up an astounding 5625 ways to win. Wild symbols only appear on the two horizontal reels and come in two varieties, regular and x3. The x3 applies to any winning combo of which it is part. The Triple Reaction game engine is a new version of a very popular game mechanic. All winning combos explode and are replaced by other symbols – coming from the top on the main array, the left on the upper horizontal reel and the right on the lower horizontal reel. Reactions continue until there are no more wins.
Although this sounds like a lot of potential for wins, most winning combos score very little and even with 6 of a kind, only the two highest scoring symbols pay out more than stake and only the grapes pay out anything really worthwhile. Although there is the possibility of getting lucky with multiple combos of grapes involving x3 wilds in the base game, the real potential of this slot is in the bonus round, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise given that we’re talking about a Big Time Gaming slot.
The next question – again given that we’re talking about a Big Time Gaming slot – is “Can I buy the bonus round?” – and perhaps disappointingly the answer is no, you can’t – and you could be in for a long wait of hundreds or even thousands of spins before triggering it with four or more scatter symbols spelling FREE in golden letters. There’s no mechanism for earning the bonus round over an extended period of play so all that can be done is to leave it to time and luck.
The bonus round itself is one of those classic Big Time Gaming bonus round that builds up to a crescendo by means of a multiplier that increases with every reaction. You start with 10 free spins no matter how many scatter symbols it was triggered with, but in the very unlikely event of triggering with more than 4 you start with a higher multiplier (x5 for 5 scatters and an extra x10 for each one in excess of that). During the free spins, 5 extra free spins are awarded every time the multiplier reaches a multiple of 10. As long as the wins keep coming, the multiplier keeps going up and up and more free spins keep getting added – and there’s no maximum.
Opal Fruits has RTP of 96.75% and can be played from 10p – £20 a spin. Will it become as ubiquitous at slot sites as Starburst? Only time will tell!
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