Inspired by the likes of the legendary scouse quartet of Starr, Harrison, McCartney & Lennon, AKA The Beatles, J-POP is the name given to a form of popular music in Japan. Now, whilst I'm sure somewhere in the Asian iGaming market you'll find a game themed on that, Elk StudiosJ-POP slot is instead based upon a candy-playing quartet group who reside on a planet made of sweet treats and candy floss trees. Book me a one-way ticket already! As for some stats, this is a 6-reel slot with up to 262,144 ways to win, an RTP of 94% and a maximum win of 25,000x bet.
Like a box of Bertie Basset's Liquorice Allsorts, Elk likes to throw an assortment of modifiers and bonuses into their games for you to salivate over. This time around, we've got Walking Wilds that increase in multiplier value each time they hop to a new position, a Grid Flip symbol which literally flips the grid over for further chances to win, Big Drop symbols that crush all smaller symbols in their path, and a free spins feature where the playfield can be extended up to 8x6 in size. Phew, somebody flick the kettle; I'm ready for a brew after all that.
Time to crank up the volume then folks, as we're about to see if this band has what it takes to land themselves a record deal. Before you go all Simon Cowell on us though, why not join the rehearsals and check out our free J-POP slot demo available to play below.
Candy-themed slots are incredibly popular, and you'll find dozens of these listed in every online casino you visit. It would be hard to single out a specific provider who specialises in these particular styles of video slots, but Pragmatic Play is certainly one that has created some of the best. If you'd like to check out a few of their success stories in this niche, I'd recommend trying some spins on the excellent Sweet Bonanza or their equally impressive Sugar Rush slot. Are we about to witness another outstanding game entering this genre in the shape of Elk's J-POP slot? Over to the pays section we go, as we begin to find out.
The paytable is split into three, with the highest paying symbols being the band's four members. So, we have the Red Vocalist worth 5x for a winning combo of six, the Yellow Keyboard Player worth 3x bet, the Purple Drummer valued at 1.5x, and the Blue Bass Player at 1x bet for a completed line of six. The medium pays come in the form of Four Candies coloured red, yellow, purple and blue, with pays ranging from 0.25x - 0.5x for a full payline and finally, we have the low pays, represented by Four Royals, with the Ace, King, Queen and Jack all paying 0.2x for a six of a kind hit.
Elk has stuck to type with regard to their betting range, and players can choose from a minimum stake of €0.20 up to a maximum of €100 a spin. There's a decent spread between these two amounts, but after you get past the €2 mark, the bets start to jump significantly. I don't see that being a problem for too many punters though, as most of us are all playing well below that stake anyway.
j-POP slot base game
J-POP base game
The initial gameplay on J-Pop begins on a grid of 6x4 with 4,096 paylines available for a win to be created. Landing 3 matching symbols on adjacent reels from the leftmost reel first will award a win before those symbols involved in that win explode and disappear from the reels. This will cause all reels to extend in height by one row before new symbols cascade down for further chances to win. If you win again, the same process takes place with reels having the capacity to extend up to 8 rows high for a maximum of 262,144 ways to win.
Three types of wild symbols can appear during gameplay. These are:
Regular Wild: Substitutes for all regular in-game symbols.
The Wild Box Symbol: Places a random amount of wilds onto the grid when contributing to a win. Only payout symbols or empty slots can be replaced.
Walking Wild: The walking wild is a sticky wild symbol with an increasing multiplier value. When contributing to a winning combination, the walking wild randomly walks 1 step to any adjacent symbol position and increases its value by +x1. It will also temporarily adopt the size of any symbol that it walks on to.
Wild and payout symbols may also appear in Super 2x2, Mega 3x3, and Epic 4x4 sizes. All big symbols are counted as consisting of the number of 1x1 symbol instances it covers. Empty spaces occurring below big symbols are filled with 1x1sized symbols of the same type as the big symbol, except walking wilds. All symbols that extend beyond the current achieved amount of rows award a refill up to the highest row achieved via row expansion up to a maximum of 8 rows.
grid flip symbols
The Grid Flip symbol triggers the columns (1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4) to switch positions on the grid and then becomes a wild symbol. The Grid Flip symbol executes when no additional winning combinations appear.
big drop symbols
The Big Drop symbol triggers a drop of big symbols that crushes away 1x1 payout symbols and then becomes a wild symbol. The Big Drop symbol will execute when no additional winning combinations appear. If this symbol lands simultaneously with a Grip Flip symbol, the Grid Flip will activate first.
j-POP slot bonus features
J-POP free spins feature
The scatter symbols are present on all six reels, and landing 3, 4, 5, or 6 will trigger the bonus round and award you 10, 12, 15 and 20 free spins, respectively.
free spins feature
The free spins round always starts with the safety level at 4 rows. Every winning spin will then advance the level one row, whilst a Walking Wild may advance the level several rows high. Players should note that the reels during the bonus can reach a maximum of 8 rows high. Additional spins may be won whilst the feature is active, with the amount of extra spins awarded being determined the same way the feature was initially triggered.
The X-iter bonus buy menu can be utilised by players from jurisdictions where this feature is active. The following spins can be bought.
Bonus Hunt: An increased chance of triggering the bonus. Cost 3x the bet.
Big Drop: A Big Drop symbol is guaranteed to land on each spin. Cost 10x the bet.
Walkin Wild: The Walking Wild symbol is guaranteed to land. Cost 25x the bet.
Bonus: The bonus round is guaranteed to trigger. Cost 100x the bet.
Super Bonus: Buy a feature with a guaranteed Walking Wild. Cost 500x the bet.
A bright and colourful game with plenty of features to trigger.
The maximum win of 25,000x bet.
The RTP of 94%, which is below the average.
Lots of recycled mechanics.
J-POP slot Final Thoughts
Elk's games are always of the highest order when it comes to the design and smoothness of play, but they can feel a little predictable at times with what mechanics are going to be used, and I certainly got that feeling with their J-POP slot from the off.
If you're a diehard Elk fan, though, you'll likely get a bit of mileage out of this one before it makes its way into the back of your record collection, forever accumulating dust.
Oh, and the starting riff of the free spins feature doesn't half remind me of the Britpop era and Suede's Beautiful ones. Thanks for the reminder Elk, now got it blasting out.