Billiards meets Missile Command and Electroplankton in this heart-wrenchingly addictive arcade title. Many gamers believe that the most successful games can be described succinctly and I tend to degree. Games that are bogged down in complexity are often passed over by the average consumer, while the simpler games that can be connected with very readily often see higher sales numbers. In this way, we see games like Carnival Games selling more than Boom Blox when those who have experienced both will often relate having had a better experience with the latter. Poppi has both quality and potential mass market appeal going for it, and I really hope to see it succeed.
In Poppi, the player has to match falling shapes in order to stop them from reaching the bottom of the screen. Different shapes have different properties: some explode like mines, some cannot be burst, and others still are different in small ways. This is Poppi in a nutshell; the mechanics need not be explained to a first time player because they are instantly graspable but for reviewing purposes I will elaborate.
By tapping the screen, the player can launch shapes into a trajectory with the goal of having the shape hit a similar shape. In some cases, a specific shape can pop all of the other falling pieces, but in most cases simply matching two shapes will cause them to burst. Part of the joy of playing Poppi for the first time was discovering how the game worked. Since the premise is easily picked up on, the subtle nuances of using ricochets to match shapes and learning how to manage all of the falling objects can be learned more easily. All of this works extremely well, and I never once felt cheated by the controls.
All the while, points are accruing along the bottom of the screen and the intensity of the falling shapes increases. As one progresses into the upper echelons of Poppi, a real sense of urgency develops. While sitting in a quiet classroom awaiting the start of lecture, I reached a point where the shapes began to fill the screen and fall at an alarming rate. I knew at some point that I would not be able to manage the mess I had made, but when a single shape fell through the bottom and the defeat noise played I could not help but emit an overly audible, frustrated “Nnnurgh!”. I got plenty of condescending looks from those present in the Lecture hall, yet without any semblance of shame I happily clicked the retry button. The moral of the story being that I had become so engrossed in Poppi that I became completely unaware of my surroundings, and Poppi is therefore not a good thing at all to play whilst crossing the street or fixing your moving cieling fan.
Sound is one major reason that Poppi sucks the player in, and it is here that the game earns its comparison to Electroplankton. When shapes burst or even bump into another non matching shape they make pleasant tones. These little sounds fade off slowly, and as the action heats up it is accompanied by a symphony of these tiny sound bits. The player is not only rewarded with points for doing well, but simultaneously with a simple but fulfilling personal soundtrack of sorts. Poppi feels as much like a high score quarter muncher as it does a relaxing atmospheric music synthesizer.
Poppi will instantly hook players as it is a joy to play right from the get go. The mechanics do not change after a point, but the way the player uses them evolves with each new level. If the gameplay does not suck you in, the outstanding audio certainly will. Unfortunately at the moment Poppi does not have a leaderboard system, but OpenFeint integration is listed in the feature set of the forthcoming update. Sadly I cannot review based on promises, because Poppi would really benefit from being able to see how your score weighs up against other players, especially since the very goal of the game is to earn a high score.
The game is still a great experience, and at .99 cents you cannot go wrong with this purchase.
Go out and get Poppi, I want to see what more PomPom games has in store for us.
The shifting color pallette and clean visuals work well for Poppi.
Bing, bwowowaaa, and bunnnn are some of my favorite sounds from the game, there is iTunes support but I would actually advise against using one’s own music. Poppi sounds incredible with a nice set of headphones.
Easy to pick up, with enough depth to keep one playing. A game that would only feel right on the iPhone due to its tactile nature.
I have played quite a bit of Poppi, but at the moment there are no leaderboards. Keep in mind that they are coming but also know that this score reflects their absence.
Even without Leaderboards, Poppi is a cut above the rest. I still want leaderboards.