Poppit «

Making a compelling puzzle game may seem like easy business, but it’s not — which is why so few of them become household names: Tetris, Bejeweled, etc. Poppit is EA Pogo’s attempt at making the next great puzzle phenomenon. In my opinion, they hit the nail on the head — or pin on the balloon, as the case may be.

Pogo, for those who don’t know (like me before doing this review), is EA’s online freebie game portal. At pogo.com, you can play a selection of web games — Mah Jong, Solitaire, etc. — and win tokens to use on tickets for daily, weekly, or monthly cash drawings. Poppit and its mobile ilk are designed to give you the same fun games, but on the go. There’s even convergence so you can use the tokens you win on your mobile game the same way you use them online. Pretty cool, ain’t it?

The balloon with sunglasses gave me a baseball — how sweet!

But forget that for now, because that’s just a gimmick, and really doesn’t have much to do with the gameplay — which is excellent. You have a screen full of balloons, and you can pop like colors when they’re in pairs or more. When popped, the entire row of balloons rises. The object is to make all the sunglasses disappear — which are placed randomly. When you eliminate a balloon, however, the glasses stay where they are. Thus, you have to make the glasses fall by having nothing for them to sit upon. When you do, they turn to goofy puzzles like pretzels and goldfish for no apparent reason. But hey — who am I to turn down a free pretzel?

Poppit distinguishes itself from the norm in a few key ways. First off, there’s no time limit. In fact, you can go as slow as you’d like. This makes it a great portable title, because you can take your attention away from the game without paying consequences. Secondly, you’re encouraged to use the “undo” option to rewind time and fix your mistakes. It’s really easy to paint yourself into a corner and lose the game. However, every move you made is remembered, so you can go back to several steps and try to make things right.

You’re given bonus points for big chains; it’s also advantageous to end up with as few balloons on the screen as possible, since you get big rewards for leaving five or under. Poppit actually took me a bit to get in the groove with, but when I did I was absolutely hooked. Games are short, but with a laid-back pace, and it’s relatively pleasing to the eye. This may be the mobile game to finally take the title away from Bejeweled. It may lack multiplayer, but the token cash-in option makes up for that. I highly recommend Poppit — both online at Pogo and via mobile phone.


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