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Publisher: Ambrosia Software    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 350 MHz    RAM: 20 MB


Pop-Pop
July 16, 2002 | Richard Porcher
Pages:123Gallery

To demonstrate the fine level of balance amongst the pops, kind Mr. Welch let me pick his pop, any pop. I picked ‘em, and he played ‘em. And he shook me free of any notions that one pop was better than the rest.

Still, it seems to me that many rookies will pick Mr. Man and his bricklaying bot ability over some of the other, more subtle pop powers. It will take many, many games to really learn how to utilize some of the others’ special powers, but the brick-bot is quite straight forward in its ability to send a novice frantically scrambling to kill it, or die with a wall of bricks to the face. Andrew was not so sure of my assessment, and I am inclined, of course, to listen when he speaks. But what I can tell you with absolute certainty is that, in my experience, the bricklayer is the easiest of the bots to start with. But a better player can always counter him, so don’t get too comfortable with one pop, lest you die crushed beneath a ton of bricks.

So, perhaps Andrew was the best player for me to have gone up against. I know I’ll be looking for him again before pop-pop is released to the masses. Until then, he’ll be easy to find.

Graphics
As we have come to expect with games from Ambrosia, and indeed with all shareware companies, the graphics do not steal the show. The focus here is on gameplay and the graphics are a means to that end which is, I think, as it should be.

That having been said, the graphics in pop-pop are fantastic. The interface is a blend of techno/rave and Japanese anime influences, and is completely different in appearance than anything Ambrosia has released to date. And there's eye candy galore, right down to the real-time animation of the watery background which responds to movement from the mouse.

The artwork of the characters is distinctive and very appealing. Think Powerpuff Girls meets Pokémon and you'll have the right idea.

Older Mac owners shouldn't have much to fear, though, as even the most complex effects rely solely on software to render, and can even be turned off if your metal can't pass muster.

Sound
The music and sound in pop-pop is my favorite part of the game, and it matches very well with what happens on screen. The techno soundtrack is catchy, but stops far short of becoming annoying, a mistake that so many similar games have made. I don't think I should have to turn off the music to make the game fun and, with pop-pop, I don't. it's perfect.

The sound effects are, as usual, nicely done and add a lot of atmopshpere to the game.

Final Thoughts
In pop-pop, Ambrosia has finally released an arcade game that is more addictive than Barrack, which I played until my eyes bled (ouch.) Everything I loved about that game can be found in pop-pop. But, while the single-player experience is fun for a while, it's the multiplayer game that really makes pop-pop worth playing. Practice by yourself, then hit the net and have some real fun.

If you're a fan of games like Arkanoid, you're probably going to love pop-pop. If you liked Ambrosia's Barrack, you're probably going to feel the same way about this game. The on-line community alone should keep pop-pop alive for a long time to come.

Pop-pop is slated for official release at Macworld New York on the 17th of this month. My advice is to warm up your modem and grab this one as fast as you can.



Pop-Pop
Publisher: Ambrosia Software
Download Pop-Pop Demo


Pages:123Gallery




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