|Genre: Puzzle & Trivia
|Min OS X: 10.4 RAM: 256 MB Hard Disk: 25 MB
GameplayWhen it gets right down to it, the only thing that really matters in these 2D puzzle games is gameplay. Pop-A-Tronic has all the ingredients for a high replay value puzzle game, but there are some flaws that should have been addressed.
For those of you looking to pump up that trigger finger, or induce carpal tunnel syndrome, you cannot do any better than Pop-A-Tronic. This game is a very smooth, fast clicking feast; but it appears that it also suffers from its developers playing too much of their own product to understand the skill of the average casual gamer, for which this game is probably intended. Tetris steadily increased its pace and difficulty over a series of levels until your palms sweated in desperation for that one piece that would save your game just a little longer. Pop-A-Tronic goes from zero to overdrive, while steadily increasing the difficulty. While fast fingered puzzle fanatics may not notice, it can leave the casual gamer in the dust from the start except when playing in puzzle mode. This is a shame because once you get used to the initial speed it gets more interesting and rewarding. To its credit, there is a help menu, pause function and in-game tutorial to initially guide you; but a speed or difficulty setting option would have greatly helped first time players.
In certain game modes, the fast pace of gameplay also hurts the elements of strategy that Pop-A-Tronic tries to introduce. The bubble inhale feature could be used with great strategy, but you are usually so desperate to pop available combos already available that it doesn’t prove to be much help except when it is the only option available. The purifiers, charge bombs, and color transmutation devices could have also been implemented in a more strategic way so as to give the player more control over their game; but then again it does add to the click-o-matic madness that is Pop-A-Tronic.
VerdictBubbles drop. You pop non-stop. Big Blue Bubble Inc. has added some interesting wrinkles into a seemingly tired game genre. If you are a fast paced puzzle fan, it will keep you distracted for quite a while as long as you’re not looking for deep strategy. At $19.95, Pop-A-Tronic is a bit overpriced to recommend for immediate purchase, but I definitely encourage you to download the full demo from www.macgamefiles.com and give it a half hour to grow on you. If Pop-A-Tronic doesn’t grab you by then, it never will.
Pros• 4 styles of play
• Good music for a casual game
• Fast bubble drop and pop 'til you stop action, if you are into that kind of thing
Cons• Lack of difficulty/speed settings
• Poor implementation of strategic elements
• Fast bubble drop and pop 'til you stop action, if you are NOT into that kind of thing