By Cameron Mohr
If addictive puzzle games are your cup of tea, Pirate Pop Plus is the game for you. Developed by Dadako Studios in Japan and published in the West by 13 AM Shipping Solutions, Pirate Pop Plus centers around controlling Pete Jr. with the directional pad and shooting anchors to pop bubbles and rack up a high score. The premise of the game is that Pete Jr. awoke on his ship to find he had run aground on an island seemingly overtaken with bubbles. He then learns his old nemesis is the one responsible for the bubbles and is using them to trap other pirates.
At the beginning of the game, the player moves Pete Jr. left and right along the bottom of the screen and shoots anchors to pop the bubbles that appear. The bubbles start out large, and with each pop they split into several smaller bubbles. Popping bubbles without getting hit by them will net the player a chain for a higher score. Getting hit will end the chain and also reduce the player’s health, of which Pete Jr. has three total. After a short amount of time, gravity will change and then Pete Jr. will be walking on the left, right, or top of the screen. The gravity also subtly changes how the bubbles bounce, leading to a new challenge every time the game is played. There are a myriad of power ups to collect such as the ability to have multiple anchors on screen at once, a rapid fire pistol, and a stopwatch which freezes all the bubbles on screen and leads to easy combos. It is simple fun that I found myself willing away my time with enthusiasm.
In addition to Pete Jr., the game features three unlockable characters, including Satura from 13 AM Games’ indie hit Runbow. Each character has their own stats, strengths, and weaknesses. Characters and other content can be unlocked with Coins, the in-game currency. Coins are earned by playing the main puzzle game. Aside from the characters the game contains a vast amount of unlockables ranging from different colors for the on screen buttons, casing styles similar to the old crystal Game Boy (pictured above), different color pallets, and even has remixes of the excellent chiptune soundtrack (My favorite remix is the gyms version). I enjoy the amount of things to strive to obtain as it gives the game even more replay value beyond the superb puzzle gameplay.
Pirate Pop Plus is addictive fun, plain and simple. It is currently on the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo New 3DS systems for $4.99, as well as downloadable for PC via Steam. Pirate Pop Plus is an excellent game to play on the go or while waiting for some friends to come online. That said, it is so addictive you may forget you have friends in the first place. I certainly recommend it to any puzzle game fan or those who enjoy classic arcade games where the objective is to shoot for the highest score possible. The game also features cross buy on Wii U and New 3DS, so you get more bang for your buck. I hope you have enjoyed this review and found it helpful. Now, to finish the session I had paused in order to write this review!