Pirate Pop Plus 3DS & Wii U eShop Review
Gameboy visuals are a charming treat
Cross-buy between Wii U and 3DS
Gameplay is only fun in three minute increments
Lots to unlock but nothing adds to the quality of gameplay
Bursting Your Bubble
Pirate Pop Plus is a poor man’s Buster Bros. only with an original pea green Gameboy visual style. If you are unfamiliar with Buster Bros., or the Pang series as it is known overseas, you play as a character trapped in a single screen, shooting arrows upward to pop bubbles. Once a bubble is popped, two smaller bubbles pop out, and two more after those. Pirate Pop Plus is different because the goal is to keep playing to earn a high score instead of beating a stage to move on to the next. The lack of level structure, bosses, environmental objects, crazy power-ups, varying soundtrack, and a two-player mode really hold back the entire experience.
Unfortunately, PPP is basically a one-trick pony without any staying power. An occasional power-up will appear to make shooting the bubbles a little more entertaining but gameplay becomes repetitive quickly. The one mechanic that is unique to this bubble buster is a magnet will occasional change gravity which causes the player to run along walls instead of solely attacking from the bottom up. During these transitions, the player can bounce off bubbles to earn a bonus but this still isn’t anything to ultimately make the game more fun.
Outside of trying to earn a high score on the local-only leaderboard, the player can spend coins to unlock a couple new characters and some color swatches for the game screen and game boarder in the option screen. But none of this optional unlockable content is compelling or even worthwhile; it also takes forever to actually earn enough credits to purchase anything. Worse yet, playing this game on 3DS is actually somewhat difficult because the last phase of the bubbles, the tiniest form, is actually really, really tiny. The boarder of the screen makes the player feel like they are playing from a Game & Watch handheld, which is cool how the buttons react in real time to the player’s inputs, but it cuts down the gameplay resolution making the tiny bubbles difficult to see. This isn’t as noticeable in the Wii U version since the player is playing on a bigger screen but there is no cross-save or cross-leaderboard functionality. However, the $5 admission fee is cross-buy between 3DS and Wii U, something I wish more games enabled.
Pirate Pop Plus is sort of fun the first couple times you play it but gets boring quick. The old school pixel-based Gameboy graphics are a nice visual touch but the charming visuals can’t stand with the uneventful gameplay. For $5 there are much better choices available on the eShop.
Not As Good As: Pang Adventures
Also Try: drinking champagne
Play It Instead: Jet Pack Joyride
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com