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WiiWare: Pop Box Art

WiiWare: Pop

Admit it. You love popping stuff –- balloons, packing wrap, and most importantly, bubbles. Perhaps for this reason, Australian developer Nnooo used this concept for the premise of the WiiWare title Pop. The game calls players to pop bubbles as they scroll onscreen with the IR functionality of the Wii Remote. This easy-to-understand concept and gameplay appeals to casual gamers, while online leaderboards and a combo system act as a shout-out for the hardcore. The set-up is in place for sparking fond childhood memories of chasing bubbles, but the execution leaves you wanting to leave the suds to the past.


Pop uses a minimalist approach by displaying bubbles flying across the screen. The color palette shifts with each wave completed, so players will see a pleasant variety of shades -– oranges, blues, reds, greens and yellows. This color-changing action thankfully moves along with a solid framerate. On the other hand, not much, technically speaking, is going on. There is a simplistic particle effect as bubbles burst into water droplets, but on the whole, nothing will stand out to gamers.


From the start-up screen, the music fits the bill perfectly. Game Audio Australia uses aquatic tunes that dynamically adjust to player’s abilities. For example, the tempo or song will change as time decreases or another wave is finished. The sound effects also work swimmingly with the Wii Remote speaker being utilized for popping noises. The audio is, hands down, the best part of the Pop experience.


Playing is as simple as the title, Pop. Players will arm themselves with the Wii Remote to point at and destroy bubbles, as they shift from scrolling horizontally to vertically. Pinpoint accuracy is easily attainable because of responsive and well-executed IR functionality. The main gameplay element that surrounds popping bubbles relates to a timer placed on the top of the screen. The ticker will count down as players miss bubbles, hit skulls, or fail to keep up. Conversely, gamers can garner more time with larger combos and precise aiming.

Two modes adapt to the timer aspect in different ways. The first, normal mode, will most likely be you preferred style of play. Essentially, players continue popping bubbles through sixteen different waves, which then repeat. Players can achieve higher scores through a variety of different measures. For example, gamers can acquire power-ups within bubbles that allow for explosions or slowing down time; slow motion helps to add seconds to the timer or blow up a bubble. Another method involves of enlarging bubbles with Wii Remote motion and ends up being the best strategy for combos. As such, the quick hand of simply hitting the same color of bubble will chain your score.

The second mode relates to attaining 9,999,999 points. Players still fight the clock, but the game ends by reaching the score. For us, this led to a game that lasted over 40 minutes. A minute amount of players will learn strategies to lower their time, but most will become extremely bored of this mode.

Overall, there is not much depth to the title other than popping bubbles. Thankfully, there are online leaderboards for both modes, but hardcore gamers will want more of a challenge.


The multiplayer supposedly gives anyone a chance to pick up and play. While the process is easy to join, the implementation of the mode is poor. The multiplayer feature focuses on competition instead of cooperation. New power-ups will hurt your friend, such as a lightning icon that disables your opponent’s popping ability. This constant struggle leads to very short games and no reason to cooperate. Pop is better left to one-player sessions.


For 700 Wii Points, Pop is overpriced. The game does deliver effective, although straightforward, graphics and a killer audio experience from Game Audio Australia. And while the gameplay can prove entertaining in short bursts, the lack of depth will keep many gamers from coming back to play extra sessions. You pop bubbles... that’s it. This repetitive concept will grow old fast for the majority of gamers, and thus, you should save your Wii Points for another Monday.

final score 5.7/10

Staff Avatar Evan Campbell
Staff Profile | Email
"Real men don't fight — they sing!"

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