|System: Wii (WiiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nnooo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nnooo / Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 12, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Playing the game feels a lot like channel-surfing on a TV; you'll spend most of the time just pointing the Wii Remote at the screen and hitting the same single button over and over again. It's also possible to grab a bubble and pump it up with the Wii Remote until it bursts, creating the same effect as the radioactive bubbles mentioned above. The game starts out slow, but it picks up after a few levels. By the time you get towards the last few waves the bubbles will be moving at a dizzying pace. This does make for some hypnotic and tense situations if you happen to make a false move or hit too many radioactive bubbles.
With a fast current and lots of bubbles flowing in the later levels, large explosions can set off strings of chain reactions that will indiscriminately and voraciously consume good and bad bubbles alike. This can bring the counter dangerously close to the single digits, which is perhaps the only time when the game can make you feel frantic. When you're only a few waves shy of maxing out in the game's 16 main levels, the prospect of starting over from the beginning will be enough to burst your bubble of relaxation. Still, Pop has addictive potential. Even if you do meet the game-over screen prematurely, it's definitely a game you'll want to pick up and play again a short while after your irritation has waned.
Up to four players can pop bubbles at once, aiming for a high score and to keep the clock form zeroing out. This competitive mode includes special power-ups that can temporarily hinder opponents' bubble popping abilities by shrinking the size of their cursor, temporarily locking out their controls, or blacking all but a small flashlight-like circular are of the screen. An online leader board and an achievement badge system give the solo mode a little extra oomph, and a few different levels of difficulty will put your popping skills to the test. Also, a "chill" mode lets you space out and pop bubbles without any objectives, score, or time.
There is beauty in simplicity, but Pop is just a tad too simple. It's a briefly entertaining distraction, but the quality of the content just doesn't rise to the occasion for the price you have to pay. That's really the only major issue. The game - what's there at least - is essentially good. At a lesser cost, Pop's lack of real depth would be far less of an issue, but $7 just feels too steep for something that can be simulated with a 50 cent can of bubble stuff from the local toy store.
CCC Staff Contributor