REVIEW – Pirate Pop Plus (Wii U)

Sometimes all you need is a game that takes you back to the basics. Simple movements, simple goals, one simple screen. Pirate Pop Plus on the Wii U does exactly that. PPP is an arcade game that offers players a simple, yet engaging and addictive experience that will bring you back over and over again. So how is it that such a seemingly simple game is able to achieve this not so simple feat?

PPP puts players in the shoes of a pirate by the name of Pete Jr., who upon waking from his nap on the beach sees bubbles in the distance. Once Pete Jr. is close enough to the source, he finds that the bubbles come from none other than the Bubble Pirate and he has trapped the villagers in the bubbles. Quick to jump into action like any good videogame hero, Pete Jr. grabs his trusty anchor and sets out to pop all the bubbles and save the villagers. Yes, the story is odd, but it’s sure to make you crack a smile. But let’s face it, you don’t really care about that. You want to hear about some bubble popping action!

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The entire core of the gameplay takes place in one, simple screen. The Bubble Pirate pops up in the middle of the screen and unleashes a gigantic bubble. Your job is to pop the bubble using your anchor. Once you pop the big bubble, it then splits into two more medium sized bubbles. Once you pop either of those two bubbles, you guessed it, two more tiny bubbles appear. Once you clear out those bubbles, the Bubble Pirate comes back to unleash more bubbles on you. To make things more interesting and also increase the challenge, Bubble Pirate can control the gravity and will flip things from side to side or top to bottom every so often. Switching up the gravity can be a bit of a burden, especially if you’re in the middle of attempting to hit a bubble, however it can also be a blessing in disguise because you can bounce on top of a bubble to destroy it and continue to utilize the rebound in order to clear out the rest of the bubbles. You’ll find this ability quite helpful at times, especially since Pete Jr. is unable to jump on his own.

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As you destroy the bubbles you’ll occasionally be rewarded with fruit, new weapons, upgrades, and coins. After you clear out all bubbles on screen, you’ll advance to the next level and the difficulty increases. Once you take enough hits and exhaust your heart supply, the game is over and you will be brought to the hi-score screen to record your initials and score. You’ll also get to keep the coins you earned in order to purchase upgrades for your Pocket Games handheld.

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The graphics are all an homage to the Gameboy games of yesteryear, including the layout of the game. PPP is presented as a handheld game, and that includes a Pocket Games handheld interface on the left and right of the screen complete with a D-pad and an action button. But don’t let the simple, old-school graphics dissuade you from purchasing the game. The graphics are old-school, yet full of charm for sure. And it doesn’t stop there. As previously mentioned, you can also use the coins you’ve earned to customize your pocket game in the shop, unlock characters and more. And to complete the package, we’ve got to take a look, or listen, to the music. You’ll definitely be in for a treat as you listen to the sweet chiptunes on each playthrough. Every tune is a treat to listen to and brought me back to my younger years of gaming. There’s just something about good chiptunes that makes a game better.

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Pirates Pop Plus is available on the Wii U and the NEW 3DS. I reviewed a Wii U copy and thoroughly enjoyed the game. My only regret is not being able to play it on a 3DS. I would love to take the experience on the go. I highly recommend you give PPP a shot today. It won’t burst your bubble, trust me.

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