148Apps Network Post
Developer: Chillingo Ltd.
Price: FREE 
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★ 
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½ 
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ 

As theater majors, my classmates and I often warmed up with the BOP IT!, a handheld arcade game in the vein of 80s cultural icon Simon. With the BOP IT!, we performed tricky hand calisthenics directed by a snarky, automated voice. This 90s dude offered feedback (snarkily) as we attempted to manipulate and master the BOP IT!.

A group can become mesmerized by the focus it takes to challenge the BOP IT!’s innate pattern of play. It may sound like nothing special, but the BOP IT! handheld game is like an endless loop of Tom Stoppard lines to a classroom of theater geeks. (No judging!)

My BOP IT! enthusiasm follows me into this decade. I still own the original BOP IT!. The opportunity to try out BOP IT! SMASH for iPhone is one for seizing.

BOP IT! SMASH incorporates the tell-tale elements of the original, cultish handheld game. The interface mimics the design of the original. Flashy buttons wink at me in the flirtation of their real life counterparts. The nostalgic sound of the snarky dude’s voice, recalling a 90s era DJ spinning The Smashing Pumpkins, has me visualizing his full-on hipster doofus get-up.

BOP IT! SMASH is straightforward. Push a candied, winking button and aim for the bouncing spheres, or ENERGY BALLS, to smash in the center of the screen. In my case, fail to do that, and have the snarky dude call me a “catastrophe” and so on.

Conceptually, this version is concise and enjoyable, although I don’t see a great deal of replay value. It’s fun to play, but not enough fun to waste an afternoon playing. Inherent in the word “play” is the idea of disregarding time to get lost in a warp of pleasure. Dinging through my heady daze, I rack up glintish gold coins to buy cheap koozies and tacky keychains at the virtual arcade counter in the cloud.

BOP IT! SMASH traps me in a kind of time warp. Although I prefer the nuances of the original BOP IT!, I like the authentic design in this version. BOP IT! is not a game for solo enjoyment. My flourescent memories of BOP IT! center on a circle of college students, talented, ambitious, energetic, and snarky as hell.

Would I revisit those days? The days of pouring through hefty tomes at wee hours, climbing the history building’s roof on a dare, crashing at Waffle House for a midnight bite of drippy hashbrowns scattered, smothered, AND covered. It’s nice to remember those experiences with a distanced, pastel fondness. My grasp on them now is merely virtual.

The same can be said for BOP IT! SMASH. The game is enjoyable and somewhat addictive, but it’s not the original. I can’t connect fully to the experience. It’s a dim looking-glass view of the past, which, in the present, is simply not the same.

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Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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