Developer: YNG gameBrain
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics/Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

I should have been a physics teacher – I’m completely addicted to these types of puzzle games. Pop to Save is the newest to hit the App Store, and I’m hooked!

photo 3According to the somewhat vague storyline, cute little characters called Mina have been trapped in bubbles by an evil witch. Players must release them by filling their bubbles with glowing particles until they pop. The game consists of three packages with a total of 72 levels. Package one and its 24 levels is free, while $0.99 opens two and three as well as all future packages. Not a bad deal.

The controls are simple, but the strategies necessary to complete the levels increases in difficulty. Each level starts with three stars at the top of the screen. As players tap the balloon to release the sparkling particles, the third star slowly loses its gold color. The longer it takes to pop all the bubbles on the level, the more the stars lose their gold one by one. Once the level is passed, the player is awarded the number of stars that have any remaining color. I love this little tweak. Usually stars are awarded after the level finishes. I like knowing where I stand as I play; it adds another dimension to the game. Levels can be replayed in order to gain all three stars, which is necessary to open level 24. Cleverly, the creators have included a little “gimme” for themselves by requiring an App Store review to open level 22 and a Facebook share to open level 23.

photo 1Pop to Save reminds me of Catch the Berry, with some levels requiring line drawing and erasing in order to guide the particles to the bubbles. Obstacles such as portals, lasers, and fans work for good or for ill; it’s up to the player to outsmart them. Tips and tricks are learned as players advance through levels using physics to their advantage, manipulating the release of particles for optimum impact, utilizing particles more than once, and more. I won’t spoil it.

I’m always hard pressed to find the issues in this type of game if the graphics, gameplay, and controls are all up to par. I say Pop to Save is good to go. There’s enough game variety to keep players engaged, and enough challenge to make it rewarding when players are successful. It does claim to have a “fascinating” storyline, but I’m not really seeing it. It appears to me to be somewhat of an afterthought. Also, some of the levels are fairly easy. I didn’t feel as challenged as I have in other physics games. It won’t take me much longer to play them all. But when I’m done, I’ll have to go back and replay some for three stars so I can unlock that darn level 24.


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