Developer: Barefoot Explorers
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Halloween may be over, but will you let that stop you from destroying pumpkins in the name of witchcraft and pie-making? If not, then you may be interested in Popkinz!, which indulges your more destructive urges. The game’s fast-paced pumpkin smashing serves as a nice distraction for a bit, but the game doesn’t really have the legs to maintain interest over repeated sessions.

The basic premise of Popkinz! is simple, tap on floating pumpkins to destroy them and drop their gooey innards into pie plates moving along the bottom of the screen. You have 10 minutes to make as many pies as possible, but watch out for floating ghosts as touching one ends the game prematurely. Overall, it’s a very simple and straightforward experience, and the game also throws in a nice handful of power-ups at various instances to keep things interesting. There’s little to no strategy involved in the title, but if you’re in the mood for something mostly mindless it can tickle just the right spot.

While Popkinz! is entertaining the first or second time through, it doesn’t really offer any incentive to keep coming back. Players can post their high scores online, but there’s little incentive to keep coming back again and again to try and claim the top spot. With only one game mode and an inflexible 10 minute timer, Popkinz! requires players to be in a very specific mood before they decide to tackle a round.

One other annoying factor is how the game handles ghosts. Touching a spirit ends the round, but rather than letting you put up a high score and then start over, players who hit a ghost are booted out entirely, with absolutely nothing to show for their efforts. Even if you’re nine and a half minutes into a round touching a ghost will reset you right back to zero, proving the time you just spent to be an even bigger waste than expected. It’s a clumsy mechanic, and one which really needs to be addressed in an update. Even if players can’t “win” when they hit a ghost, they should at least be allowed to post a score so they don’t feel so shortchanged.

Popkinz! may prove entertaining for younger gamers or those looking for a way to kill a decent chunk of time in one sitting, but doesn’t fare well for more hardcore users or those who get bored by repetition. In short, it’s an app for a fairly niche crowd, so you may want to think about this one before you dive in.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , ,