It's a shame that we live in an era where some developers prefer to reinterpret classic games rather than come up with original creations. Adventure Pop is a modern take on Bust-A-Move but does it do enough to form its own identity?
First of all, Adventure Pop is a free-to-play game. So, if you want to try it for yourself then thankfully the only thing you might waste is your time. Anyway, it's played almost identically to Taito's classic puzzler Bust-A-Move (AKA Puzzle Bobble) in that you shoot bubbles up the playfield in order to match three. It's a formula that many developers have ripped off in recent years. Whereas some games such as Supermagical offer a refreshing take on the decades-old puzzler, Adventure Pop unfortunately feels like an exact clone. I guess the implementation of having a limited number of bubbles to launch is unique but that was clearly put in place to lure you into spending actual money in order to gain more bubbles so you can finish stages easier. In almost every conceivable way, Adventure Pop fails to live up to Bust-A-Move's legacy as it's just not as fun which is inexcusable for a game released more than twenty years after the fact.
Now that I got that out of my system, Adventure Pop definitely has some lovely visuals complete with vibrant colours and cute character art which makes it quite a tempting game indeed. However, I found the orchestral music to be extremely stereotypical and the sound effects are bland to say the least. Listening to your cannon click as you move it left and right only to fire an unsatisfying tinny blast makes Adventure Pop appear all the more lackluster. It may look good but Adventure Pop could use work in the audio department.
Adventure Pop features two modes: a single player adventure and a versus mode that you can play against either online or local players. Surprisingly, the versus mode is the most enjoyable of the two. Although I couldn't find a single person to play online with, playing a few matches against my wife was somewhat enjoyable but it wasn't anywhere near as fun as Bust-A-Move.
When it comes to single player, the adventure is disappointingly tedious. All you do is try and beat one stage after the other with the odd boss fight here and there. You get rewarded with up to three stars in each stage depending on how efficiently you play them yet all these stars do is unlock additional characters in versus mode. It all adds up to one very monotonous campaign.
Considering Adventure Pop is free-to-play, you're probably wondering how it tries to get money from you. Basically, once you reach about halfway through the second world (of which there are three), the difficulty ramps up to be nearly impossible thus forcing you to pay money to progress. Trust me; I'm a capable long-time Bust-A-Move fan so if I can't beat this campaign then you know that it's tough. Seeing as the adventure mode isn't all that fun in the first place, why anyone would want to actually complete it is beyond me. Add the fact that versus mode isn't much fun for longer than a couple of matches and you're looking at quite a pointless game.
Adventure Pop is a lazy Bust-A-Move clone that tries to rope gamers in with its charming visuals but it ultimately fails to live up to its inspirations. Even though it's free, you're better off paying a few bucks for a classic Bust-A-Move title.
- + Colourful visuals and cute character art
- + You can play online or against a friend
- - Shameless and pedestrian Bust-A-Move rip-off that's far less enjoyable
- - Stock music and awful sound effects
- - Gets unfairly difficult so you pay-to-win