Platform: Mac, PC
Genre : Video Game
Publisher: Popcap Games
Retail Price: $20
Availability: PC, Mac
Iggle Pop is a classic example of how Popcap can put out cute and colorful games that seem so simple, but can end up being extremely addictive and have a surprising amount of depth. This game has a lot of content to offer that keeps the gameplay experience diverse and engaging. Just when things seem like they might be getting a bit repetitive, you will usually find an interesting new game mechanic, or change in the environment.
You start out the game as a confused character named Izzy, who is recruited by the Great Doctor Iggle to help rescue other Iggles who have been trapped in bubble cages by the evil Zoogs. As you progress through the various levels, the Doctor will periodically give you advice on how to navigate the levels, or provide you with powerups to help you fend off the Zoogs. The story isn’t really all that appealing from a narrative point of view, but the characters are colorful and easy on the eyes so I’m not complaining.
Obviously you are going to want to pick this game up for the addictive gameplay more than a story, and that’s just what this game provides. The concept is simple enough but can be increasingly hard as you make your way through the game. Your objective in each level is to run over each of the trapped Iggles and lead them to their home. There are groups of like-colored Iggles that you need to lead to the appropriately colored base. As you pass over each of the bases you will see the Iggles you have collected of that color disappear. Iggles will follow you in the order in which you pick them up, and it is beneficial to pick them up in order so that you can score chains based on the amount you have in sequence.
Your main obstacles you face as you traverse each of the levels are the Zoog. There are different types of Zoogs and each has it’s own unique method for stopping you from reaching your goal. If you run into a Zoog you will be killed and sent back to the start of the level. If a Zoog touches any of your Iggles, it will instantly put them back into a bubble. In the earlier levels it is easy enough to avoid them yourself, but it becomes increasingly hard to score the bigger combos since your chain of Iggles becomes increasingly longer and easier for them get to.
You have some methods of defense as you encounter the progressively harder enemies. Periodically the Doctor will drag you back to the lab and let you know about a weapon you can use to fight back against the Zoog or at least slow them down. Some levels will have a Zap icon which will make it so that when you run over a Zoog you temporarily remove them from the level. Other times you may get a freeze icon that stops all the enemies from moving for a certain amount of time and allows you to walk past them without being killed. You’ll need to learn to use the powerups on the stages in order to keep up your chain scores.
If you do get tired of the main adventure mode or you just beat it too many times, you can also try your hand at retro mode. The first thing I noticed when I jumped into the game was that it was incredibly reminiscent of Pac-Man. In this mode there are different colored Iggles spread across every space of the board and they disappear instantly as you walk over them. The chain multiplier in this modes comes from the amount of like colored Iggles you release in order. The game uses the same assets as adventure mode, but provides you with enough differences to make it a worthwhile game by itself.
The game has a ton of content to offer as there are over 100 stages spread across 9 chapters in the adventure mode, as well as over 50 stages that take place in 5 unique chapters. There are also five unique characters you can unlock as you obtain medals in each of the levels. You can obtain four different medals in each stage depending on your performance that range from bronze to platinum. As you obtain more gold and platinum levels, you unlock the additional characters.
Overall the game has a huge amount of content for you to explore and unlock, and you are provided with more than enough variety to keep the game entertaining the entire time you play. The games simplistic controls allow anyone to pick it up and give it a try, but it also requires a fair amount skill to achieve platinum medals on the later stages. If you are looking for an engaging and fun puzzle game you can play in your spare time, this game is for you.