In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Adventure Pop, the new free-to-play title from 505 Games – available now on PS4 and Xbox One.
How often do we get free-to-play games on consoles? Not too often right? Which is why when one does come along you can’t help but be slightly suspicious as to the motives. After all, free-to-play often means “freemium” – a now-derogatory term used to describe games that require players to unlock extra levels through in-game purchases. It’s a situation that plagues mobile gaming, even a huge publisher like Nintendo went the freemium route when they released Super Mario Run! So it’s with that in mind I approached Adventure Pop with a LOT of trepidation…
The official synopsis:
Embark on an epic adventure in this all-new, super-explosive bubble shooter! Ready your cannon, aim the bubbles, and fire away to burst through Adventure Pop! A group of adventurers has come together to find new treasures, but not before running into trouble. Help Penelope find her friends but watch out for the pesky pirates! Whether you choose to embark on a single-player journey or engage in a multiplayer bubble battle, Adventure Pop introduces an explosive experience that’s easy to learn yet difficult to master.
Developed by TicToc games and released by independent publisher 505 Games, a publisher whose PS2 games have become something of collectors items amongst retro game fans (myself included), Adventure Pop is a new take on a classic gaming trope: the bubble shooter. Popularised by the likes of Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move, the game takes the classic formula and updates it for modern gamers by adding HD visuals and a multiplayer experience, yet WITHOUT straying too far from what makes these types of games great.
Where Adventure Pop comes into its own is in its story. The use of steampunk and added RPG elements really gets playes involved with what’s going on in the game – though for those impatient gamers out there, each and every cut scene and conversation is instantly skippable – allowing you to experience the game your way, focusing just on the gameplay, should you wish. Thankfully, unlike their mobile gaming couterparts, Adventure Pop has been built with a solid multiplayer option that let you play both local and online matches. And as a bonus, if you’ve played the story mode through, unlocking Penelope’s friends as you go, you can use those characters in multiplayer mode.
Of course there are micro-transactions in Adventure Pop (there had to be really didn’t there?) but, like the best free-to-play games, you don’t need to spend any money to make your way through the game. If anything, the micro-transactions in this particular case are more like “cheats” – you can buy power-ups that will help you aim easier, or ones that will wipe out an entire colour when you chain three together. Ultimately they may help, but you can get by without them completely.
Adventure Pop is available to download, for free, now on PS4 and Xbox One.