Puzzle Pop! on Facebook kicks your competitive spirit into overdrive
Puzzle Pop!, the new match-3 game from the New York-based Candystand.com, will get your competitive fires going as you and up to five others go head-to-head furiously matching three or more of the same colored bubbles, making them disappear before they reach the bottom of the screen. When they do -- it's game over.
If you're well-versed in casual games, this probably sounds like several dozen other games you've played before. But Puzzle Pop! has a secret weapon -- a diabolical series of power-ups which can be used to help yourself and attack opponents.
These power-ups are collected when you pop bubbles carrying them, and then you can drop and drag attacks on players of your choice, or just click to use a power-up on your own screen. One of my personal faves so far is the 2-Line power-up, which automatically removes two rows -- crucial if your bubbles are nearing the bottom of the screen. Then there's the attacks, such as the 'Blindfold' which keeps the player from seeing the screen and the Reverso, which reverses your opponents controls. The more you play, the more you'll learn to strategize with your power-ups. My favorite move is to save 'em up and then let them loose at once on an unsuspecting opponent.
Like other Facebook games, you can invite friends to play and their names (and scores) will appear in a leaderboard at the bottom of the screen. You can also see which friends are online and ready to play and click their images to instantly join their multiplayer games. If none of your friends are online, you will automatically be paired with other players. Puzzle Pop includes an in-game chat (with the ability to 'mute' people if need be) and you can form teams with friends.
Right now there are no gifting options in the game, nor is there virtual currency used to buy virtual items in a store. Instead, this social game takes aim at your wallet by enticing you to 'Go Pro' by paying a monthly subscription fee. Once you go Pro, you will have access to new characters and special power-ups that the regular players don't have -- which means if you decide to pay, you'll increase your odds of winning. While offering extras to people who pay is cool, it definitely puts free players at a disadvantage in this super-competitive environment, and I'll predict that won't go over well once players catch on.
Puzzle Pop still has a few details to work out, but it's still one of the more refreshing Facebook gaming experiences I've had in recent months. I've grown so used to playing the role of 'helper' in FarmVille and the other big social games, that it feels good to tap into that oh-so dormant competitive side for a change. Now, who's ready to take me on?
Play Puzzle Pop! on Facebook >
What do you think of Puzzle Pop! Looking for people to play the game with? Leave a note in the comments below.