Oct 032012
 

If you were an alien jellybean man stranded on Earth who needed to find the broken pieces of his spaceship in order to make the journey back home, what would you do? The obvious answer is to look for the pieces of your fractured craft, but this is a task easier said than done. That’s because not only are you an alien jellybean man, but also you simply cannot muster the strength to walk unless someone is popping plies of balloons under your feet! This may sound awfully strange, but underneath the weirdness is a new and unique puzzle game called Balloon Pop Remix At first glance, Balloon Pop Remixlooks like a traditional “match three” puzzler, but the gameplay has been changed considerably. First of all, the action moves from the bottom of the 3DS’s bottom screen in an upward direction. This is also one of the few, if only, matching puzzle games in which you can actually eliminate pieces that don’t match. That’s because this is a game that’s all about chaining together combos.

The top screen is really just eye candy, but it’s GREAT eye candy.

Pop a minimum of two balloons, and more balloons from the bottom will slide up to fill the empty space you created. When three or more like-colored balloons touch, they will also pop and create an empty space. If you are good/lucky, then you will create a chain reaction with several groups of balloons bursting in sequence. The longer your combo string is, the faster the little guy on the top screen will walk toward his objective. Getting combos also replenishes the mana needed to draw the lines which pop balloons to initiate the chain reaction. When first tackling this game, it is easy to think you can just pop random sets of balloons and rely on luck to get you the needed combos. While this is true to an extent, you eventually will have to think more strategically in order to succeed. It is important to look at the big picture and consider what will happen after you make your move, which is a huge and welcomed departure from most games in this genre.

If and when you conquer the 12 seasonally themed levels, and 4 additional levels in Balloon Pop Remix‘s story mode, there are other options to feed your newly found balloon bursting addiction. In Puzzle Mode, you have to figure out the best way to pop balloons to make all of the existing ones on the screen disappear. Solving each puzzle unlocks an additional one of the 100 included puzzles. There is an Endless Mode which, as the name implies, has a player endlessly poking a barrage of balloons. As if that all wasn’t enough, there is a pile of mini-games to play that all deviate from the core puzzle idea of the game but still have copious amounts of balloons.

Helping this bewildered bunny sort his balloons is just one of the variations on gameplay the minigames offer.

In this generation of gaming, it isn’t often that one can say “Wow, I’ve never done that in a game before,” so it is an especially delightful and fun event when that happens. This is the first matching puzzle game I’ve played that has deviated so successfully from the tried and true formula that games like Bejeweled laid down so long ago. If you can break the habits other puzzle games have taught you, then you will thoroughly enjoy this endearing and challenging game and have the satisfaction of helping one walking jellybean find its way home.

Balloon pop Remix

ProsCons
Inexpensive puzzle game that will make you think outside of the box.The core gameplay of this is so different, that it may be hard for some veteran puzzle gamers to wrap their head around.
VerdictFor only $7.99, Balloon Pop Remix should be considered a requirement for any 3DS owner.
Rating
85%

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