Game Review

Pop Them, Drop Them SameGame Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

Is Hudson’s puzzler a worthy purchase or just more of the same?

SameGame is a bit of an unusual one. It was first created way back in 1985, but was never really all that popular. Nevertheless, it went on to spawn a large number of clones and remakes over the years, with Hudson’s effort being the latest.

The basic concept of SameGame is quite simple. You are presented with a large grid filled with blocks of varying colours. Your job is to eliminate every single one of these blocks by matching them up with other blocks of the same colour. The catch is that you can’t actually move any blocks yourself; the only way to move them is by selecting an already existing group of similarly coloured blocks and making them disappear, dropping all blocks above down a number of spaces. The larger a group is when you make it vanish, the more points you get.

As you can imagine clearing the whole screen is quite a task. It’s very easy to be left with just one block of a certain colour, meaning there’s no way to make it disappear, because the minimum number of blocks you need to destroy a group is two. When you’re left with no more possible moves, you instantly lose. If you clear everything, the game doesn’t end: the screen will be completely refilled. This, of course, goes on until you fail to clear a screen.

Thankfully Hudson has done away with some of the more annoying issues in the original SameGame. Originally, if you created a large space between two parts of the grid, meaning you had two separate groups of blocks, there was no way to get them together again. In Pop Them, Drop Them, however, creating a space between two sections will automatically cause one of the sections to slide towards the other, eliminating the need to constantly be careful not to separate parts.

Hudson has also added some much-needed customization to the game. The original had only a dull green background with single-colour squares in front of it. You can now select from five different backgrounds, six different songs, and seven different block shapes (including Bomberman heads!). You can also customize the gameplay quite a bit, because you’re able to change the size of the grid and how many differently coloured blocks there are (3-5).

There are also some totally new features. The first of these is entirely optional and matches up perfectly with the Bomberman head-shaped blocks – Bombs! If you turn these on, each grid will start out with a number of bombs, which, when selected, will destroy a certain number of blocks around them. If you can link together multiple bombs, their blast radius will increase, meaning they can easily take out a group of unmatchable blocks.

The other new feature is a very welcome one: at any time during gameplay, you can hit the 1 button to undo any of your previous moves. Although this sort of defeats the purpose of being left with no possible moves (since you can simply undo moves if you think you’re not going to make it) it makes the game a lot less frustrating.

Including only a single player mode would of course make the game’s value a bit dubious, so Hudson has also included multiplayer options, which offer some fresh spins on SameGame. There are three different multiplayer modes. The first, Fame Game, is a simple battle with up to four players, each with their own grid, and whoever can score the most points wins. Shame Game totally switches things around: your objective is not to score as many points as possible, but as few points as possible! Obviously the best way to go about doing this is clearing nothing but two-block groups, but you’ll find that that’s almost impossible to do. If you manage to clear the whole screen you’ll actually lose some points to lower your score ever further, but if you run out of moves all remaining blocks will increase your score! Blame Game is a lot more frantic, because all four players compete on a single grid to score the most points. If you try to clear a block that can’t be cleared (for example, when all four players try to clear the same block at the same time) you’ll lose points, meaning it’s mostly a test to see who’s the fastest.

Sadly, Pop Them, Drop Them does not feature any online support for multiplayer. Given that the game only costs a paltry 500 Wii points it is hard to begrudge this, but it would have been a very welcome addition to what is otherwise a very complete game.


Pop Them, Drop Them SameGame is quite an attractive package on the whole. The game oozes with the usual Hudson quality and the asking price is not going to break the bank. For those who are struggling with spare space on the Wii, it will come as good news to hear the game fits into a tiny 46 blocks. SameGame is deceptively simple and one of the most incredibly addictive puzzle games ever. Hudson has done an excellent job of bringing the classic game up to date for WiiWare. Solo players might tire of the gameplay after a short while, but for multiplayer it is a very attractive proposition. Hudson’s track record of delivering quality WiiWare games is upheld once again with this fun bargain puzzler.

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User Comments (84)



Kaeobais said:

Sounds good. Not gonna be buying it though. Hudson's been doing good on wiiware.



Corbs said:

I'm getting this when it comes to the US. Awesome review Drake! Hudson is kicking tail on WiiWare.



Twilight_Crow said:

I knew this was going to be good, this puzzle type has ALWAYS been good, anyway, I rather buy the samegame for my cell, the new features are nice thou, still I prefer more complicated games like Plattchen; there are too many simplifications on this one.



CanisWolfred said:

Thanks for the review, this does look sort of interesting. Not a puzzle fan though, so I'll probably skip it.



Wiiloveit said:

I can't remember the last time Drake praised a game like this. Anyway, this game is great, and is a great addictive little title to dip in and out of every time you switch on your Wii for a minute or so, and the extra features make it more than worthy of the 500 point price. I'd highly recommend this game for anyone with £3.50 or $5.00 to spare.



Drake said:

Well, I haven't really reviewed many "traditional" puzzle games on WiiWare, just Plattchen and this



DAFOLI said:

I am new to wiiwareworld community and i must say that the games presentations are excellent! Thank you Drake and all the team.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

I'm definitely getting this. I just knew it would be worth it. Great review and I look forward to its release here in NA. And yes, online multiplayer is kinda disappointing. That would've been a blast!

@Dafoli: Welcome!



Ricardo91 said:

@DAFOLI. Welcome to WWW!

I was gonna say that I'd rather play this game in another format for cheaper, but it does seem to add some interesting new features, and it's only 500 points. I just might get this....

EDIT: Does this game include leaderboards? Cuz that would solidify my purchase of this game!



Chunky_Droid said:

Good to see more good content from Hudson

Won't be getting this one though, not my kinda puzzler




Why did Hudson drop VC support? I had noticed a sad lack of their games recently.



Dazza said:

Hudson only said off the record that they were focusing on WiiWare instead of VC for the foreseeable future. Maybe we can expect the odd VC game now and then in the future, but at least for the moment they appear to be on hold.

Great review Marcel, I will surely pick this up soon. It sounds like a real steal at just 500 points.



Bahamut_ZERO said:

8/10! Wow!

I still wont be getting this because Im not a big puzzle game fan, but it's nice to see some quality puzzlers on WW instead of quickly thrown together junk.

And by the way, great review Drake. What country you from (Im not very good at identifying European flags ).



Objection said:

So is the single-player just trying to clear the board everytime or are there, i donno, point targets or something?



Wiiloveit said:

@Drake: I was referring to the praising of the game, not the game genre itself when I said "like this".
@Objection_Blaster: Yeah, you just try and get your own high scores - there aren't any to aim for, but surprisingly enough, it doesn't take any of the fun away from it.



EJD said:

I expected this to get a 7, good to hear Hudson have made another good WiiWare game. I'll pass on this for now but may get it in the future when I have 500 points to spare.



Dazza said:

@Wiiloveit - Drake isn't shy of dishing out high scores in his reviews. Toki Tori, Space Invaders Get Even, Strong Bad 4 & 5 and Maboshi all got 8/10 or above. Maybe it is just the damning review of Plattchen that sticks in your head?



Bahamut_ZERO said:

@Dazza: Well, everybody has their preferences. Ill use statistics and observations to show you:

Corbie: 7 or 9
Drake: 8
Spencer: 6 or 7

I havn't seen many other people do reviews recently, so Sam, Sean, and the rest aren't on here (sorry guys).

But Daz, have you actually done a WWW review yet? When I was flipping throught the pages of past reviews, you name was odly absent.....



Dazza said:

I like to think that the reviewers give the appropriate rating for the game in question rather than sticking to their favourite numbers.

I did intend to do some WiiWare reviews originally but we had a baby girl in April just before WiiWare launched so sitting down for long enough to play the games and do them justice in a review is not so easy. Besides keeping up with all the news and doing interviews keeps me busy enough.

You can still read my ramblings over on VC Reviews of course. I am the resident Master System expert!



Drake said:

I've just been lucky enough to have almost only been assigned to review good games



Bahamut_ZERO said:

@Dazza: I don't know if thats true. I mean, their favorite numbers do come up a lot. I doubt that all of Corbie's games were 7s (he had like five 7s in a row).

And congrats on the baby girl. Whats her name?

@Drake: Suspiciously lucky



Terra said:

Nice review. I would download this right now but tragedy struck this morning when my Wi-Fi USB Connector got stepped on and broke completely. Have to wait until i've come back from Madrid in a week and a half before i can save up for another.



Dazza said:

@Bahamut ZERO - Corbie's last review for Family Glide Hockey was 3/10. Not long before that he gave Bruiser and Scratch a 4/10. If anyone has had a mixed range of reviews it's the Corbinator. I don't think your theory has any legs really!

My girls name is Princess Peach! Haha not really, I am not that big of a geek. It's Emma



Wiiloveit said:

@Drake... hmm. I just couldn't remember the last time you reviewed any good games, that's all. Now I feel like a fool.
@Terranigma: That's a real shame, here's hoping there'll be some more treats awaiting your return to online gaming in the near future.

Congrats on the baby girl
Slightly late there...



DAFOLI said:

Thank you all for the welcome! After playing the single player mode of the game i must say that it is quite addictive since you keep playing until game over and it certainly deserves 8/10. I also loved the changeable backgrounds!



Terra said:

Welcome to the WWW community. You'll find yourself visiting this website a few times a day just because of the users. Enjoy yourself.



DAFOLI said:

@Terranigma thank you!
It is wonderful to know that many people globally share the same passion and love for the games and especially for wiiware games!



Stratos said:

46 blocks kind of seals the deal for me. I prefer to always have a quick puzzler on the Wii memory for spontaneous play but high block counts hog my precious space.

On a related note, we are now in the month of February when Nintendo is suspected to begin implementing its fabled storage solution. It's also when the Rock Band music store starts getting the current updates along with the rest of the systems. Hopefully sooner in the month than later for both.

-And Welcome Dafoli! Be sure to visit VC-Reviews and the VC-reviews forum as well.



Terra said:

Maybe we should have guest reviewers for particular games. I reckon if WWW did that, it could be quite interesting.

"It is wonderful to know that many people globally share the same passion and love for the games and especially for wiiware games!"
It certainly is. Outside of this website, i feel like the only one. I'm sure others feel the same. Also, out of curiosity, do you have any ideas for an avatar yet?



DAFOLI said:

Thank you for the suggestion. This one is taken from my favourite game
Thank you! I am also looking forward for the highly anticipated storage solution.



Terra said:

Nice Avatar. Not too keen on Animal Crossing myself though. I prefer something more hardcore or something that symbolizes the Terranigma game, like artwork for it, like my current one.



Ricardo91 said:

Hey Daz, I was gonna say this in your VC-F user profile, but since you wouldn't allow visitor messages, I'll say it here: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!



Wiiloveit said:

@Objection_Blaster: And after that, you can do a review of the Super Mario Bros parody by Sega, with the only real drawback being that you'll have to get a JP Wii and learn the language beforehand...



Sean_Aaron said:

@Stratos, is that true? I thought it was Spring 2009 for the Storage Solution (tm). I would be thrilled if it happened this month. I just spent an hour sorting out my WiiWare to put it all on a 2GB SD card for PAL and 1GB SD card for my Japanese System, with a separate 256MB card for save data backups.



Wiiloveit said:

@Sean Aaron: Seriously? You can't be serious... unless you have bought about half the games on the Wii Shop Channel. Or, you might not have downloaded the most recent firmware that speeds up transferring. All I can say, is that that was a loooong time. Try telling AlexSays that, then maybe he'll think a bit more about the storage "problem".



Sean_Aaron said:

@Wiiloveit: I have the firmware update or I wouldn't even have bothered because it would have taken far longer. The problem is I only have about 400 blocks free on my Wii, and outside of doing backups for the stuff I already had on there I had to copy stuff from one SD card to the Wii and then swap cards. That plus not being able to bulk-copy the VC content makes it time-consuming when you have a dozen VC games and I think 10 WiiWare titles, many of which are big enough that I had to do them one at a time from card to Wii to card, then delete and start again.

No question I think folk like AlexSays that downplay the storage issue don't buy a lot of downloadable content. Anyone who gets Space Invaders Get Even (which is excellent even without expansion packs) and the DLC will experience issues if they want to get any free channels from Nintendo -- forget about buying any other WiiWare games.



Boringman54 said:

Good review but those pictures are useless, their of the menus. Nobody wants to looks at the menus!!



Terra said:

That's not a bad deal Dazza and Wiiloveit have proposed to you and it'll only cost you £200 or whatever the equivalent is in Yen. Complete bargain to get 2 reviews on this website.



Wiiloveit said:

@Sean Aaron: I see what you're saying there. If it was possible to download stuff straight onto SD, the storage issue would be a lot better.

@Boringman54: The pictures are randomly done from the available screenshots. Try pressing F5 and have another look.



Sean_Aaron said:

@Wiiloveit: Yeah that would be sort of an improvement, but I've done the hard work already, so let's hope there's a seamless mechanism for playing off SD as well!



AlexSays said:

No question I think folk like AlexSays that downplay the storage issue don't buy a lot of downloadable content.

No, folk like AlexSays aren't ignorant enough to think they need everything on their Wii's memory.

Space Invaders takes up what, 800 blocks? And the Wii comes with 2400?
So even if you take away 200 for game saves which is a stretch you still have 1400 blocks.

1400 blocks isn't enough for a few channels and a couple games?
...I've never seen a console ridiculed for something so stupid.

It's amazing how I can have thirty-one games and several channels yet not experience the same "problem" some of you are. I think some of you just like to whine.

Try telling AlexSays that, then maybe he'll think a bit more about the storage "problem".

No, that only enhances my belief Nintendo fans are the worst among any console.

You don't need an SD card. There's a reason Nintendo lets you re-download games off the Wii Shop Channel.
So he did something completely unnecessary and then tries to blame his actions on Nintendo?

And then he threw in game saves?
Oh wow, all 1 block?
So even if you copied 100 game saves you're up to 100 whopping blocks, which takes 20 seconds or so?

Game saves had nothing to do with that "hour" and the rest of the time was completely unnecessary.
It's like pushing your car to work when you could just drive it, and then calling up Ford to complain.
So yes that makes AlexSays think more about the storage "problem" and how it doesn't exist.



Sean_Aaron said:

Well, I never ridiculed the Wii over lack of storage. A number of WiiWare titles I have are 250-300, then we have the Nintendo Channel which is 126 by itself plus a 100+ block cache file. I had the same opinion you did, then I started buying some online content and realised that this wasn't going to work even if games like Lost Winds don't really need to be on the machine after completion.

Yes, the exercise was technically unnecessary, but I'm hoping we'll be seeing the ability to launch from SD and figured it would be prudent to be ready.



Objection said:

ALEXSAYS- So even if you copied 100 game saves you're up to 100 whopping blocks, which takes 20 seconds or so? Maybe if the Wii let you copy in bulk! NOPE, one at atime and a 1 block file still takes 5 seconds because of the start/end time and you can't just say "all save data go to SD" So, yes, you could spend an hour, if not more copying a large collection.



blackknight77 said:

@ Wiiloveit

Nice review on your website. I may consider getting this game due to the positive feedback. I'll check your website for more reviews



Big_Sexy said:

I've always been interested in the Same Game series, even though I can't think of any that actually made it stateside. Let's hope this one doesn't join them.

@AlexSays - Normally I find myself on the same side of your arguments, but this is one that I have to say that you're not entirely correct on.

While it's true that many save games are about 1 block in size, Nintendo seems to be the only ones making a conscious effort to keep them down. Even then, three of Nintendo's biggest titles have save files that cannot be backed up and take a rather exorbitant amount of space. If you own a DS (as most Wii owners seem to) then you may find the Nintendo Channel as a valuable resource, as the Download Station service is magnificent. If you invest in both disc-based and downloadable-media games then you'll find yourself running short on memory with the Wii rather quickly.

However, after much thought I've realized just why we hate the tiny storage the Wii has. There's at least two reasons.

1) The Wii really has a good library of great games. Sure it's not as large and varied as its competitors, but let's face it. The reason people buy Wii's is - contrary to popular belief - to play it. While Nintendo hasn't put up the "must haves" in it's download library quite yet, there's still a lot to be excited about. And while there aren't a lot of "must haves" on disc yet, there are a few that are hard to dismiss because of sheer popularity. And these few are adding to the problem.

2) We're spoiled. Looking at Nintendo's competition, we see a fantastic amount of space that we can't seem to fill. (yet) Even the PSP and 360 is set up to have removable storage so - if we manage to run out of room - we can swap the storage with more later.
The problem with this argument is obvious. The Wii isn't designed for this. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN. But it unfortunately wasn't. And so, we cry out for a storage solution because quite frankly, everyone else has already figured it out. Nintendo, as always, is just slow to the party. And if this is like their approach to online - by the time they really figure out this storage thing, the punch will have been long emptied and the only people left to enjoy it will be the ones cleaning it up.

The thing is, Nintendo's storage problem is hard to conceive as a problem. Because after all, Nintendo's Wii is designed as a budget console, for consumers with little money to still be able to afford the product. If you bought a Wii and was able to afford all these games, then it's noticeable because unfortunately you were never the target demographic.

Goodness. I just said the core gamer was never the target demographic for Nintendo's Wii. WHAT HAS I DONE



Objection said:

Um...I was just talking about save files, not 50-300 block VC and Wiiware files, which would naturally be much longer. And even then, 15min to copy save files? (i myself have about 50 savefiles)



Objection said:

"Um...I was just talking about save files, not 50-300 block VC and Wiiware files" Next to each other, those do seem a little contradictory. When I said that, I was saying in the context of "I'm talking about save files, not to mention the VC/WW files." I used the word "also," which implies that multiply things were said and the phrase "large collection" which refers to VC and WW data, not Save Data (who considers that a collection?).



Toddr said:

This website isn't for arguing between users. It's meant for discussion and reviews for wiiware games. If you want to continue your argument, take it somewhere else, cause we don't need it.



Objection said:

(Comment mostly deleted)
@Toddr-I sincerely appreciate the effort on keeping things on topic, but this was a discussion on Wiiware/VC space management, etc. and so it was relevant enough. AlexSays comes off as a little..."standoffish"...so don't feel too bad about it.



Toddr said:

I'm not trying to be in power. Sorry if it felt that way, but I know that most people don't want a huge agument going on.



Toddr said:

I know it was on topic, but it was just how you guys were coming at each other with it that made it unnessesary to the discussion.



guardian42 said:

I know it's cheap,small, and fun, but we've seen this game many different times in different styles online. Do we really need to fork over 500 Wii Points for it? I imagine one can find the same game on the Opera Browser and play it for free.



Terra said:

Another arguement involving Alexsays. Big surprise.

You probably could find the Same Game of SameGame online somewhere, like with Lonpos and Defend Your Castle but honestly, you could argue that same thing to people who bought those games (The latter would probably be the best example IMO). I'd personally play the version that's better, even if it means paying that a small fee. I do understand that not everyone would do that though.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Talk about a big blowout... I'm not surprised it's involving the cynical AlexSays, either...

Anyways, I predict this to come to NA this month if not, early March.



Toddr said:

@ AlexSays "So even if you take away 200 for game saves which is a stretch"
Not trying to stir anything up, but two games I have (We Ski: 81 blocks, and SSBB: 128 blocks) equal more than 200 blocks.

"It's amazing how I can have thirty-one games and several channels yet not experience the same "problem" some of you are."
That's weird, because I have all the nintendo channels released in North America, 3 VC games, and 3 wiiware games and I only have 170 points left.



AlexSays said:

That's weird, because I have all the nintendo channels released in North America, 3 VC games, and 3 wiiware games and I only have 170 points left.

Well that's your first problem, your Wii's memory uses blocks not points.
And I keep channels I'm not using on the SD card. Like there's no reason to keep the Internet Channel all the time because I have a computer and the Nintendo Channel only gets updated every Monday so there's no reason to keep that there all the time either.

Not trying to stir anything up, but two games I have (We Ski: 81 blocks, and SSBB: 128 blocks) equal more than 200 blocks.

Yeah but those are your two biggest games and the rest aren't nearly that size.
So then for you it's 300? lol

That's not a big deal considering the Wii's been out for more than 2 years and you haven't taken up one-eighth of the memory in game saves.
So it'd take you about 16 years worth of game saves to fill that thing up. lol



danny_h said:

this game is great
and does anyone know what prizes can u win on the mii contest channel



KnucklesSonic8 said:

@danny h: Special accessories and memorial photos. I've never actually won myself and I gave up on that channel AGES ago. lol.

Anyway, I still stand by my thoughts that this'll come out this month in March. I'm actually surprised it's not already out!



Objection said:

Its been a month since I've seen AlexSays post. As for the game, NA release please~!



KnucklesSonic8 said:

I was right after all! And not a moment too soon. lol.
I'll be downloading this as soon as it's up on the catalog. Good thing I still have some points!



Stuffgamer1 said:

I haven't seen AlexSays around lately either, come to think of it.
He's WAY too confrontational, though. You have to be IMPOSSIBLY well-thought-out with your posts, or he always finds something to fault. Could be worse, though. I've seen people on other sites who find problems with flawless posts!

Putting in my extremely late two cents on storage, copying to and from SD is actually faster than deleting and re-downloading at this point. I've been making a point to copy every game before I delete it from my Wii for a few months now.
It's serious WiiWare fans, especially those who tend to be playing a lot of games at once or have multiple users of the system all playing different games or have multiple go-to multiplayer games on the system who REALLY feel the storage crunch. I'm not doing TOO badly with it myself right now, but I respect the fact that others are, and hope for a quick solution for all of us. I still think the channel layout would need SERIOUS revision for it to work, but it may yet come.

Now to actually comment on this game... It looks like Break-Thru, but without the falling blocks. Is that about it? If so, I'm not interested. You NEED those extra blocks coming in to make the game fun, or more accurately, I do. Sounds like a total pain otherwise.



MickEiA said:

cheap price at 500 but i dont think ill get this hudson should be working on some more FPS



KnucklesSonic8 said:

Boy do I love this game. When I first heard it was announced, I was afraid I wouldn't like it but I'm glad I took the plunge. Definitely worth the 500 points as it's really hard to put down. I keep going back to it again and again.

@stuffgamer: So I trust the SD Card Update pleased you as much as it did for me.



CueZee said:

I'm not even going to TRY to get involved in AlexSays little vocabulary game. All I can say is anyone who thinks that the Wii had enough space before the much needed SD card update is either a die-hard fanboy or just doesn't bother with WiiWare or N64 games at ALL. I only have a very small handful of games and still had to spend 15 minutes shuffling them around between the console and card everytime I wanted to play something different (before the update, everything works out fine now). To be honest I couldn't even keep a single one of the free nintendo channels for this reason.




The SD card update was a gd-send and essential if wiiware was going to get anywhere near the success it largely deserves IMHO. Anyway, this game is quite shallow but brilliant for the price. We really enjoyed in our household.



EdEN said:

It's fun for small game sessions and a great way to train brain-wise.

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