Pop Plus: Solo (DSiWare)

Game Review

Pop Plus: Solo Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Adam

Who would have thought that popping bubbles could be so much fun?

For the uninitiated, Pop Plus: Solo is an enhanced remake of the original game, Pop, released on the WiiWare service last year. The game garnered a reasonable amount of popularity and was widely praised for its simple yet addictive and eloquently executed gameplay. Over a year later the game has been rereleased on DSiWare with new additions and of course touch screen control.

Fans of the original will know that the game has a pretty simple goal – pop all of the bubbles on screen in order to increase the time limit and progress to the next “wave” of bubbles. It sounds quite simple however there are various ways in which the player can increase their score and up their time limit. By popping bubbles of the same colour without missing any the player gains more time and multipliers to increase their score. There are also various “special bubbles“: popping bubbles with a radioactive symbol pops any bubbles of the same colour in its vicinity; popping bubbles with the target symbol allows you to pop more bubbles at once and finally popping bubbles with the swirl symbol slows the flow of time and gives the player a chance to make more accurate hits. That’s not all however as there are bubbles with negative effects – the skull symbol bubble deducts time from the player’s time limit and indeed missing a bubble has the same effect, as well as breaking chains.

The DSiWare version of the game packs by far the most content with eight different modes of play including training, normal, advanced, chill, timed, bonus, adventure and challenge modes. Training introduces the player to the game and explains the basic premise of the game. Normal is a case of simple progression through different waves of bubbles, sixteen waves in all. Advanced mode challenges the player to achieve a high score in a set amount of time; this mode relies on the player’s strategic use of chains and special bubbles. Chill gets rid of the game timer and high scores and allows the player to well, chill. Timed mode is pretty self-explanatory and gives the player a limited amount of time to achieve target scores. Bonus mode features four different mini-games; defend, detonate, machinegun and focus. These games focus on different elements of strategic gameplay, for instance defend challenges the player to stop any bubbles moving from the bottom screen to the top screen in a set amount of time.

Adventure mode is by far the biggest addition to the DSiWare version of the game and adds four boss battles to the game at regular intervals. These battles are pretty tricky and require a steady hand so as not to incur any misses and deplete the game timer! Adventure mode also adds mines, jets and goldfish to the game. Tapping adds special effects such as increasing the player’s score and popping multiple bubbles in the item’s vicinity. Challenge mode is also an interesting addition to the game as the player can construct their own challenges with different sets of rules by setting things such as the time limit and target score.

In order to progress through the game and unlock all it has to offer the player has to collect badges of which the DSiWare version has over eighty. Badges are awarded for all sorts of different things such as beating a wave in a certain mode and creating a custom challenge. Many of the badges are pretty easy to get and really only require that the player play the game to it’s fullest, some however are really quite challenging! The game has high-score tables which record all of the player’s scores in the different modes of gameplay and as much of the game is concerned with achieving high-scores these are a welcome feature.

The presentation in Pop Plus Solo really is top notch, everything from the menus to the different waves are animated beautifully and the effects are of really high quality, there are no cut corners here. The music and sound effects by Beat Therapy are also of really high quality and the game contains some of the best game music in recent years, everything fits together perfectly.

It’s somewhat unfortunate that the game doesn’t feature the multiplayer gameplay of its WiiWare counterpart, as this would really add to an already fantastic game. Given the low cost it is hard to begrudge this however, it’s jam packed with content and different things to do and furthermore it’s wrapped very nicely in a professional, polished, truly lovely package.


It goes without saying that Pop Plus: Solo is a highly recommended purchase, there are very few other games on the DSiWare service that come close to matching the extremely high quality of this title. There are heaps of game modes to try your hand at and you’ll find yourself coming back time and time again to better your previous high-scores. DSi owners should feel privileged that they have received what is arguably the best version of Nnooo’s addictive bubble popper to date. For the reasonable asking price of 500 Nintendo points you can’t go wrong here.

From the web

Game Trailer

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User Comments (82)



Wiiperson11 said:

I want this so bad!
I have the points but now i'm on a vacation and dont have wireless!
BTW today's my b-day!



Doogle said:

We've been a bit spoilt this week with both Pop Plus and DK Vs Mario 3 coming out at the same time. Both are great but I have found myself playing this the most. It's just such a great chillout game.

Stick on some earphones and you'll appreciate the power of Beat Therapy. Nice review Adam, you took the words out of my mouth.



Xkhaoz said:

Great review. Maybe I'll get this if (a I get some Pepsi points or (b wait until Christmas.



lockd said:

oh my god... this is the best game ever!!!!! MUST BUY NOW!!!!!!!

ps. happy b-day wiiperson!



IAmNotWill said:

Ggooo Nnooo! Great review. Great thing I have points ready for monday.

Happy B-day Wiiperson!



Jazzem said:

Liked the WiiWare version flaws aside, but I was waiting on a review on this one before plopping down the cash. Guess I didn't need to wait after all!



Corbs said:

@ Wiiloveit - Is that skin on the site? I have yet to see it. I'm using a Macbook with Safari browser. It doesn't show up on my computer.



Gavin_Rozee said:

@Wiiloveit lol pwnage.

It's a cool game. The controls can be a fraction unresponsive at times, but it's definitely a more refined, and better value game than the WiiWare version.



Corbs said:

Ah, a site takeover. I was wondering what was wrong. LOL. Can't wait to try it out for myself. Oh and my check had better be in the mail.



worrybomb said:

I'm definitely purchasing this game on Monday. I was a little afraid Pop Plus: Solo would be lacking in substance due to the no multiplayer options but it looks like it's a really fleshed out game and for 500 Nintendo Points, it's a pretty good value. Keep up the great work, Nnooo! =)



Dazza said:

@Wiiloveit - Nice timing on the screengrab, you caught the rotating featured review too... Nintendo Life has never looked so green and bubbly

Great work Nic, it's another winner!



Stuffgamer1 said:

I really never saw the point of a game about popping bubbles, hence I completely ignored the WiiWare version. I only read this review because people have been looking forward to this game quite loudly lately, and I just HAD to know why it got a 9/10. I really don't know what to make of it from the review, to be honest. It sounds like the kind of thing I'd need to try a demo of before buying. Since that's impossible with Nintendo, I guess I'll be skipping this one.




This game looks awesome
it too kall i had to save my 600 points for it but it will be worth it
i can't wait for monday but i can because school starts wednesday



will_dsi said:

Putting my previous comment aside (on the game information page, not the review).
I might delete a game for this.
I Loved the wii one.
But first i will need more points...



Kenji510 said:

Great review and im getting this definitely when it hits monday morning to the DSi Shop and download and play it!!



Gavin_Rozee said:

Oh yeah, the homepage looks cool with all the green bubblyness, but here's a suggestion for you/Nnooo/the marketing people; It'd have looked a lot better if the bubbles were floating from the bottom of the screen towards the top. Like, actually moving! OMG!

I don't know if this site would want flash based advertisements and stuff though.



Philip_J_Reed said:

And all the while, poor Chicken Brutus wonders when he'll get to a review a 9/10 game.

Great review, though! I was going to pick this up anyway, but you've made me want it more than I did before. Awesome job!



Corbs said:

I did want to say congratulations to Nic at Nnooo. Nice to see the game is being so well-received and I can't wait to get my hands on this one on Monday.



Nnooo said:

Thanks for the AWESOME review and a big thanks to all the folk who have bought it so far. Keep the sales up and lets see if we can make the DSiWare launch bigger than the WiiWare one!



FroguinZX said:

Rocking review, can't wait to get my grubby little hands on it. And if sales boom, will we get a Pop+ Versus?

I made a little Pop Flipnote too:

Get the Flash Player to see this player.


Gavin_Rozee said:


Why did you not include online leaderboards in the DSiWare version?

Also, I HATE the way that you have to input your name when you achieve a high score. It takes forever. Why no on-screen keyboard?

You've made a great little game though. Every game has faults, so I forgive you.



Gavin_Rozee said:

Also, if anybody wants this, but doesn't have a DSi, don't forget that there is an iPhone/iPod Touch version. Don't know if it's as good though. I THINK it's a port of the WiiWare version. I may be wrong though.



Anfeli said:

I cant beleve that the EmulationZone gave pop+solo a 6/10 !!!
this is what he said on his youtube video:

"DSiWare Pop+ Solo Review! Thats fast! Just downloaded it today! This seems rather disappointing, but i'm afraid i'll have to give it a 6/10! This game makes popping bubbles look fun but some people not buy it because then you look lame if your popping bubbles on your DSi! But this is fun if your really bored (like always) and since its now portable instead of on your Wii (Pop: 500 points) you can now play it everywhere! (I don't think you should go in public with that, they will think you have "no life") I play in the night, this game is relaxing and will be fun. If your attempting to sleep, but you don't want to, i suggest playing Pop+ Solo! Conclusion: This might be fun, i don't see the point that many people are waiting for this game. Theres nothing special about it. Popping Bubbles is fun! 6/10"

what do you guys think?



ueI said:

Someone at Nintendo power did not exactly like the original Pop either. They said "grumble grumble" to describe it because it's just a game about popping bubbles.



Corbs said:

I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I was a bit confused on the "they will think you have no life" comment for those who play this game out in public.



tovare said:

Although they've taken the bubble-experience really far, after mastering the basic bubble-popping strategies the game felt a bit random and left me feeling like I didn't have any way to fundamentaly improve my gameplay. It is well worth a download but I think the score 9/10 seems a bit high.



minial100 said:

I was blown away! Hopefully I can get this tomorrow... I had no idea someone from Nnooo was on the site! Good to kNnooo... That was a bad joke.



Grumble said:

Wow so you guys are pretty confident this is coming on the 24th (tomorrow) right?? I hope so! I can't wait for this!



StarDust4Ever said:

Hmmm, only about 8-and-a-half more hours to go! It's 2:30am here in Louisiana (downloads usually release at 9:00am PT, which is 11:00am CT). I have a very fond memory of making 3,000,000pts the first time I ever played the Wiiware version, which placed me at number 17 on the worldwide charts (the Wii shop launched hours early, and I downloaded it the instant it appeared )



ReZon said:

Haven't had a chance to play it yet, but I've definitely downloaded it - been waiting for it for awhile!




Wow this is truly good! I never tried the Wiiware version, but I tried the free lite version on my Itouch. The overall gameplay in the DSi version is so much better its not even funny!



KDR_11k said:

Hm, not really sure what to say, I tried a session of adventure with the goal to just get far and unlock the bosses and see some sights (so I didn't try to make chains, just pop as much as possible to increase the timer) but got too bored to continue around wave 9. While there are tons of modes they don't feel very different since you're going through the same waves anyway. I have no idea why people hype it like it's the next Zelda.



warioswoods said:


I agree completely; it's alright, but pretty dull overall, and the various modes really don't differ very much, leading to a tremendously repetitive experience.




Some of the greatest matching tile or shape slotting puzzle games of all time were accused by some of being boring and repetitive as well.



gabikun said:

I was reluctant to download this game, but it has proved me that it's real fun. It deserves that 9.



Percentful said:

I can see why some people would think its dull, but it's all a matter of opinion. Some people like games like this and some don't. I myself am getting it as soon as my gamestop has points cards in stock



dsijared said:

How much money were you paid to give this game a 9/10. Sure it's loaded with content but all that content revolves around popping bubbles come on you can do better than this Nnooo.

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