If the success of Neko Atsume proves anything, it's that cats are popular and will not be losing their appeal any time soon. That said, The Battle Cats POP! is not your regular kitty game, incorporating tower defence strategy and delivering something truly unique.
Battle Cats POP! lacks a storyline and throws you into the craziness right off the bat; the object of the game is to destroy your enemy's base by taking down enemies. It sounds simple enough, but it actually requires quite a bit of strategy as you need to make sure you have the enough feline diversity in your army to succeed. Different cats have different roles and, as time goes on, you acquire more and more allowing for further customisation of your team.
Battle Cats POP! works with a side scrolling 2D aesthetic. Rather than control your team directly you choose which character you would like to send out using the touchscreen. Once your chosen cat has entered the battlefield they will head left toward the enemy base to attack; if they encounter an enemy on the way they will fight until one wins. It all boils down to destroying the enemy base before they get to yours, and with a lack of control over the fights it is important that you choose the correct team of cats to complete the task. You have high damage cats, defensive cats, ranged cats, and you need to use strategy and vary your team in order to defeat the enemy units.
Cat food cans are the currency here and you can use them to unlock rare cats, level up your existing cats or spend them in the item shop. There is also the option to offer them to the Cat God in exchange for assistance in battle.
Battle Cats POP! started as a mobile game and some evidence remains of previous micro-transactions. For example, there is an energy meter which requires cat food currency to replenish or to just wait it out for it to regenerate. It's a bit of an odd system for a game which requires no micro-transactions, as sometimes you will only be able to play three or four missions at a time before your energy depletes and you have to wait it out again. It's a feature which should have been removed entirely for the 3DS version.
Other features include the unlockable Challenge mode; this sees you defeating an influx of enemies while they steadily get more difficult. There is also VS mode, which was not available on the mobile version - this is local play only but is a welcome extra for playing agains friends.
Despite its beginnings on mobile, Battle Cats still has a lot of content which make it worth the price tag. The modes mentioned before are combined with three main chapters with 48 levels each in story mode. There is also the element of collecting as many rare cats as you can, and going back to complete each level perfectly which will unlock you some special boosts.
Battle Cats POP! is an odd game, but there's no denying its fun factor. If you dream of leading an adorably violent cat army (who doesn't?), and enjoy strategy games this is definitely worth your time. Although the unnecessary energy bar is a bit of an annoyance, there is more than enough good content here to outweigh the bad.