Let’s get the obvious out of the way: yes, Puzzlepops! does indeed involve swiping pieces of candy around the screen. Itâ€™s a different kind of candy puzzler though, in which you usually want to avoid crushing as much as possible. I don’t knowÂ about you, but Iâ€™m already on board just because itâ€™s a reprieve from the usual match-3 shenanigans.
The candy in Puzzlepops! moves along a track whenever you swipe it and will continue until it reaches the end or bumps into a different sugary treat. Getting these pieces of candy to line up with each levelsâ€™ dotted outlines is the goal — and it’s also where things get tricky. Oh sure, at first you just have to swipe a couple of times and everything goes right where you need it, but eventually youâ€™ll need to carefully move each piece around so that you can reach spots in the middle of a given track or other complicated maneuvers. Moving like-candy into like-candy also causes the two pieces to combine, creating an even larger piece of candy that might be too big for the goal if youâ€™re not careful. Or if could end up being just right, depending on the candy outline.
Things get even more complex as more elements are introduced. Jawbreakers, unlike regular candy, wonâ€™t stop when they run into non-matching pieces – they simply plow through everything until they reach the end of the track, smashing everything in their way that isnâ€™t another jawbreaker. On the other hand, chocolate can only be moved by double-tapping the screen or shaking your device, and it will only ever move along a single track (i.e no turning).
The list of complexities goes on, and each new mechanic helps to keep Puzzlepops! from feeling like itâ€™s passed its expiration date (Ha! Candy jokes!)
While Puzzlepops! does make for an enjoyable puzzler overall, Iâ€™m not too crazy about the presentation. The candy itself is fine – each piece is distinct and easy to identify, and the crunching sound they make when you smash them with a jawbreaker is oddly satisfying – but the simple gradient backgrounds make everything feel somewhat flat and lifeless. Iâ€™m not saying a super-busy background would help, because it wouldnâ€™t (then everything would just be confusing), but â€ścandy floating in a voidâ€ť isnâ€™t particularly interesting to look at.
A far less nitpicky but relevant issue I have is that screen swipes donâ€™t always register correctly. Sometimes more than one candy will move at a time. Sometimes a piece will shoot down the wrong track. With the extremely forgiving lack of turn limits, and the ability to undo up to five moves, this isnâ€™t a huge problem. In fact I quite like the fact that all you have to do to complete a level is complete it, rather than stress over earning three stars or whatever. The iffy swiping is still a fairly annoying quirk, though.
Puzzlepops! may not draw anyone in with its simple visual approach, but the gameplay isÂ interesting enough to deserve a look. The candy shuffling creates some cool conundrums, and sometimes itâ€™s fun to just crush everything (thank goodness for fast restarts).
If youâ€™re sick of matching three of a kind but still want some candy in your puzzle game, Puzzlepops! is well worth checking out.