Astropop - Xbox Live Arcade review

For once, a puzzle/action hybrid lives up to its potential

Pros

  • Frantic action
  • Addictive as hell
  • Multiple play modes

Cons

  • Magical Drop rip-off
  • Cutesy space kids
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

You may not know Astropop by name, but you might recognize its gameplay, since it looks and plays very much like the Neo-Geo game Magical Drop II. Instead of bricks falling loosely from the sky, you've got to pull them down from a jumbled wall, rearrange four or more bricks of the same color so they match, then throw them back into the wall and make them disappear. Fail, and the whole thing crushes you to death. Astropop adds a sci-fi setup, some unlockable characters and the novelty of Supa Weapons - high-powered attacks like laser blasts and nuclear bombs that destroy obstacles through brute force. As you progress, trick bricks made of granite and poison screw up your plans and make clearing each stage tougher still. It will drive you mad, in a good way.

Astropop's equal reliance on physical and mental agility is its coolest trick. The quicker you can spot and match colors, the more likely you are to create a combo; very fast players can string seven or eight connections together to earn huge points and push that much closer to the next level.

More Info

GenreFamily
DescriptionA combination of Tetris and Breakout, you have to rearrange falling blocks using a magnetic beam of energy.
PlatformXbox 360
US censor ratingEveryone
Release date22 March 2006 (US), 22 March 2006 (UK)
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