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Astropop - Xbox Live Arcade review

AT A GLANCE
  • Frantic action
  • Addictive as hell
  • Multiple play modes
  • 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.

Astropop was also available on the original console's Xbox Live Arcade, and the game deserves this second shot at stardom on 360. The only thing lacking is a true multiplayer mode; for its next-gen debut, we expected furious head-to-head showdowns. But we can live without that for now, and we don't care if it's "just Magical Drop with some new stuff" - it's fantastic and it keeps us up at night. There's no better endorsement.

More Info

Release date: Mar 22 2006 - Xbox 360 (US)
Mar 22 2006 - Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Family
Published by: Popcap
Developed by: Popcap
ESRB Rating:
Everyone

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