Pang, the bubble-popping action-puzzle game, is available in countless flavors at this point. Pirate Pop Plus for Nintendo Switch is easily the most swashbuckling option available.
If you’re unfamiliar with Pang and its many clones, the premise is simple. A massive deadly ball bounces in a confined space. A protagonist fires harpoons at it, making it break into smaller pieces. The player must break these deadly balls, all while avoiding them. It’s a simple idea, but an incredibly challenging and satisfying experience once you get the hang of it.
Pirate Pop Plus is a worthy homage, if only because it’s not bogged down with unnecessary “innovations.”
The story stars Pete Jr. who must stop the evil Bubble Pirate and his deadly balls of death. The endeavor starts off pretty simple, but your world soon gets turned upside down. Literally. The nasty pirate will turn the level on its side, forcing you to get used to a whole new angle, and the dangers that come with it. It takes some definite getting used to, even for seasoned Pang veterans.
If you’re new to the style, Pirate Pop Plus is actually a great place to start. Often times, Pang is a one-hit-KO situation, making the learning curve quite hard to grasp. Pete Jr., I’m happy to say, is a little more resilient.
Despite his gumption, Pete Jr. and his bubble-popping world is unapologetically retro. The game actually takes place in an on-screen portable, reminiscent of the Super Game Boy. To call the design old school is an understatement. The throwback goes farther than the last three decades. In order to find a game that looks like Pirate Pop, you’ll have to make a coffee date with a fellow known as Game and Watch.
And like Mario and Kirby, games like these stand apart due to the power-ups available. Pete can freeze time or even start blasting balls, with what I can only assume is a blunderbuss. These power-ups aren’t as important as coins, which run the game’s economy. After gathering a treasure chest worth of doubloons, you can unlock new LCD screens, portable border colors, and even new characters. Unlocking all these extras is a great reason to pick up and play again and again.
Review: Pirate Pop Plus (Nintendo Switch)
Pang fans will feel very at home with Pirate Pop which is a charming homage to the Buster Bros. of old. There aren’t many frills here, but in some cases, it’s what makes the game sing. As far as pick-up-and-play action-puzzlers on the Nintendo Switch eShop are concerned, Pirate Pop Plus is a total treasure.