Puzzle games are a perfect fit for the Xbox Live Arcade because they rarely get old. Astropop combines two of the oldest puzzle gaming mechanics — brick bashing and tile swapping — into a saccharine induced colorful haze before your eyes.
PopCap Games once again released one of their crazy-addictive puzzle games for lucky Xbox 360 owners. In Astropop, you control one of four unique pilot's space adventure (of course). Although the game has your standard "save the damsel in distress" story line moments, it is far from a dull game.
Your goal is to "pop" bricks by combining four or more of the same color. Using your ship as a platform, you grab bricks from the playfield, and send them flying back up to create the best combination you can. You even get an achievement for a 17x combo.
Unlike KLAX, where you can pile any number of colored bricks on your platform, Astropop keeps you sane by only allowing one color at a time. This does not, however, make the game any easier.
You are also limited in the number of bricks your ship can hold - six. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but it makes for a fair bit of strategy once you get past the introductory levels.
As opposed to the traditional model of clearing the playfield, you need to fill the Brick-o-meter (by popping bricks) to advance in level. This in and of itself has some tactical advantages. If you can rack up an explosive combo, you do not have to worry about that growing number of infected bricks barreling down upon you.
All this time, the rows of bricks are falling ever closer toward your ship. The pace really gets frantic in the later levels. This is mainly due to the nasty Poison Blocks, which will infect anything nearby if you do not take them out first.
The game has a healthy dose of power-up bricks to help you in your never-ending quest. Some of them include Nukes that will take out an entire row or column, Radial Bombs, and Color Bombs (all bricks of one color explode). If you get good at creating combos, an important part of the game, Super-charger Bricks will appear. When these are used, one color becomes "super charged" and acts as a massive radial bomb when popped, taking out any number of bricks in the vicinity.