Once you Pop, you won't want to stop. Just like a cold glass of bubbly, this puzzler is efferevescent and goes down easily. It's so good that you'll over-indulge.
Pop has a clean exterior that belies greater depth. The objective lies in popping bubbles as they float across the screen. It's straightforward enough so that anyone can immediately play. Mastering it, however, requires exploring a range of advanced techniques.
Bubbles come in waves. Only by keeping time on the clock can you proceed to the next wave. Seconds are added whenever you pop a flurry of bubbles, specifically in a chain.
Popping bubbles of the same colour triggers a chain; as such, accumulating extra time is a matter of maximising your chains. Instead of individually popping bubbles, you're able to create shockwaves that hit multiple bubbles. Touching a bubble and scribbling the screen triggers a shockwave that blasts any bubbles in its path.
Items, both helpful and hindering, throw a wrench into things. Score multipliers randomly appear inside bubbles, as do pick-ups that slow down time. You're more likely to run across skulls and hazard bubbles that shave seconds off your time, though. The need to avoid these ensures Pop doesn't degrade into a haphazard tap fest.
On the contrary, Pop demands thoughtful play. Tapping the screen like mad is allowed, but advancing to the game's later stages and unlocking everything requires skill. Chance does play a role, however, ensuring that each game is different from the last without creating untenable situations.
That said, Pop does err on the side of being slightly too difficult. You'll need to hone your skills if you plan on passing beyond the first few waves.
There are 16 waves to pass in Normal mode, which upon completing you can tackle again in Advanced mode. Unfortunately, Pop forces you to start from wave one with each new game.
It doesn't take too long to proceed through the waves, but the ability to start on a higher wave once you've unlocked it once would be welcome. Other modes - Timed, Chill, and bonus round mini-games - provide alternatives, although Normal and Advanced modes are the main attraction.
Additionally, across all modes you can acquire badges (read: achievements) that add incentives to play.
While sticky in a few minor spots, the glass is overflowing with Pop. Its delicate balance between accessibility and sophistication yields a mature design ideal for portable play. As with the bubbly, you don't have to be a connoisseur to enjoy this well-made game.