Alpha testing, beta testing and beyond is becoming a norm for the games industry. More and more developers are allowing early adopters get a peak and contribute toward a final product. This was my first experience of playtesting an early version of a mobile game and it was great to not only get a preview of some seriously addictive gameplay but to provide some constructive feedback for the developer along the way.
Step Into The Very Colorful Void
Enter Gamgo Games’ Klickpop Puzzle Panic, an accessible yet challenging portal into rainbows and screen-mashing. Candy Crush players may feel in familiar territory except this is about scores and beating the clock rather than watching your move count. The game offers up 24 varying challenges for you to complete including score, combo and coin-based criterias to meet. The user interface and menu artwork pack some great eye candy when navigation is concerned. I found the best experience to be on an iPad however the iPhone version stands strong in keeping the quality and beauty on a smaller screen unified with its larger counterpart.
The placements of the options and menus feel fluid and natural. A few other options such as turning hints off and restore purchases hide away behind a settings cog at the bottom of the screen. The strange glittery soundtrack lays the foundations for the calm before the storm which makes a pleasant atmospheric touch and if that isn’t enough you get a free random booster every hour.
Can You Tap With All The Colours On The Grid?
Upon hitting “start” on the challenge section screen, you are presented with a buffet of powerups ranging from time extensions, multipliers and tile clearing explosions to assist in your quest for high score glory. The standard tier powerups are purchased using coins which are collected through play thus sectioning off the rare boosters which you can either attempt to win through gambling on the surprise gift screen or drop around a dollar for a one time use of your chosen premium powerup, the IAP’s as a whole in Klickpop are far less intrusive than other free games I have played in the past.
The main event has one minute on the clock for screen mashing with extra time and other small boosters appearing on the game board regularly, the combo bar above the board will gradually begin to fill up at a speedy pace as you clear tiles in large chunks adding more points to your score in the blink of an eye. Clearing the board is easy as selecting the colored tile you wish to remove by tapping the icons at the bottom of the screen, whether you can do that fast enough multiple times in the next minute is up to you however it adds some enjoyable arcade madness as you frantically try to cram a few more tiles in before the timer sounds off.
The Less Is More Approach
After you have beaten the challenges on offer there isn’t much else to do besides attempting to thrash your friends’ scores, the difficulty level hits a curve ball when it comes to chaining big combos in a certain amount of moves but something small and trivial as adding more challenges should be a doddle on top of the solid mechanics and charming aesthetics.
Taking this into account, I didn’t find the game to become boring after playing for well over an hour, there was just something about the one minute timer that made me feel like I wasn’t getting enough and fuelled my determination build up a huge coin stack and try my luck with the random gift raffle to obtain some seriously cool powerups. In conclusion I believe this is where the game obtains it’s addictive nature as there is a challenge for different types of players who want a straight up arcade fix or the slightly slower paced, chess orientated gameplay of racking up large combos to win big amounts of coins.
Klickpop has exceeded in wooing me with its ultra-colourful and crazy personality. The sound design and graphics create an exciting atmosphere laced with the urgency to hit some big numbers, it’s cunningly placed countdown clock sounds succeed in getting you to pick up the pace to grab those points and reap the handsome rewards, core puzzle gamers will love it and it’s particularly dormant in app purchases which are there if you are feeling lazy although it is very easy to earn lots of coins with a few games.