A group of do gooders, set on making the video game galaxy pure of evil, entrap all the villains of video games in picture patterns and it's up to the Boppin brothers to save them by matching all the pictures together, and destroying the blocks.
Boppin, developed by German company Accursed Toys, is a puzzle game with a difference. A teddy bear has stolen all of the monsters from the arcade games of every universe because he considers them to be evil. You play an arcade character yourself, and you must not only defeat said teddy bear, but also his wife and his child (who has an incurable urge to maim and\or kill anyone who gets in his way) while freeing the monsters.
This is done by creating patterns of blocks by throwing matching blocks at them. Theoretically, you don't actually have to free any monsters, but you do have to clear all of the blocks on the level to continue, and often there is a trick to doing so, such as some of the blocks being a part of the environment, or set up as a trap. You can often spend ten minutes on a level before realising this, and the same trick is almost never used twice, making many of the levels quite difficult, but also keeping the game, which is 160 levels long, from getting old, but not entirely successfully. Throwing blocks can get tiring after 20 levels or so. The game also features a level editor that is relatively easy to use, but the sheer number of buttons and modes can make it seem a little daunting at first.
The graphics are equivalent to your average side-scrolling puzzle game, and the art style is very cartoony, which makes it quite a surprise when you lose and your character pulls out a gun and shoots himself. This can be censored, of course, but it ruins the unusual and occasionally disturbing atmosphere of the game (set up, I might add, by the Accursed Toys logo, which is a stabbed and bleeding teddy bear). There are a huge number of different art styles between levels, from a weird natural\technological fusion, to temple-ish levels, to levels that are scribbled on refill paper in blue ink, and this gives the game quite a disjointed feeling. The sound is of a reasonable quality, although a little sparse, and the music is cheerful and suits the art style of the game. Overall, Boppin is a good game. Good, but nothing other than the art and story of the game really puts it above any other puzzle games, and many other puzzle games are both more challenging and more engaging. It can often be frustratingly hard and frustratingly easy, but also deceptively frustrating, and the developers have gone a long way to give the player a smart way to solve many of the puzzles. Therefore, if you like straightforward games that would require very little thought, I would rate this game a 2, whereas if you enjoy games that do want you to think, observe the environment and its behaviour and take a little more time than usual to solve a problem, I would rate it a 4. Therefore, I shall award this game an average mark of 3.
One of Apogee's most underrated games, Boppin is a fun puzzler that grows on you as you play, even though the learning curve is somewhat steep. Games Domain's review summarizes the pros and cons quite nicely:
"Boppin is a puzzle game that is a bit hard to describe. The object is to pick up and then 'bop' (or throw in a diagonal) objects created at a generator, in order to hit similar ones. You lose a life if you miss your shot (i.e., when you throw out of the screen or hit a different object). When you bop right, then the block you hit and all the ones adjacent to it disappear. The more objects disappear, the higher the score. But more importantly, if by bopping you succeed in making a pattern of objects disappear (i.e., a square, a cross...) then you score big and free a 'monster' (see story line, below). The level is over when you've bopped everything.
Sounds a little abstract? Well it is. The flowers, the blue and green diamonds are the 'objects' you need to bop. Yeet (the hero) is standing on an elevator, holding a green diamond and ready to bop. The little dolmen with the runes on top is the generator. Another object will pop out there once you throw the one you have. Other gadgets, besides elevators, include bonus items you can pick up here and there, mystery spots, which give you more bonus points, and repulsors, which deflect objects you throw at them. A very cute feature of the game is that the whole scenery changes at every level. The objects you're throwing, the background, the generator and elevators are different every time, giving you a wide variety of settings (for example: a sushi table, a warehouse, a temple...). This would not be all that amazing if the graphics weren't also of good quality. I must also say that the puzzles are in general imaginative and some require serious enough thinking, without being impossible to solve. Of course, if you try to get a perfect score on every level (by making all the patterns possible) then things get more challenging.
Another nice feature is the two-player mode. Ever played a puzzle game with a friend, when you friend controls the keyboard and all you do is yell at him or her to 'move left' or 'jump' or whatever. Well not in Boppin! Here, two can play at the same time on the same puzzle and try their own ideas. This requires a joystick, though. The game also lets you save at any time, and you get three 'continues'. You can also restart a whole level if you're not satisfied. By saving/loading/restarting you can get perfect scores without losing lives. Another effect of the game is that it makes you practice aiming at a 45 degrees angle."
I had a lot of fun with Boppin, although I found it very confusing at first. If you take the time to learn how to play it, though, you'll be amazed at how devious some of the puzzles are, and how addictive the game can get ;) A definite must try for every puzzle fan.
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