'Push & Pop' AweApps Review: Funky Puzzle Game for a Short Pick-Me-Up

Tetris-style gameplay on a grid.

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'Push & Pop' AweApps Review: Funky Puzzle Game for a Short Pick-Me-Up

Make way for a game that combines Tetris and 2048. Add minimalist visuals and a catchy soundtrack, and you have a funky little game. 


Push & Pop promises a simple and fun game that is short enough to be played when you only have a few moments. Waiting for a train, no problem - whip your phone out and hit the game. Stressed out but need to get back to work soon? Push & Pop will be the ideal pick-me-up that gives you a short break while getting you pumped up for work (just be careful you do not end up spending too much time on it).


The premise of the game is simple - you are a cute block on a 5x5 grid, with blocks all around you. Swiping your finger in different directions moves your character in that direction. As it moves, it pushes all blocks in front of it in that direction. In the meantime, every turn spawns more blocks for you to push around, and to eventually trap you. 


Once you've formed a line of five blocks, you earn points and the blocks disappear, thus giving your character more space. Collecting blue mini-blocks increases your score and helps you in your unending quest of beating your personal high score. The game ends when your character is trapped. 


This leads to a frenzy of head bobbing as you slide your character along the grid, getting lines of five blocks.



While the gameplay appears to be a simple puzzle game with a hint of an arcade style, what really makes this game shine is its visuals and soundtrack.


The graphics are minimalist but are well designed and pleasing. The overall visual theme is an appealing blocky-style, with colours differentiating the blocks and faces of the blocks. Simple luminant animations that appear when you've successfully formed a line add a dimension of arcade play to the game. It turns it from a relaxing aesthetically pleasing style to a more energetic style of gameplay. However, there are times when it becomes difficult to view the blocks due to the contrast between the colour of the blocks and the darker background. As the game develops, it might be a good idea to give the players a choice between various visual themes. 


Perhaps more importantly, the catchy and beat-pumping soundtrack adds a lot more to the experience of the game. The music is designed to start off slower and more relaxing before growing in intensity and beat driven as you progress in the game and rack up your score. You can't help but bob your head as you play the game, in time to the music. The beat-heavy music gives the game that edge that turns it into a funky game. With the soundtrack, the game blends into a rhythm game with a puzzle element to it. There is a tendency to slide your finger in time with the beat, although this is not a necessity. This is a testament to the soundtrack - it turns a simple puzzle game into a funky one.


Together with the incredible soundtrack, there is also an arcade-style voice narrating your game. While this undoubtably adds to the arcade feel of the game, some players may prefer not to have this voice. However, in these early stages of the game, the feature of turning off this sound effect is not available yet. 


This new game has been successful, with a 4.5 rating on the App Store and 4.9 on Google Play (as of 14th September 2017). However, given that it is new, it is understandable that it leaves some features to be desired. It would be great if players had a choice of grid sizes, so that gameplay can be varied, each one giving a different puzzle experience to the player. Additionally, given that the soundtrack plays such a vital role in the game, giving players a choice of different soundtracks may only serve to better the game. 





Pros Cons

Simple, short and enjoyable puzzle game

Lack of features/game modes (such as grid sizes, possible visual themes, soundtrack, etc.)
Pleasing visuals and animation Difficult to view blocks at times
Great soundtrack that really contributes to an enjoyable experience Narrative voice may be annoying to some players


Gameplay - 6/10

Visuals - 7.5/10

Sound Design - 8/10

Features/Modes - 5/10


Overall - 7/10


Cover image via Google Play


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