You turn to it whenever a new season Stranger Things becomes available to binge, but we’re confident enough to predict that Netflix isn’t currently your go-to for gaming.
The streaming giant has been dipping its toes in games for a while, but is yet to really splash. That could (or at least should) change with the arrival of the wonderfully named Poinpy. From Ojiro Fumoto, whose previous game, Downwell, instantly became mobile classic, Poinpy is a colourful and moreish delight that Netflix subscribers should download to their phones and/or tablets at once.
What’s it all about?
Poinpy is a bit like Downwell, while also being its total opposite. The latter was a brutal roguelike in which a person wearing a pair of gun boots descended a well and tried really hard not to die. Its exclusively red, black and white colour scheme very much worked with all the death and violence on screen, while the procedurally generated levels meant you never got to feel total mastery of its dark world.
Poinpy is also a very vertically-minded game, but here you’re going up, not down, and Fumoto’s latest is a big bundle of joy from start to finish. It works like this: you play as a little green character who at the start of each run bounces on the head of a giant blue monster that begins to follow you as you climb the screen. To keep the beast content you have to feed it different combinations of fruit that you collect and then splat on the ground to make juice, and while Poinpy is definitely a good vibes game, failure to feed your enormous pursuer its desired recipe within the time limit will agitate it, and eventually it will roar so angrily that the entire screen fills with cartoon fire, burning you to a crisp.
To climb through levels you have to leap between walls and platforms, but for the juice to be accepted you must collect the required fruit without touching the ground, and as you only have a finite amount of consecutive jumps at your disposal each time you fire yourself into the air, it doesn’t take much to mess the whole thing up.
Is it any good?
Like the best mobile games, Poinpy is very easy to understand and feels like it was designed for a touch screen interface. To jump, you drag your finger on the display and move it from side to side to adjust the angle. To slam, you simply tap the screen at any time, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.
The impatient monster below you is an always looming threat, but you do have a number of unlockable power-ups at your disposal that make keeping it happy a bit easier. One allows permanent slow-motion to kick in while aiming a jump, allowing you to be more precise with your combos, while another sucks in nearby fruits when you slam. Smaller enemies litter the screen too, but if you’re able to jump on their heads you get an extra jump.
Generally (unless we’re just very bad at the game) each run will only last a minute or two as the challenge ramps up pretty quickly, but each run earns you currency to be put towards new buffs, and you’ll level up as you play, with new areas unlocking when you hit certain levels. Completing the game unlocks an endless mode, and there’s a secret puzzle mode to uncover too. Not bad for a game that costs nothing on top of your Netflix sub.
Poinpy’s cheerful (if a little repetitive) music and colourful visuals mean you’ll rarely get frustrated, but there’s more than enough depth to the gameplay to keep score-chasers hooked for weeks. This is what we want from our mobile games.