Imagine Tetris, but you’re placing the blocks via an animal attached to a bungee cord. That’s TopplePOP: Bungee Blockbusters from Spirit Animal Incorporated, a small team in Sydney, Australia. TopplePOP offers a unique take on the typical Tetris, or match-four gameplay and could either be a chill afternoon by yourself or a fast-paced and hectic competition between friends.

The main goal and principles that you know remain the same. Matching four blocks of the same colour together will cause them to blow-up. You win by saving all the animals trapped inside blocks within a level. This means clearing a bunch of blocks in your way and then figuring out how to set-up a four-block clear on top of the animal’s block. 

In the demo, I played the first couple of levels where it was easy enough at first, but soon a time limit started causing simple mistakes and the introduction of new blocks that have gum stuck to them completely threw me off my game. 

The bungee factor can seem hectic at first but you soon get used to steering your little animal character. You also learn there are mechanics baked into TopplePOP to not make this as random as it seems. You can still rotate blocks like you would in Tetris and if you want to make sure you don’t bump the position of a block on your way down to the bottom of the arena, you’re able to press and hold a button so the block won’t move. 

Look at this combo. Pro moves

Look at this combo. Pro moves

There are some positives that come from the bungee cord as well. In TopplePOP you can hold a button to shove blocks left or right. This opens up a whole new way to think about matching the blocks and also allows for a level error you wouldn’t have in something like Tetris.

You can also clear more blocks than your typical math-four game would allow. As you tap a block into the three others that cause them to blow-up you’ll have a second where you can, if you’re quick, move the block you’re holding to tap another block, or blocks, of the same colour, which will cause them to join the combo. It’s not something the game told me, but I quickly picked up on this strat to help clear sections in the least moves possible.

Coming through!

Coming through!

I was playing the demos single player mode but there are options for both competitive and online modes. Four-players working together on one screen. One-vs-one battles or even two-vs-two would be insane. If you’re unaware you can actually play all these features using Steams ‘Remote Play’ which makes up for the lack of online in the demo. 

Initially, I thought TopplePOP would simply be too random to be fun, but after playing for a little while you get the mechanics down and it becomes just as engaging as any other Tetris or match-four game. TopplePOP is still in its early stages, and a lot of its success will ride on presentation, sound and music to make it as addictive as similar games, but based on this demo I’m excited to see it grow and look forward to the full release.

If you’d like to try TopplePOP: Bungee Blockbusters out yourself there’s a demo available via Steam as part of PAX Online.