|System: DS (DSiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Odenis Studio||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Odenis Studio||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 12, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Pop Island was a budget-priced DSiWare title that was released last year to some pretty good reviews. The game featured a fun style and played like a mix between Mario Kart and capture the flag. It featured plenty of fun modes, characters, and a unique visual style. Recently, a mini-sequel was released for Pop Island. Pop Island: Paperfield features nearly identical gameplay to Pop Island, but with new tracks, vehicles, and some great multiplayer options, it is definitely a DSIWare title that can't be missed!
With only a 200 point price tag, I was immediately surprised by how much content was in Pop Island: Paperfield. The game's predecessor is still available for 500 points, but you get at least as much content in Paperfield, plus a few cool extras. As with the original, the gameplay involves taking a vehicle out for a spin and capturing flags that randomly appear on a colorful map. After you grab a flag, a member of the opposing team may try to steal it from you using a pre-loaded weapon, or a special weapon that you can equip after driving over a mystery box. The mystery weapons include heat-seeking missiles, lightning bolts, and speed bursts.
The game is played in two three-minute rounds, and the team with the most flags at the end is declared victorious. The premise is deceptively simple, as the game's creative use of different types of vehicles makes it easy to change tactics. Pop Island: Paperfield has three different vehicle types you can use to race, surf, or fly around the terrain. Each vehicle has its own strengths and weaknesses, and as you unlock new characters, you'll be able to try them out to create your own unique strategy. For instance, while surf-style vehicles are basically useless on land, you can use them to cut through each map's many waterways at twice the speed of any land vehicle.
However, there is more to the game than just racing around capturing flags with seven A.I. opponents. One of the coolest features in Pop Island: Paperfield is the game's multiplayer support. Though there is no online gameplay (it is only a DSiWare title, after all) the game features local download multiplayer for up to seven other players. The download play is especially noteworthy because the other parties do not have to own the game, which means that you can play with people who might not even have a DSi. The download function works on all versions of the Nintendo DS, so if you have some friends who have the original DS or DS Lite models, they can get in on the fun with no problem.
The only issue I had with this game was the amount of time it took to unlock all of the game's content. The game starts you off with one mode, one map, and one character to play with. While this might be standard operating procedure in a regular game, DSiWare titles should be quick games that you can play on the fly. Having to play for several hours just to unlock all of the different tracks did strike me as a little weird, and I could see it as being an annoyance for those expecting to jump right into this mini-sequel (especially if they enjoyed the first game). This can also be a pain if you purchase the game expressly for the multiplayer component, as you will only have one mode, one track, and one vehicle if you don't play through the single-player mode first.