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Liqua Pop

For: iPhone

Colourful bubble fun you can’t get with Fairy liquid

Product: Liqua Pop | Publisher: EA Mobile | Developer: iChromo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.9
Liqua Pop iPhone, thumbnail 1
Revolving entirely around the concept of growing and popping droplets, Liqua Pop is a novel take on the wonders of the natural world.

But the inherent joy of interacting with liquid bubbles belies an erratic difficulty curve that undermines the whole experience. As nice as it is to look at, Liqua Pop just doesn't possess the polished pace of other casual puzzle games.

Something’s come along and burst our bubble

Upon a canopy of broad leaves, the game has you merging coloured water droplets. Naturally, this earns you points. It also makes space for new droplets and moves a small tree frog closer to the goal at the top of the screen.

Matching four or more droplets causes a short timer to count down before the mass bursts. You can accumulate more points by double-tapping droplets to delay their bursting, forcing them to grow, and then shaking your device to pop several at once.

It's straightforward at first, but the introduction of exotic bugs shifts Liqua Pop from simple colour-matching to a test of memory, speed, and dexterity.

There are seven types of bugs in total with a range of effects from causing surrounding droplets to change colour to temporarily making droplets monochrome.

All of these effects take place once droplets pop. Delaying them becomes essential to containing any damaging effects. These critters instill longevity, yet it’s difficult to feel at ease with Liqua Pop.

Bug out

Despite its zen vibe, the game veers wildly from the tranquil to the chaotic. For instance, an advanced level throws only two colours of droplet and bomb-bugs at you, which is no problem if you're quick. When multiple bug effects have been triggered, however, survival quickly becomes a remote ambition.

A sharp tone sounds and the edges of the screen flash to indicate you’re close to failing, but since droplets are amorphous, you can never judge how many of them you can risk before failure on any given stage. The variables that disrupt its calm are also what gives Liqua Pop its depth and challenge, but they’re applied too erratically as the experience wears on.

It's disappointing because the game is so vivid and its concept appealing. The squidgy droplets react convincingly to your touch, while jingling spurts of water, glacial piano chords, and the ambient sounds of the rainforest bring the whole thing to life.

Nevertheless, the erratic difficulty runs contrary to its tranquil presentation and creates a game that lacks the polished pace of its counterparts.
Liqua Pop
Reviewer photo
Aaron Lee | 4 April 2011
Absorbing to look at and play, Liqua Pop bursts what fun there is by turning the pressure too high
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