Poinpy Review – Progressing to the Top


To simplify Poinpy, you could call him the opposite of Downwell. The comparison is relevant because both games come from creator Ojiro Fumoto. In Downwell, you make your way down a pit by shooting enemies and collecting upgrades as you fall. In Poinpy, you climb a pit and collect fruit to feed the giant Blue Beast which chases you upwards. In practice, however, Poinpy has a mechanic and style all its own that expertly gamifies an action that anyone who’s ever used a modern phone knows: swiping down.

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Poinpy is the titular protagonist, bouncing dinosaur-like creature that wouldn’t look out of place in a formation with Kirby and Yoshi. In the game, you run past a giant blue beast that always lingers at the bottom of the screen, demanding specific fruit recipes. To climb, you swipe down on the screen to launch Poinpy upwards, bouncing them off walls and jumping enemies while collecting specific fruits that appear randomly. The downward swiping action is the key to Poinpy’s fun as it feels great to throw them constantly to progress. The mechanic perfectly encapsulates the easy-to-learn, hard-to-master video game idiom. My first few runs were enjoyable as I awkwardly jumped up walls without being totally clear on my goal, but by the end of my playtime I felt like an acrobat deftly lining up my jumps to bounce off an enemy to grab the final banana. and slam down to drop a mountain of juice into the mouth of the blue beast below.

However, all the practice in the world does not overcome the occasional annoyance of making a mistake. Understanding how to earn extra jumps, earned by bouncing off enemies and pots, is what leads to success, and the on-screen icons don’t do the best job of quickly reminding you how many jumps you have left. On more than one occasion I thought I was in good shape to catch the last kiwi I needed, only to learn too late that I had no more jumps and crashed to the ground . At this point, you have to start the recipe over again, which is a huge disappointment, especially in the late game. That’s of course the challenge of the game – managing the jumps to reap the rewards you need – but sometimes it feels a little too much.

Poinpy has a mechanic and style all its own that expertly gamifies an action that anyone who’s ever used a modern phone knows: swiping down.

Along with collecting fruit, you also collect occasional seeds, which can be exchanged for equippable upgrades. Only a few of them help in any meaningful way, like an ability that gives you an extra jump (which I never unequip), but most of them aren’t as useful as I’d like and n were only good in specific situations, like one that resurrects you if you meet a specific criteria. For those complaints, however, I like having a handful of permanent upgrades to choose from rather than needing to earn the upgrades every run.

After improving your jumps sufficiently, you unlock a secondary mode offering a series of puzzles. Rather than climbing up and escaping the blue beast, you need to collect fruit in as few moves as possible. As an optional distraction from the main game with substantial starting rewards, I love that these puzzles exist, but I’m hesitant to recommend them. I had more fun playing the base game.

The Blue Beast, as they are called in the marketing, is a clever mechanic as it is always present on the screen, demanding juice. They don’t eat you or attack you for landing on them, but if you don’t get the fruit they demand, they fill the pit with a fiery blast in a show of dramatic power. There’s little to no story to tell, but the little world-building bits where the blue beast is evil until they bear fruit are fun. Additional animation details, like “enemies” who burst into tears if you steal their fruit, make you think you might be playing the bad guy. Just that little bit of character building adds a lot to an otherwise benign story.

I won’t spoil it here, but I was also pleasantly surprised to encounter something close to an end. It took all my practice and effort to build something exciting and made me feel accomplished. I’m disappointed, however, that there’s no real score tracking or opportunity to compete with friends, as this feels like the type of game perfectly suited for chasing high scores.

Poinpy is my favorite type of mobile game. Bouncing Poinpy is a simple, repeatable, and fun mechanic, and I’ve never had to think of a currency of any kind. It can be played with one hand and is both rewarding and challenging without requiring too much input from the player. With its sweet ending, it’s clear that this isn’t a game you’re meant to play forever. A conclusion does exist and is fun to reach, but if you want to bounce back while listening to a podcast in the future, you can always revisit this simple and joyful experience.

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