Grab The Games: Poöf vs The Cursed Kitty
My first computer ever (Amstrad) had a screen able to display two colours but it also had games. Amongst those games were platformers. Now, Poof is a platformer too and ties in with the tradition of platformers very nicely. All the basics are there, platforms, monsters (who you can damage by jumping on them) jewels you collect. But it adds interesting elements to this tried formula, without taking away of the fun and keeping the merciless difficulty that once was associated with the genre. The first interesting element is the cursed kitty, while the title suggests you are going to fight it, you are basically protecting it (sure it is tied up and the monsters are freeing it, but still protecting is what you do). You lose the game if you run out of lives but also if one of the monsters reaches the kitty (whatever story is there behind the tied kitty is not really explored). This means you need to pay attention to what is happening on the screen and not just the portion where you are and makes the gameplay quite tactical. Except for jumping on the monsters you collect power-ups that can allow you to e.g. throw knives at them, freeze them, put up towers that will shoot at them and... poop. Poop basically slows them down, so in its working it's nothing new, but the presentation adds novelty. And generally the game has oodles of charms, the drawings are... well, cute, but not in an overly childish way and the idea of pooping as a weapon is both unique and very natural when you think of dogs. :)
Nothing better than a strategically placed poop.
The gameplay itself gets frantic sometimes, you have a quiet moment at the start but then waves and waves of monsters start coming. Everything you use comes in the form of power-ups you collect and you have to use them in reverse order of collection, so you can't just keep something for later and access it in a second (although every power-up can be converted to poop, that tells a truth about life, doesn't it). While you need to keep the monsters away from the cursed kitty you also have challenges to complete, stage may e.g. require you to kill a number of monsters using a given method, last some amount of time, perform some combos etc. And here we come to the main problem with Poof longevity.
Freezing your enemies is always fun
The game is really fun, but it has only one map. What you see on the screen is all there is. You get different combinations of enemies, different challenges to perform, you can buy special abilities and from time to time backgrounds and hats (both of Poof and the kitty) change. But none of these changes are that deep and all in all you are basically playing the same level over again. At the start you go up to collect the power-ups, which are always in the same places, then move down to combat enemies who always come from the same spots... This is one respect where I feel the game falls short. Also what could help would be the ability to choose and customize the stage to play instead of going through the challenge mode. I really had fun playing Poof and in this respect I can definitely recommend this game. However, I can't see Poof as a game that one comes back to over a longer period of time, simply one level doesn't provide enough variety for that.