To simplify Poinpy, you could call it the opposite of Downwell. The comparison is relevant as both games come from creator Ojiro Fumoto. In Downwell, you descend down a well shooting enemies and collecting upgrades as you fall. In Poinpy, you make your way down to a well and collect fruit to feed the giant Blue Beast that chases you up. In practice, however, Poinpy has a mechanic and style of its own that expertly gamifies an action that anyone who has used a modern phone is familiar with: swipe down.
Poinpy is the bouncing dinosaur-like protagonist creature that wouldn’t look out of place in a lineup with Kirby and Yoshi. In the game, you are outrunning a giant Blue Beast that always stays at the bottom of the screen, demanding specific fruit recipes. To climb, you drag down on the screen to launch Poinpy up, bouncing them off walls and jumping on enemies while collecting specific fruits that appear randomly. The swipe-down action is the key to Poinpy’s fun, as he feels great constantly throwing them into progress. The mechanics perfectly encapsulate the language of video games, easy to learn, hard to master. My first few runs were enjoyable, as I clumsily slid into walls not quite sure of my goal, but by the end of my playtime I felt like an acrobat cleverly lining up my jumps to bounce off an enemy to pick up the last banana and knock down. to deposit a mountain of juice into the mouth of the blue beast below.
However, all the practice in the world doesn’t outweigh the occasional annoyance of making a mistake. Understanding how to get extra jumps, gained by bouncing off enemies and bounces, 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 grab the last kiwi I needed, only to realize too late that I ran out of jumps and crashed to the ground. At that point, you have to reset the recipe, which is a huge bummer, especially during the late game. This is of course the challenge of the game – managing the jumps to collect the fruit you need – but sometimes it feels too exhausting.
Poinpy has a mechanic and style of its own that expertly gamifies an action that anyone who has used a modern phone is familiar with: swipe down.
In addition to fruit picking, you also get occasional seeds, which can be exchanged for equippable upgrades. Only a few of these help significantly, like an ability that gives you an extra jump (which I never unequipped), but most of them aren’t as useful as I’d like and were only good in specific situations, like one that resurrects you if it meets very specific criteria. For those complaints though, I like being able to choose from a handful of permanent updates rather than having to fetch the updates every run.
After you improve your jumps enough, you unlock a secondary mode with a series of puzzles. Instead of climbing and escaping from the Blue Beast, you must collect fruit in as few moves as possible. As an optional distraction from the main game with substantial early rewards, I like that these puzzles exist, but hesitate to recommend them. I had more fun playing the main game.
The Blue Beast, as they are known in marketing, is a clever mechanic as they are always present on 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 fierce breath in a dramatic display of power. There’s little if any story to speak of, but the little bits of world building where the Blue Beast is evil until they have fruit are fun. Additional animation details, like the “enemies” who burst into tears if you steal their fruit, make you think maybe you’re playing the bad guy. Just that little bit of character building adds a lot to a benign story.
I won’t spoil it here, but I was also pleasantly surprised to find anything close to an ending. He put all my practice and effort into building something exciting and left me feeling accomplished. However, I’m disappointed that there’s no real score tracking and no chance to compete with friends, as it feels like the type of game perfectly suited to chasing high scores.
Poinpy represents my favorite type of mobile game. Bouncing Poinpy is a simple, repeatable, and fun mechanic, and I never had to think about coins of any kind. It can be played with one hand and is rewarding and challenging without requiring too much input from the player. With its smooth ending, it’s clear this isn’t a game you’re expected to play forever. There is a conclusion and it feels great to come to it, but if in the future you want to retrace your path while listening to a podcast, you can always revisit that simple and joyous experience.