Decades ago, when smartphones morphed into viable video game devices, I was much very much a mobile gaming guy. I would spend every second of my precious travel time playing games like Doodle Jump, Angry Birds or Tiny Wings.
So at some point, I just… stopped playing video games on my phone. I have never been addicted to any of the Clash of Clans style games or any kind of pay to gain online experience. Slowly but surely, my phone has become like a washing machine or a refrigerator – a piece of technology that solves a handful of extremely mechanical problems and nothing more. No fun allowed.
But then I started playing Pointpy.
Poinby is the latest game from Ojiro Fumoto, better known as the guy who made Downwell, a wonderfully tactile retro shooter about a jumping man. low a well, blowing up a bunch of stuff in the process.
But in Poinpy you don’t fall. Poinpy is very much a video game about going above.
At the basic level, Poinpy is a video game about gathering fruit to feed a menacing-looking monster with the intention of killing it. But mechanically, it’s something of a smash hit, borrowing liberally from viral mobile games of the past. Much like Doodle Jump, Poinpy makes you move upwards, using only slingshot bows precisely like those in Angry Birds. Players gain upgrades slowly, making it more powerful – as in, say, Jetpack Joyride. And you find yourself using these upgrades to reach new levels like in… every video game ever made.
For someone like me who recovered from mobile gaming after its first Golden Age, Poinpy is the perfect entry point. Familiar but new, it’s a pastiche of something comfortable, but it does enough to keep you on your toes.
Because Pointy is not only As for climbing, it’s about collecting the right kind of fruit, to feed a raging monster while a timer ticks ominously in the background. If you don’t collect the right kind of fruit quickly enough, you lose and have to start over. The time limit creates a panicked claustrophobia in the player and I can’t get enough of it.
Even better, Poinpy is full of flourishes that allow top players to pull off spectacular moments of skill. You are given a limited number of jumps to collect the right kind of fruit to feed the raging monster, but it is possible to break this limit through attacks on smaller monsters that patrol the levels. This gives you the opportunity to create all sorts of inventive combos, forcing you to come up with creative solutions on the fly in high-pressure situations. The more you play, the better you become at manipulating the game’s limited toolset, creating a sense of unique mastery of the most efficiently designed video games.
In short: Pointpy rules.
Perhaps the most bizarre part of Poinpy: it’s a Netflix video game. It’s not just a game funded by Netflix, it’s a game exclusive for Netflix subscribers. After downloading and opening the app from the App Store, players need to log into Netflix to play, which is simply… incredibly interesting. Not sure of the strategy there.
Would a game like Poinpy inspire people to sign up for Netflix? I can’t imagine it unless it was the first in an extensive library of-esque video games. It doesn’t even come close to justifying the monthly Netflix fee, but it’s a nice bonus for existing Netflix subscribers. I would also love to see Netflix release more games like this in the future and help unique creators like Ojiro Fumoto bring their games to a wider audience.
In any case, if you have a Netflix subscription and are looking for a game that will take you back to the happy days of endless mobile gaming, you can do a lot worse than Poinpy.