At Tokyo Game Show 2023, I was able to get some hands-on time with Popucom, the new game from the studio behind . However, rather than being another tower-defense mobile game, Popucom is a co-op 3D puzzle platformer inspired by games like Puyo Puyo, Bust-A-Move, and Splatoon.
For the TGS demo, I played the game in a two-player split-screen (though I was told the final version would be able to handle four-player co-op and have online play as well). The gameplay comes down to this: Each player can be two unique colors that they can shift between at will. Your current color changes how you interact with the environment. If I was pink, for example, I could stand on pink platforms or pass through pink energy gates. If I was any other color, I couldn’t.
But that’s just the start of things. Each character has a gun that shoots little slimeballs. The color of the slime balls changes based on the color of your character. With the gun, you can shoot switches of the same color to activate platforms or shoot colored blocks to build stairs. However, there is one important thing to note: when three globs of the same color touch, they all pop. So if you want to make stairs of slime, you’ll have to keep switching colors or work with your partner to build them.
The “three of the same color can’t touch” rule is also the key to combat as all the monsters you encounter are made up of slime balls of varying colors. Hit the same color with three slime balls and that part of the monster pops—making any parts separated from the body as a result pop too. Of course, the opposite is true as well. If you miss your target and hit the wrong color, you add that slime to the monster, making it bigger, stronger, and harder to kill. And as you only can shoot two colors, you and your partner will have to work together to take out enemies.
All in all, the TGS Popucom demo was a super fun and silly vertical slice showing off all the basic mechanics that will be expanded upon in the full game. While it wasn’t difficult, it was incredibly creative and, as a person who loves co-op games, I can’t wait to play through the full version with a good friend or two.
Popucom is being developed for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC. The release date has yet to be announced.