"POP - Methodology Experiment One" is an experimental game for the PC where you play seven mini-games that are more different than the last. There's no main story to this game but each game tells a unique story of their own. The games range from fairly innocent stuff to some dark stuff that might make you feel uncomfortable but won't turn you off. Well normally this opening paragraph is much longer due to most things I review having a plot I can go on about but this is "experimental" baby, so plots may or may not be a thing... This case it is not a thing when it comes to plot. But does that make this a bad game? Better question: Does the fact that this game is made up of seven mini-games make this a bad game? Find out after the jump. (Click "Read More" to read the full article).
The gameplay mechanics/controls in this game is surprisingly very tight which I wasn't expecting at all as most games like this don't really focus on tightness on controls. Each game plays differently but not majorly different and that helps when going from game to game as it won't feel jarring or inconsistent and I liked that. The games themselves can be pretty fun although some can be more fun than others depending on the kind of genre you like as this game includes a bunch of them like: Racing, arcade styled shooting games (like "Missile Command (1980)"), adventure games, and even puzzle and balancing games. It was mighty risky bundling all of those genres into a game like this but it worked really well in this case.
This is sadly not a game that you'll play for hours on end as you'll more than likely boot this game up once or twice a week and play through it but all those sessions were fun as all hell. When I did replay this game I found that some games I wasn't getting into on the first run were growing on me and games I enjoyed the first run were getting a bit boring. When I do play this game once a week I did find that all of the games became refreshing again and the games I found that were getting boring were good again, the games that grew on me were still just as good. With that said, you won't reach your full enjoyment factor with this game on the first time around although it's still an enjoyable experience, I'm just saying it gets better is all.
Graphics in this game uses a mixture of old styles found on games that can be found on consoles such as the "Atari 2600" and the "Sony PlayStation" and the combination helps make this game look unique. This game also has a very trippy look to it and does make me think that I have been taking too much drugs (mainly LSD). This is also a game I wouldn't recommend playing it in the dark or if you have Epilepsy as there are some very flashy images that even gave me a little headache.
Animation in this game is a little stiff and looks just like moving a paper puppet on a wooden popsicle stick but you won't find yourself bothered by that at all as it just blends in with the trippy nature of this game. This game also uses a lot of heavily compressed public domain footage in-between games and I just love it as while weird, it also adds a layer of charm to it and is very hard to dislike. I really enjoyed the soundtrack as not only did it sound good but it also blended together with the game very well to the point where I'm feeling like that I am messing around with interactive music videos as it's blended in that damn well.
If you are sick of playing the vanilla version of the game, you can go into an option menu that has modes you can turn on that will alter the game. The modes range from mixing up the games in a random order, screen altering modes like making the screen shake and change color, and an incredibly brilliant "Audio Commentary" from "Rob Lach" (the creator of this game) himself. I wasn't feeling anything when I turned the "Random" and "Screen Altering" modes on as it ruined the mood for me and made the game not feel very special.
The audio commentary on the other hand is a must listen as you'll get some good information on making of this game, thoughts on how shocked people were on how one of the games played*, and some more interesting trivia and facts that surround this game. One thing I was worried about this mode was that the speed of the gameplay would mess with the consistency of the audio commentary but that was not the case, this game has been re-tooled in this mode so that the commentary would match up with everything that happens in the game to where you won't miss anything. One thing you should know is that the game runs for about three to five times as long due to the re-tooling to sync the audio commentary and gameplay and thus it feels more like I am watching a film rather than playing a game (Rob Lach's POP - The Methodology Experiment Movie One. Perhaps?).
I did find some bugs in this game that might cause some frustration. The first bug was with booting up the game and that is the game doesn't want to boot-up until after a few tries as the game crashes right before the "Epilepsy Warning" screen. The only way I've found to get around this bug is to just keep trying to boot the game as it did run fine after a few tries. This game also tends to crash once you have beaten the main mode as well and has rarely brought me back to the main menu and I'm hoping this will be fixed in the near future. One last bug I found was something that only happened to me once and that was that the music from a prior mini-game didn't fade out but continued playing over the "Public Domain Footage" segments and it got a tad bit annoying as it didn't blend well.
I know what you are all thinking, what is the difference between the standard version and the deluxe edition? The deluxe edition is only $1 more and comes with all of the DLC. The DLC are the soundtrack and an audio commentary track and bonus game modes. If you want to buy the standard game and get the DLC later then you might want to rethink that plan and just pay the extra buck for the deluxe edition as it'll cost you way more to buy the DLC separately. The soundtrack itself is $4 alone and you get that in the deluxe edition.
Overall this is a very weird, quirky, bizarre, trippy, game and I loved it for that reason... And also because I liked how it played. While I did love it as I also see this game being a very "hit or miss" game due to the experimental nature not clicking with everybody. Despite all that, I recommend you guys give this game a go as it is a very well done and unique game/series of games. It's out there, man!
*Note: I avoided spoiling what that "dark" game (same with the rest of the games) were about as I don't want to ruin the experience you'll have with this game... Although I did show a screenshot.
Game: POP - Methodology Experiment One DELUXE EDITION
Developer/Publisher: Rob Lach
Genre: Action, Adventure, Music, Experimental, Puzzle, Mini-Game Collection, New Wave, Avant-Garde
Price: $4.99 (Steam)