Xbox 360 Review: PopCap Hits

Arcade classics on one disc, but is it value for money?

A few years ago, PopCap Hits came out on PS2 and was met with mixed reactions from critics. While the games on the disc were great, 2 of the 4 games are available to play for free online. Now the same game resurfaces on Xbox 360, but now it has achievements to add extra value. But is it a case of too little for too much?

The first game I played was Astropop, which is a great arcade classic where you gather coloured bricks and shoot them towards other bricks to make them disappear. It’s a very basic game, yet highly addictive at times. This is one of the better games and oddly it’s one of the free ones that you can play online. The achievements will take some time and skill to unlock, but it’s truly only for completionists to attempt this.

Feeding Frenzy is perhaps the dullest of the games, but it’s not terrible. You control a fish and move it to eat smaller fish until you grow so you can eat bigger and bigger fish. It’s about as basic as you can get, but is enjoyable in small doses. The achievements will take 10 hours to unlock.

Bejeweled 2 is the other game you can play for free elsewhere, but as with Astropop its highly addictive and has rather difficult achievements that will take a long time to unlock. Essentially you move gems to match 3 of a kind, matching 4 will get rid of 3 and leave one gem that will explode if you match it with another group of gems. There are a variety of modes like survival and endless that are self-explanatory, but sometimes you can’t carry on as you run out of possible moves. This can be frustrating as sometimes the game will give you a hint for the next move only to find out that it’s the final move you can make.

Peggle is a curious game. You launch a ball and have to hit all the red pegs that are mixed up with the blue pegs. As you progress, you’ll get different colour pegs that will give you score bonuses, multi-balls and extra lives. It’s more a case of luck than skill to be honest, but it is addictive nonetheless.

The collection on the whole is good, but the only new addition to the game are achievements and these games are relatively cheaper on XBLA. Also it’s odd that when you quit one game, you go straight to your Game Library in the Dashboard. To actually go back to the list of games, you have to hit the guide button and select PopCap Hits as the game in the disc tray. It’s a bizarre setup to say the least.

The Verdict

PopCap Hits has some of the best arcade games there is for XBLA, but they are on the old side now and the only extra material from the PS2 compilation are HD and achievements. Is that worth £20 of your money? If so, maybe its worth picking up…but it’s far easier to download the games directly from XBLA.