Decades ago, when smartphones morphed into usable video game devices, it was me very much a mobile gaming guy. I spent every second of my precious commute playing games like Doodle Jump, Angry Birds or Tiny Wings.
Then at some point I just… stopped playing video games on my phone. I have never been addicted to Clash of Clans style games or any exploitative payments to win online experiences. Slowly but surely, my phone became like a washing machine or refrigerator—a piece of technology that solves a handful of extremely routine problems and nothing more. No fun allowed.
But then I started playing Poinpy.
Poinby is the latest game from Ojiro Fumoto, better known as the guy who made Downwell, a delightfully tactile retro shooter about a man who jumps Low a well, blow up a lot of things in the process.
But you don’t get lost in Poinpy. Poinpy is very much a video game about walking high.
At the base level, Poinpy is a video game about collecting fruit to feed a menacing-looking monster that is out to murder you. But mechanically it’s something of a biggest hit, borrowing generously from viral mobile games of yesteryear. Similar to Doodle Jump, in Poinpy you move up using only slingshot arcs, just like in Angry Birds. Players will slowly receive upgrades that make them more powerful, such as in Jetpack Joyride. And you find yourself using those upgrades to level up, as you might in…every video game ever made.
For someone like me who bounced off mobile games after their first golden age, Poinpy is the perfect entry point. Familiar yet new, it’s a mix of something comfortable but does just enough to keep you on your toes.
Because Poinpy isn’t only It’s all about going up, it’s all about collecting the right type of fruit to feed a rampaging monster while a timer ticks ominously in the background. If you don’t collect the right type of fruit fast enough, you lose and have to start over. The time limit creates panicky claustrophobia in the player and I can’t get enough of it.
Better still, Poinpy is full of flourishes that allow the best players to pull off spectacular moments of skill. You have a limited number of jumps to collect the right kind of fruit to feed the rampaging monster, but it’s possible to break that limit by attacking smaller monsters patrolling the levels. This offers the opportunity to create all kinds of inventive combinations, forcing you to spontaneously invent creative solutions in high-pressure situations. The more you play, the better you become at manipulating the game’s limited toolset and creating a sense of domination exclusive to the most effectively designed video games.
In short: Poinpy rules.
Perhaps the most bizarre part of Poinpy: it’s a Netflix video game. It’s not just a game funded from Netflix, it’s a game exclusive for Netflix subscribers. After downloading and opening the app on the App Store, players will need to sign up for Netflix in order to play, which is just… incredibly interesting. I’m not entirely 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-style video games. It doesn’t come close to justifying Netflix’s monthly fee, but it’s a nice bonus for existing Netflix subscribers. I would also love to see Netflix launch more games like this in the future and help unique creators like Ojiro Fumoto bring their games to a wider audience.
Either way, if you have a Netflix subscription and are looking for a game that takes you back to the halcyon days of endless mobile gaming, you could do a lot worse than Poinpy.