EA’s Pogo Island rides the wave of the mini-game compilation that has seen its stock rise in recent months after the introduction of the Wii and the immense popularity of the DS. The collection of mini-games in Pogo Island hail from EA’s online portal, Pogo.com and while they are fun distractions at work, or on the go, the game feels very limited for a retail release.
The game houses five of the online portal’s offerings including Poppit!, a balloon popping game where you pop linked sections of like-colored balloons until you clear the field or pop enough to score points and release toys. The world scrambler Word Whomp should be familiar to those who were addicted to Bookworm. You are given a set number of tiles with letters on them, it’s up to you to make words out of them, each puzzle has a set number of words you should create and scoring longer words equals more points. Unfortunately, the dictionary here isn’t as big as you would like, and any proper nouns, brand names, etc. are not available. Rounding out the package are the solitaire-like Tri Peaks where you attempt to clear three pyramids of cards, Phlinx which plays surprisingly like Bust-A-Move, and Squelchies where you attempt to color match fish to keep them from reaching the bottom of the screen.
Pogo Island offers both a quick play and adventure mode. Quick Play is just as the name would indicate; you can choose to earn Pogo.com Tokens, which can be transferred to your Pogo account, by playing any one of the five mini-games. For those looking for a loosely assembled story, each mini-game is represented by a character that become scattered and stranded on a tropical island. Its up to you to beat the games, earn tokens and points to repair your ship and avoid the pitfalls of tropical islands (like smoke monsters and The Others).
Each game in the package can be played for free on Pogo.com as a trial, giving you the opportunity to test the game out before even purchasing it. The flash based versions and the DS versions interoperability by allowing you to earn tokens offline certainly helps the hardcore Pogo player, but for the casual gamer, Pogo Island feels kind of empty with only five mini-games to play, each previously being available under a different name or on the Pogo.com website. Only those looking for a flash game experience away from their computer need apply here. While Pogo Island is a competent collection, it just doesn’t offer enough to justify anything more than a casual player picking it up is the discount bin.