Not content to dominate sales charts merely on consoles and PC, Electronic Arts has even expanded into the Web-based game market with its Pogo.com casual-gaming hub. (Think games like Bejeweled and Zuma, and you'll get the picture.) Now EA is repackaging a handful of Pogo games into a new Nintendo DS game with a slight graphical makeover, and we got to try out this lighthearted game, titled Pogo Island, at EA's recent winter lineup event.
The five games included here are all easy to get into, and anyone who's frequented Pogo.com in the past will likely have already played (or at least seen) them. Word Whomp presents you with a jumble of letters from which you have to form as many words as you can in a preset amount of time. Poppit is a Bejeweled-style game with balloons instead of gems. Tri-Peake Solitaire is, well, a variation on standard solitaire. Squelchies presents a bunch of colored aquatic creatures advancing downward, and you have to use the touch screen to move the bottom-most creatures from one column to the next to match up three colors and clear those creatures away. Finally, Phlinx is quite similar to the classic Puzzle Bobble--you fire colored balls from a cannon at the bottom of the screen to match up three balls on the top screen and clear those away. The difference here is that you can move the cannon between three preset locations.
You can access all these games through the quick-play option if you just want to get some quick gaming in or compete for a high score, though Pogo Island also offers a story mode of sorts, which lets you play through a board game to access the five Pogo games, plus a handful of very short microgames. You'll also be able to earn tokens by playing well in the DS game, and these tokens can be transferred back to your account on Pogo.com (using the DS's Wi-Fi function). The tokens are then utilized as currency on the Web site, and can be used to enter contests and so on.
Pogo Island isn't going to entice the most diehard gamers, but then again, that's not what EA's going for here. The DS's popularity has broadened to include a whole bunch of demographics that normally don't play games, and this sort of quick, lighthearted, casual gaming is exactly the kind of thing that will appeal to them.