CrowdStar Launches Pop Boom on Facebook – A Frisky Hands-On

While CrowdStar may be famous for Facebook games like Happy Pets, Happy Island, and Happy Aquarium, they aren’t content with simply resting on those games, as they have expanded their catalogue yet again, this time with a puzzle game in the same vein as PopCap’s Bejeweled Blitz, called Pop Boom.

Pop Boom is a unique take on the match three genre, that gives you 60 seconds to earn as many points as possible by popping bubbles. Gameplay is quite simple. You’ll be able to stare at your game board for as long as you’d like, to formulate a plan, and can then click on any bubble on the screen to begin the countdown from 60 seconds.

The bubble that you click on will be picked up from the game board, and can then be carried around (simply move your mouse around the screen) and dropped anywhere on the board that you’d like. This will swap the bubble you’re holding with the bubble you click on. The goal, then, would be to click on a bubble and then drop it next to two more bubbles of the same color, to create a match of three or more like-colored bubbles, thus making them explode, giving you points.

Pop-Boom-gameplay-1

Combos are created as bubbles move from the bottom of the screen towards the top to fill in the empty spaces created by explosions, and as you perform well, bomb bubbles appear at random that can be destroyed in the same way as a normal bubble, causing an explosion that takes out surrounding orbs. If the explosion happens to expand and hit a surrounding bomb, it too will explode, causing a ripple effect that can greatly increase your score.

Additionally, if you create a cross with your bubbles, or any match that includes bubbles going in both the horizontal and vertical directions, you’ll take out the entire row and column at the same time, regardless of whether or not all bubbles in that column or row matched.

After your 60 seconds are up, you’ll earn a certain amount of in-game coins, based on your score. These coins can be used to purchase two kinds of power-ups, including ones that make more bombs appear at the start of the game, or add five additional seconds to your clock, giving you 65 seconds in a game, rather than 60.

Your top score will be shown on a leaderboard on the right-hand side of the screen, which shows your progress against friends that have also played the app. You can click on any friends’ picture to challenge them to beat your score personally, or you can also publish a challenge item to your wall, offering an open challenge for all friends to play the game with you.

If you’d like to give Pop Boom a chance, head over to the game’s page on Facebook. Or, if you’d like to see the game in action, make sure to check out our Frisky Hands-On video of the game below to see the game’s unique twist on traditional match-three gameplay in action.

CrowdStar Adjusts Pearl Rewards in Happy Aquarium

The next time you login to Happy Aquarium, you’ll likely be met with a pop-up similar to the one at left, letting you know that CrowdStar, the game’s developer, has changed the way that Pearls are awarded in the game. While you’ll still receive a Pearl bonus each time you level up in the game, the amount of Pearls you’ll received has now increased.

While we haven’t figured out the exact formula for leveling up thus far, we do know that to compensate for the change, CrowdStar is offering users a one-time bonus of extra Pearls, with a larger amount being given away depending on your level.

As an example, as a level 23 user, I received 16 Pearls as a bonus due to the new calculations. How many bonus Pearls did you receive? Or, more importantly, if you’re a user who stopped playing Happy Aquarium due to the game’s increasing reliance on premium currency, will this be enough to make you come back?