Available On: Android, iOS
Android has become extremely popular in recent years with developers looking to expand their markets. Quiz games in particular have flourished in the Google Play Store, bringing a fantastic variety of formats made by talented developers along with them. The most popular type of quiz by far is the trivia quiz because of how accessible the format is, but there are a number of games out there dealing with more niche markets than this. Songpop is one such game, but it couldn't be further from a generic guess-the-music title. This is the advantage that Songpop has over its rivals, and this advantage comes from every aspect of this well-designed app.
If anyone is old enough to remember the original iPods, they came with a rudimentary Music Quiz that perhaps inspired all other music quizzes of this style that followed it. The iPod version simply played a snippet of a random song on your iPod and challenged you to guess it in multiple-choice fashion as fast as you could. That's really what the core concept of Songpop is all about, though instead of the game using your own music library like the nostalgic Music Quiz - Do You Know Your Music? game, Songpop's own selection of music is utilised.
Given that the game is based on such a simple concept, a great deal of entertainment can be derived from its gameplay. You basically just have to guess the songs based on a short clip of each of them, with a total of five songs in each round. There are of course many categories - Rock, Pop, Christian, Disco etc. - all of which contain an adequate quantity of songs, enough to get you started off at least, with view to expanding them based on your progress.
This progress is made by increasing the number of stars you have attached to each category. These stars are increased as you guess the songs correctly, introducing new songs to each category quite gradually and not simply having a massive selection of songs per category which would be quite tricky for those of you out there that are less musically inclined. This progression system also keeps hardcore music fans out there happy as well since these kinds of people will progress as quickly as their knowledge allows them to. It's a little like S Quiz It's Guess the Song, only better designed and with a superior progression system.
One thing that is worth mentioning that will likely preclude many players out there from choosing Songpop as their first choice of music game is the game's lack of any single-player mode. The game is purely multiplayer in nature. The way you beat your opponent is to simply answer more questions right than him/her and do so as quickly as you possibly can. There are power-ups available as well, allowing you to eliminate two wrong answers from the multiple choice list.
It's a bit unfortunate that this simple format that has tonnes of potential is marred significantly by the in-app purchases, or more accurately the frequent asking of you to hand over cash for in-game currency and also suggestions that you purchase the songs you just heard in each round as well. In order to unlock new playlists for example, you must spend in-game currency. This is quite acceptable in the free-to-play version of course as many developers do this, but the freemium aspect doesn't entirely go away even if you've paid for the premium version. This is significantly disappointing.
Somewhat redeeming the game are its colourful graphics and noticeably professional design. Sound effects and visual pleasantries are rife in the game, particularly once you emerge victorious over your opponent. The navigation through the game is also very intuitive, owed to the clean and simple design of the menus and the way you navigate through them. One glaring error here, especially if you consider that this is a multiplayer game - is that it is entirely devoid of a social element. There's no real communication between you and your opponent, a feature that could do with being present; this would have made the game much, much more fun to play and able to compete in the league of games like QuizUp as well.
In all, Freshplanet have done a great job with Songpop's design (check out Moviepop and their other games which are generally similar in concept to Songpop) and have come up with a game that's based on an intriguing premise. In practice however, this game hasn't exactly hit the ball out of the park; it is sullied by the in-app purchases and requests for you to consider purchasing the songs contained within the game. It's still a great experience if you want to invest lots of time into it though; this is the only way to really expand the playlists if you don't want to spend any actual money.