Tetris was once the Rubik's Cube of puzzle games. It more or less created the genre, and hordes of imitators quickly joined the fray. Remember when the Pyramid, Sphere and countless other knock-offs began appearing shortly after Rubik's Cube took the world by storm? Nowadays, however, it's unfair to label a puzzler as a ripoff of Alexey Pazhitnov's masterpiece. There are a wide variety of titles that add new elements or even establish new game playing challenges. Zoop is such a game.
Although quite simple on the surface, Zoop involves much more pizzazz and strategy than Tetris. Set in what can be considered as the bottom of Tetris's vertical well, colorful shapes assault your triangular piece from all sides. As you shoot them them, you assume their color and they assume yours; if they're already your color, they disappear, but if they aren't, they keep coming and after you. It sounds more complicated than it actually is; it's actually pretty elegant when everything is in motion.
The unique and colorful environment in Zoop adds to the charm. The pastels and rounded shapes of the objects are reminiscent of an artificially colored (bad for your health!) childrens' cereal. Items such as orange berets and green olives are scattered throughout the screen. The backgrounds are charming but actually hinder your vision, however. The checkered-tiled patterns will strain your eyes and cause some confusion when a large number of objects start to come at you.
If there's a chink in Zoop's armor, it's that the game is borderline frustrating in its difficulty. It starts off fast, and only gets more hectic. It gets to the point where you won't have much time to plan ahead, making it become a knee-jerk twitch-fest more than anything else. Just as you're getting the hang of it, the game is over.
If you're a veteran puzzle player with fast reflexes and an uncanny ability to get into a zen-like trance while playing these kinds of games, Zoop is for you. Others will find the unforgiving nature of the game a little too much to bear.