Flashback: Pop’n TwinBee

By: Jonny Casino

Jonny CIn a world of first-person shooters, action-adventure games, and epic RPGs, one genre always pulls me back to it. I love shoot’em ups (or shmups as they have so sadly been called). There is just something about flying in one direction and trying to survive a barrage attacking enemies.

In the shoot’em up hay day of the 8 and 16-bit eras, Konami developed the Twinbee series. I first discovered it playing Paradius, for the Super Famicom. This game is a parody of Gradius, one of my favorite retro games. After that, I knew I had to play more Twinbee. I ended up picking up another Famicom Twinbee game, and I was not disappointed.

I have felt that this was a series that too many people were missing out on, but not anymore. Recently, Pop’n Twinbee became available as one of the free SNES games on the Nintendo Online Service. I urge everyone to give this game a try.

7A0800F2-1976-4781-BE2A-A3B07AF3DB02As with most vertical Shoot’em Ups, you are in control of a ship and must take out as many enemies as possible, while you try to make it to the boss. The thing I had to wrap my brain around while playing these games, is that it is more important to dodge the enemy than it is to attack them. I believe it’s this change in the challenge that brings me back to this genre.

There are a few things that make Pop’n Twinbee really stand out. To begin with, it is extremely colorful. The art style is more like a cartoon than many games in the genre. The music is just as lighthearted as the art. These are some things I really appreciate because these games should be pure, unadulterated fun.

Weapon upgrades are an important part of any shoot’em up game. Most games do this by shooting a series of enemies or a specific type of enemy. Pop’n Twinbee does this in a different and, I believe, more fun way. In this game, the player will shoot clouds as they come on to the screen. This releases a bell that the player can either run into for points, or they can keep shooting the bell. After a few shots, the bell changes color and is now a power-up. If the player does not like the type of power-up, they can avoid the bell or shoot it until it changes back.

Pop’n Twinbee is a difficult game, but this is common to all shoot’em ups. It is not a game you will just play through. It is a game that you will go back to over and over again, just trying to get better and further into the game. The drive to fight further into the game is what makes shoot’em ups so appealing, and this game does that with a fun flare.

If it’s not obvious, I loved my short time with Pop’n Twinbee. It’s never going to be the game that I spend hours playing in one sitting, but it will be the game that I continuously go back to when I want a fun challenge. This game has stood the test of time and holds up very well. If you have the Nintendo Online Service, do yourself a favor and try out the game.

Screenshots by MobyGames

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