Seattle-Based developer PopCap Games has been around for a long time (the company was founded in 2000) and while the focus of the company has shifted towards mobile and free-to-play titles, some of the best casual games of the past few years have been created by PopCap. PopCap titles are available on a variety of consoles (from browsers to smartphones,) so if you’re looking for to play some casual games, you have plenty of options when it comes to platforms to play them on. Here’s a list with five of the best PopCap games ever made.
5. Bejeweled 3
There’s nothing particularly fresh or innovative about Bejeweled 3: this is an engaging puzzle game that will have you matching gems for hours on end, but there are no surprises when it comes to the gameplay. In the third entry, there are four standard modes from Bejeweled 2 (Classic, Zen, Lighting and Quest,) as well as four new ones (Butterflies, Diamond Mine, Ice Storm and Poker,) but one of its new features is the possibility of playing in high-definition which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s the only game in the main series that has HD graphics.
If you like tile-matching games, PopCap has a few games for you. Zuma is one of the best in this kind. The game can be played for free on a browser, but there’s also an improved version called Zuma Deluxe that’s available for PC, Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360. In Zuma, colored balls roll around a set path and you need to eliminate all of them by matching three of them. The base version of the game only has two modes (Adventure and Gauntlet,) but you have game for hours and hours.
In Insaniquarium, you manage a fish tank filled with aquatic creatures. These creatures drop coins which you collect to spend on food or different upgrades, such as weapons to repel attackers or more Guppies for your tank. There are four main modes (Adventure, Time Trial, Challenge Mode and Virtual Tank) as well as a secret sandbox mode that’s unlocked once you finish the game once. The combination of puzzle and micromanagement makes Insaniquarium an irresistible casual title.
Who would have known that the tower defense genre could be this accessible? Plants vs. Zombies puts you in the shoes of a random homeowner whose yard has been invaded by an incoming hordes of zombies, so naturally, you need to place different types of plants to kill those zombies before they invade your home and eat your brain. The colorful design of all the plants and zombies make the game approachable and so does the difficulty curve.
With Peggle, PopCap introduced pachinko to the masses. The idea is simple: you shoot a limited number of balls in a board that’s full of colored pegs and once you clear all the orange pegs, you clear the levels. There are Peggle Masters that grant you special powers once you hit green pegs, like the possibility of use two balls at the same time, make better shots and so on. If you like games that you can pick up and play in a few seconds, Peggle offers that and much more.