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Released: 1991

Publisher: Tengen

Developer: Tengen

Submitted by: Daniel Hinchcliffe

Not to go all hipster on you, but you’ve probably never heard of Popils.  A 20 year-old Game Gear exclusive, which has never had any kind of follow-up or re-release? There’s even next to no presence on YouTube; just 2 short videos!

This is the Game Gear game I remember spending most of my time on, those aforementioned 20 years ago. The basic premise is that you, a young boy, have to reach the princess on 100 mind-bending screens, which include blocks (breakable and non-breakable), ladders, doors, spikes, slimes, bats and more. You are able to punch certain blocks and items, with Alex Kidd-like prowess, which will then cause all items above to descend by one row. Your aim is to get into a position where you can reach the princess, whereby the level ends with a sweet embrace. Doing this in the lowest number of steps possible is the ultimate aim, which proves incredibly challenging on later levels. This is one-hit kill territory, too, as if things weren’t challenging enough.

Bored with the 100 main levels? Then make your own! Using the map edit feature, you could create your own levels, to exactly the same standards as the developer. This was a very impressive feature to me at the time, as it was the first game I played that allowed you to do this.

Most handhelds are known for having a strong, addictive puzzle game. Game Boy? Tetris. Lynx? Chip’s Challenge. Game Gear? Columns? Nope, I’d go for Popils every time.