Apart from just trying to catch as many eggs as you can, baddies explode from dropping bombs and pose a threat to the eggs as well. Destroy the baddies — which take on the form of angry vegetables, homework, and doctors with awful-looking shots (basically "going against the things you hated as kids," according to Sayre) — with a tap of your finger.
Lollipop 3 is a blast, but it stands out for a few reasons:
Everyone is a loser, and that's OK: There's no "winning" a level. The eggs will continue to fall at treacherous rates, and it will get to the point where you cannot hatch them all. Eggs will break, mustachioed tacos and unicorn puppies will perish. That's why each level has a challenge that you must complete before you can advance to the next stage. Stages are tracked on the app's main screen, where you'll see a nasty-looking lollipop. When you clear a challenge, part of your lollipop turns from gross to, well, edible. The Kitten of Splendor has three full lollipops full of challenges for you to complete, with 12 stages in each.
Because the gameplay within each stage is the same, the challenges keep things fresh. One challenge will ask you to fail the level in less than 10 seconds; the next will ask you to hold 25 eggs at a time. You can improve on your egg-hatching technique while trying to beat these specific challenges.
Mega design points: Lollipop 3 looks gorgeous, with stellar animation and a cast of characters that are a hoot to interact with. Its rich world keeps me coming back for more, and I'm seriously looking forward to the release of the next two installments. Plus, it is one of the few games I play with the sound on: Each capsule has its own little ditty produced by Blade Studios, and they're all pretty catchy. (The Slow Motion Capsule song is my jam.) You'll also hear helpful hints and words of encouragement from Star Cloud.
Pay with Joy, not money: Lollipop 3 is a free-to-play game with optional in-app purchases, but you don't have to spend a dime if you don't want to. Instead, you can spend JoyJoy, Lollipop 3's in-game currency. You earn JoyJoy with each egg you hatch and as you win challenges. Then, you can trade JoyJoy for capsules and power-ups in between rounds. Capsules are a must-have, but the other power-ups — like extra lives and faster hatching eggs — are truly optional. You can always play older levels to earn more JoyJoy, but if you can't wait that long, you can buy more with real money. And that fills me with actual joy.
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