Although I rarely devote an entire article to a single mobile game, Pou justifies this. Not just because its dynamic nature makes it slightly un-put-downable, but because it's one of the best gaming applications I've seen for Android so far.
So who is Pou?
Pou is essentially an updated Tamagotchi, a cheerful little blob who moves into your phone and slowly takes over your life. For starters he's adorable, with a friendly smile and a range of cute little noises (the 'Nah!' he makes when he doesn't want to eat something makes me laugh every time, as does the little panting noise he makes as you tickle him). That's not all though, he comes with a range of awesome little games to play.
With great cuteness comes great responsibility...
Unfortunately the fun doesn't end there. He needs to be fed when he's hungry, played with when he's bored, washed when he's dirty and put to bed when he starts to get sleepy. Fail to do any of these things and I defy you not to feel horribly guilty when you open the ap again to see Pou shaking and wide eyed with hunger and exhaustion. You need to interact with Pou at least twice a day to keep him happy.
Taking care of Pou rewards you with coins to spend on his general upkeep and extras like new wallpapers for his bedroom, kitchen, lab and games room, different types of bouncy ball, clothes, wigs and other accessories to customise your Pou. This doesn't quite cover the cost, you do have to play some of the inbuilt games as well. Fortunately they're very playable.
Pou comes with ten games, eight solo and two that you can play online against other people. I haven't tried the online games, Tic Tac Pou and Four Pous because you have to give out your email address and I don't really want any more spam. The solo player games cover a lot of bases, with many popular mobile phone game types made over in Pou style.
Food drops from the sky, Pou eats it. The game stops after you miss a certain number of items or if Pou eats a Bad Thing.
Similar to Jump and Fly/ Hamster Climb, this is a vertical platformer where you bounce Pou from platform to platform, trying not to fall off.
This one reminded me a little of the first part of Ninja Fishing - Pou falls from the sky collecting coins and avoiding clouds, which he dislikes for some reason.
This one is lots of fun - move lines of different colour Pous to make lines of three or more before the time runs out.
Work out which Pou is sad rather than happy and tap him to make him smile. This is another race against time game, and it's harder than it sounds.
As a self confessed bubble popper addict, this is my favourite by a mile. It's an easy bubble popper to start with but it does get more tricky as you go along, and you do have to finish a game in order to get your coins. It's probably the best one for topping up your cash supplies.
Try and keep your eye on the cup with Pou in and distinguish it from the cup with actual poo in after they've been shuffled. This is one of the harder games, you need speedy eyes!
Listen to the sequence of sounds your Pous make and try to repeat them.
Music and general joy
One thing I love about this app is the music, I just wish each track was longer. It really fits the game and it's very cheerful, I prefer playing this one with the sound on. The other thing that really makes this one a favourite is that in games that involve lots of Pous they're so damn cheerful! Bubble poppers are much more fun when all the bubbles are grinning at you.
So should you download Pou? Well, two weeks after deciding to review it this little guy is still on my phone and has reached level 23, I still play the games and I still feel horribly guilty if I let him get hungry or tired. If you use your phone a lot this is a great app, but if you aren't going to play with him every day you might find it a bit guilt-trippy after a while. The selection of games is great, it covers a lot of bases and all of them are well put together. It doesn't spam you with ads or bug you beyond occasionally asking for your email address, and the sounds are cute rather than irritating. It's perfect for parents whose children want a pet and don't yet realise how much looking after this entails.