Top Critic Average
The Battle Cats POP! is a game that's as fun as it is weird. When it's not putting you in time out with the energy meter, it can be addictive as hell. Too much of its free-to-play roots are still present, but even with those elements it's still a worthwhile time killer.
Ultimately what sets Battle Cats apart from the many (many) similar games of similar depth and strategy is that hugely creative edge. This game gets to be the distinctive and memorable example of the genre because the artists had the sense to do something that makes no sense, but we end up looking forward to each new level just to see the insanity that it brings. That, right there, is good design principles for mobile gaming, and it translates across to the 3DS perfectly.
Battle Cats POP! is an odd game, but there's no denying its fun factor. If you dream of leading an adorably violent cat army (who doesn't?), and enjoy strategy games this is definitely worth your time. Although the unnecessary energy bar is a bit of an annoyance, there is more than enough good content here to outweigh the bad.