This incarnation serves as a complete revamp of the Pop'n Music franchise, with a completely new arcade cabinet and game mechanics. Location tests were held from February 7th to 8th, 2020 at JAEPO 2020.
It is unknown if NEW Pop'n Music: Welcome to Wonderland! will be an installment for the main game title lineup, or if development has been cancelled.
Gameplay and Development
There were numerous changes to gameplay between this game and previous installments.
- The 9 buttons have been made smaller and moved closer towards the front end of the cabinet in order to:
- Arrange them so each button is under its respective column on-screen.
- Make room for a new touch slider panel. This touch slider introduces 2 new note types:
Song charts continue to use the traditional 9 buttons during gameplay, but players must also use the touch slider nearly simultaneously to follow light and flick pop-kun as required on screen.
Possible Cancellation Of The Title
The game did not appear as an upcoming game in Konami's FY2021 2nd Quarter Financial Results, and there has been no news at all regarding the title since location tests occurred. The release of Pop'n Music Kaimei Riddles instead of Wonderland has led to fan speculation that development of the game has likely been cancelled.
This newer incarnation and rebranding received critical backlash from Pop'n Music fans and the music/rhythm video game community, complaining about the new character sprites (3D chibi characters instead of the original 2D animated caricatures), the noticeably smaller controller size and the addition of a touch slider panel similar to that used in other rhythm games like Chunithm or Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Arcade. Fans also disliked the game's toys-to-life feature using flat acrylic figures of the mainstay characters, Mimi and Nyami.
- Unlike previous Pop'n Music game incarnations, banners became smaller and were moved towards the left-side of the screen, near the player's character.
- Rival characters for songs are absent on the music select screen.
- Playable and rival characters are now 3D-rendered chibi caricatures, unlike the 2D sprites from previous titles.
- The acrylic standees that were introduced contained barcodes that could be scanned by the game, seemingly letting you play as that character.
- The Groove Gauge and Music Timer bars are now vertical and were moved to opposing sides of the screen. The Groove Gauge is to the right of the player character, and the Music Timer is left of the rival character.
- The licenses that appeared during the location test, Phantom Joke and 少年よ我に帰れ, were added to Pop'n Music peace on August 3rd, 2020, further contributing to fan speculations of the game being cancelled.