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Essentially one massive reference to the source material, which in turn is filled with references to other properties, Popuko crams what she can into her very simple two-button gameplay; effort from the creator seems to have been assigned solely to these visual gags, however, as the gameplay features no real coherence and comes across as somewhat clunky, with inconsistent damage outputs and a clear lack of balance.
Popuko is a two-button character that uses Ⓐ and Ⓑ for her attacks, though while they respectively represent the weak and strong variants of her ground Normals, her Specials are only ever activated using one of the two; she only has one aerial attack, which is a Normal assigned to Ⓐ. By holding either or in conjunction with Ⓑ when close to a grounded opponent, Popuko will activate a grab and throw the opponent forwards regardless of which direction was held, though unlike most regular grabs, it costs 500 Power to use.
Popuko's gameplay isn't particularly extensive or intricate as a result of using only two buttons for her entire moveset, featuring comboability that is limited to standing Ⓐ into either Ⓑ or +Ⓑ, as none of her Specials can be comboed into or out of due to slow startup or lack of cancel conditions, while attempting to combo crouching Ⓐ into Ⓑ will cause the character to get stuck in the animation for crouching Ⓐ until they are hit out of it. Although Popuko features the default movement options, including an Air Jump, her backward walk is different from most characters' in that it completely lacks hurtboxes; whether or not this was intentional, it allows her to completely avoid damage for as long as is held and can lead to easy timer scams as long as she has dealt more damage to the opponent than she has received.
Aside from Popuko's lack of comboability and options in general, her greatest weakness is that most of her moveset is unavailable from the start of the match due to their Power requirements, which is especially potent in regards to her grab when most characters have no such restriction. Many of Popuko's attacks are slow to start up or leave her at a frame disadvantage on hit, though while attacks such as 竹書房ゥァア゛ーッ and 君の名波。 grant her invulnerability for some or all of the attack's duration, it does little to offset these issues when considering their underwhelming damage output. Despite all she has working against her, Popuko does has a trump card in the form of 自爆, which requires her Life to be at a sixth of its maximum value, but in exchange grants her complete invulnerability upon activation that lasts for the entire duration of the attack and instantly knocks out the opponent in most cases, though should the opponent somehow survive the attack, Popuko will K.O. herself.
Popuko does not feature a custom A.I., instead using the default A.I. provided by the engine that tends to jump around and block rather than attack, made more extreme by the two-button gameplay and lack of moves.
Hovering the mouse cursor over the Command Input icons will display text that refers to the inputs set in M.U.G.E.N's Key Config.
Icons encased in square brackets [ ] require the respective button(s) to be held down. Hovering the mouse cursor over the icon displays the hold duration if applicable.