A classic arcade series that everyone fondly remembers is Bubble Bobble. The combination of cute characters and lighthearted visuals with challenging gameplay has appealed to many for years. But every now and then a long-running series needs to mix things up and try something new to offer a fresh experience. This is what Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! tries to do with its focus on quick puzzles and a silly story. Anyone with a taste for easy to jump into games will have fun with it, but others might find it a bit too repetitive.
The plot in Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is simple and cutesy. The Miniroons on Rainbow Island overflow the area with bubbles and cause many problems for everyone who lives there. In order to set things right, the bubble dragon Bub and his friends get together and try to burst all of the bubbles that are overflowing the island, while helping save the Miniroons in the process. It’s a surface-level story that is only really there to round off the gameplay, so you can’t expect anything too deep or complex. Most Japanese mascot characters like the ones in Bubble Bobble have similar plots for the games they’re part of, keeping a focus on the gameplay more than anything else.
But is the gameplay itself any good? If you’ve played any Bubble Bobble game, you’ll feel right at home. All you have to do is match the colors of the bubbles in groups of 3 or more, popping them and clearing space on the board. For Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! you’ll need to accomplish different objectives that come up in each stage. Sometimes you’ll have to rescue the Miniroons trapped inside bubbles, clear the board of all bubbles before time runs out, and even finish the stage with special conditions given. It’s a very simple gameplay loop that becomes fun when you have a grasp on how to shoot bubbles at different angles, leading to big groups of bubbles bursting and fast stage completion rates.
Where the puzzle element comes into play is when you have to clear a stage with different bubble layouts and other obstacles are laid before you. You’ll often find boxes, bombs, and other special bubbles that you can use to your advantage to clear a stage. Things can get pretty challenging when the answer to clearing a group of bubbles isn’t always clear, or when you’ll need to take a few steps beforehand in order to find the right answer to clearing the stage. Often it’ll be more obvious than you realize, especially if you have a good grasp on how to angle your shots and plan ahead. To its credit, the game never gets to a point of feeling impossible to clear a stage, not unless you mess up enough times and need to restart a stage. If you take your time instead of rushing through, you’ll find the puzzles to be very manageable and clever.
But this is something that can get repetitive very quickly. While the story mode has you traveling around Rainbow Island to clear the bubbles lingering around, you’re still playing very similar games the entire time. The puzzles for each stage are different, but there’s little to no variety with what you’re actually doing. At the same time, the cutscenes that break up the gameplay aren’t always enough to make progression for good. You might get a short cutscene with some dialogue and then end up playing multiple stages afterward that feels all too similar to the ones you just got through. For some, this is a game where you can go in and out of quickly, much like other portable experiences, that feels right when you just want to get through a few puzzles. For others, it will feel like the repetition will be too much.
One section on the Rainbow Island map does offer something different when you finally unlock it. The Baron’s Tower lets you play on boards to get high scores and compare them to other players online. The games have bubbles that continuously appear automatically, with more points being obtained when you drop and pop more bubbles. There are multiple difficulties to choose from, but you need to play through each one successively to unlock them all. This can be fun if you like to set high scores, but it’s not as competitive as one might think.
Multiplayer is mostly cooperative in Story Mode, but you can play Vs Mode and compete against each other. What’s great is that you can set CPU players in both modes if you’re playing alone and want to try things out. There is online multiplayer to find others to play with online, which has global matchmaking and private matches with passwords. Online play quality will vary depending on your internet connection, but you might struggle to find other players online unless you plan to play with someone beforehand. AT its best games go very smoothly, but at worse, some games might be completely unplayable.
Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! won’t be for everyone, but it does have some good things that work. The repetitiveness may be hard for most to get over if you aren’t already into the series. The Story Mode is a nice thing to get into playing, but this isn’t a plot you’ll remember after you’re done playing it. You’ll enjoy the co-op or versus multiplayer if you spend time with it, despite the online matches varying in quality. If anything, this is a game you’ll want to play sporadically. Getting in for some puzzles and out after a bit, that way you won’t grow bored of the repetitiveness and won’t get tired of the cute and colorful characters.
Would you check out Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! on the Nintendo Switch? Are you a fan of the Bubble Bobble series? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!
The game has colorful visuals with cute characters that are charming. The gameplay is simple to get into, but can get very repetitive quickly. The story is very shallow and simple, which may not be for everyone. Multiplayer versus and co-op can be fun, but online games will vary in quality.
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