Since it’s release in the arcades in 1994, Puzzle Bobble, or as it’s otherwise known – Bust-A-Move on consoles such as the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation – has proved very popular with game players worldwide. It has even spawned clones, the most famous of which being mobile game Bubble Witch and is even seeing versions made for retro computers – the Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 in particular. In 2022, Taito announced Puzzle Bobble EveryBubble for the Nintendo Switch. I’ve been given the privilege to play this and it s brilliant.
About Puzzle Bobble EveryBubble
The game is set in the world of Taito’s previous hits Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands. The premises of the game is very simple – clear the screen of bubbles in the quickest time possible. But it is not that simple.
The first mode is a story mode in which you and/or up to three friends can play. On this screen, you can select the look of your dragon. The first zone is Rainbow Village and you have to pop the bubbles to rescue the Miniroons who thanks to a wizard are blowing bubbles and it’s causing a whole lot of trouble. You have to pop bubbles of a certain colour to clear the screen, the level finishing when you have cleared all the bubbles. In some levels, there are special bubbles, like bombs or stars which will help clear the level quicker.
Depending on how much time it takes you to clear the level, you get between 1 and 3 stars, each stage having at a certain number. If you can’t get the maximum number of stars, you can always replay the levels and attempt to get the remaining stars. At any time during the level, you can swap the bubble you have to one of a different colour if you are in need of it, but you cannot choose the required colour. During levels, you can collect bombs but only one at a time, so the levels in which you can collect many require some clever thinking.
As you progress in Puzzle Bobble EveryBubble, you will encounter further obstacles in your quest including boxes which can only be destroyed using bombs or dropped if you clear bubbles from above, in addition to empty bubbles which you shoot with your regular bubbles which change the colour of the blank bubbles to that of the bubble you’re firing. But as the level progresses, the wall of bubbles goes down and if it goes beyond a certain point, it’s game over. But you can retry the level or redo it with help, but by doing this, you only get one star.
If you complete a stage with the maximum number of stars, you can unlock an EX mode, which I take to mean expert and a higher difficulty level.
But There’s More…
When playing in multi-player mode, the playing field expands so there are even more bubbles to get rid of. The players are spaced evenly apart but they can destroy the bubbles on any part of the screen.
The Vs mode gives you a choice of online matches although a Nintendo Online account is required or local play. The local version gives you a choice of 1 on 1 or 2 on 2. The screen is split in two and the games are a best of three. You can build up a power meter and can eventually fire bubbles at your opponent. The more bubbles you destroy, you add blank bubbles to your opponent and the round ends when either player’s bubbles go past the danger line.
In addition to the core story game, Puzzle Bobble also comes with a Puzzle Bobble vs Space Invaders mode in which you play your dragon against the bubbles again, but this time, the bubbles contain Space Invades aliens and they can shoot at you. As with the core game, you can play with other people.
Puzzle Bobble EveryBubble is completely addictive. You may go into the game thinking “I’ll just play one level” and then you end up playing more levels. Even when you lose a level, you get that “one more go” vibe and get determined to play it until you complete the level, even if you just get one or two stars, just so you can get to the next level.
Totally recommended – 10/10