Iâ€™ve loved Puzzle Bobble (or Bust-a-Move? Where is it called that?) for years. When we were kids, my friends and I would head down to the arcade and pump the cabinet with 20c coins. I always liked how Puzzle Bobble was cheaper than everything elseâ€¦
Anyway, here we are in 2011, and the series has had many ups and downs, repeatedly fading away until a new platform calls for yet another port or pseudo-sequel. The core mechanics really havenâ€™t changed much over the years, but itâ€™s like Tetris: if you mess too much with the formula, youâ€™re going to stuff it up.
So whatâ€™s New Puzzle Bobble on the iPhone like? Pretty good, actually. When I bought my iPhone way back in the heady days of 2009, I quickly bought a Puzzle Bobble clone (made by Gameloft, naturally), but it was pretty dreadful. Thankfully, the official version gets things right, providing an adventure mode that (impressively) manages to add a few small twists on the basic gameplay, while also giving you an endless mode for the purists.
Hold up a second â€” if youâ€™re new to the whole Puzzle Bobble scene, I should explain what it is. Using a bubble launcher (aimed using your finger), you fire bubbles into other bubbles. Match three of the same colour together, and they disappear. You need to clear the screen to progress to the next stage; allowing bubbles to reach the bottom of the screen results in a loss.
Itâ€™s all pretty simple at its core, but as the adventure mode shows, thereâ€™s a lot you can add to it. Bombs, indestructible bubbles, and even boss fights (not as bad as you might think) add some spice to the mix. Itâ€™s enough to keep you occupied for quite a few bus trips, which is definitely the ideal place to be playing New Puzzle Bobble.
The only thing missing? Multiplayer. While playing the game on your own is fun, itâ€™s nothing compared to the insane panic-filled slogfest that is 2-player. Sure, adding network multiplayer isnâ€™t a walk in the park, but I still really miss it. Hereâ€™s hoping itâ€™s added in a future update, but Iâ€™m kind of doubtful.
And thatâ€™s really all I can say about New Puzzle Bobble. You pay more for the brand, but you do get quality alongside it. If you donâ€™t mind coughing up more than $1.29 on an app, go check it out. If youâ€™ve played Puzzle Bobble before, you know exactly what youâ€™re getting â€” and thatâ€™s not necessarily a bad thing.