Puzzle Bobble Game Online

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Puzzle Bobble: Retro Physics for Modern Players

Taito's popular bubble bursting, tile matching game, Puzzle Bobble is back and playable on your computer or handy laptop. Also known by the name Bust-a-Move, this 1994 hit has entertained many arcade players the world over. Utilizing an angle-based mechanic, Puzzle Bobble definitely kept the attention of many fans who were looking for a unique spin on a matching game.

Back to the Past

Retro gamers may fondly remember Bub and Bob, the dinosaur mascots of the game, Bubble Bobble. Aside from being a bit of a tongue twister, this Taito platformer is the 1986 hit that started it all. For Puzzle Bobble, the main objective is to clear all the pieces, or "bubbles" as they are called, found in your rectangular play area. To do this, you control a pointer found at the bottom of the screen. The Left and Right arrow keys control your pointer's firing angle. After choosing the direction you want the orb to go, pressing the spacebar or the Up key makes your pointer fire a bubble. This bubble then travels straight until it either bounces off a wall or sticks onto something. The latter happens whenever your orb reaches either the top of your playing field or touches other orbs in its way.

As you may have guessed, the real trick is to find just the right angle to fire a bubble from. Lining up three or more similarly colored orbs together clears them from the playing field and gives you more room to reach the rest of the set. There is no way to predict what color your bubble ammo will be, but it will surely share the hue with remaining pieces on the field.

Clear the field in a matter of seconds and you get rewarded bonus points. Prolong playing the round and the ceiling starts to come down on you along with any remaining bubbles still in play. Due to the fact that the pieces are set up differently in each stage, figuring out the most efficient moves and actually pulling it off makes Puzzle Bobble as challenging, and addicting, as it gets.

Timing is the Key

Finicky about your moves? Delaying a shot results in your pointer firing its bubble ammo automatically, giving you less incentive to play slowly. The best thing to do is to make those first moves really count. If you are really lucky with the ammo spawns, you may be able to drop a whole string of orbs in a single shot. If even a single bubble manages to cross the line found at the bottom of the playing field, you will have to repeat that round. Three strikes and you are met with a Game Over screen. At this point, your scores will be tallied and sent for online ranking.

Back to Basics

Being a successful, well-loved classic is a testament to its quality. As such, we have nothing bad to say about its graphics. The original 16-bit visuals may not appeal to HD fans but for those who are familiar with pixel technology, they are as charming as the day they were introduced. Maybe even more so now that it provides a welcome change, aesthetics-wise, in contrast to the number of hastily made titles out today.

There are even subtle visual details to be found in the game. One such tidbit is the fact that each colored bubble actually represents one of the original enemies from its origin, Bubble Bobble. Though nothing game play changing, it is surely enough to earn brownie points from us. This old school game's attention to detail sets it apart even when stacked up against some modern titles.

As a port of Taito's retro game, Puzzle Bobble online is mostly a success. There are no major lags, hangs or freezes to contend with, even when using a standard laptop. The only thing they could have done to make things better was to include a button configuration list. As it stands, you will have to do guesswork in order to figure out which key presses corresponds to start or bubble launch due to the fact that only the original notifications are kept.

The sound design for this title is nothing to be wowed by, but the fact that it complements the game play is still noteworthy. The looping background music is whimsical and upbeat without being stress-inducing. Sound effects such as the one that plays when launching bubbles or the satisfying bursting sound after a successful match also adds to the fun of the title. Our only gripe here is that the voices used for the mascots sound a tad helium induced. Now if only Bub and Bob did not sound like chipmunks, Puzzle Bobble would surely get a perfect in the audio department.

The Verdict

Puzzle Bobble online retains all the elements which made its arcade counterpart a success the world over. The game's interesting bubble launching physics, cute as a button visuals and nostalgic sound bites is a fitting game for retro gamers of any age. Thanks to its challenging yet well-balanced game play, this title offers plenty replay value for puzzle veterans looking to spend hours on a game with substance. If you are even remotely interested in physics heavy match-three games, master it and get a whole new appreciation for one of the games that started the puzzle game craze. We give this game a bubble breathing dinosaur’s 95/100.