Developed By: Taito Published By: ININ Games, Strictly Limited Games Categories: Puzzle Release Date: 05.23.23
It really has been a while since the last Puzzle Bobble hasn’t it? If we’re not counting Touhou Spell Bubble, which for all intents and purposes is a Tohou themed Puzzle Bobble, it’s been twelve years since the release of Universe on the 3DS. If I’m correct, ths might be the first time the series hasn’t been called Bust a Move in the US, which makes this quite the occasion…I mean if you care about the names. Thank god we have good cover art again for the series too.
In somewhat of a surprise to me, Everybubble has a story. While Bub, Bob, Peb, and Pab are dragons who can blow bubbles, plenty cannot. The Miniroon for instance wish they could, but they probably should have been more careful what they wished for. They were given the power to blow bubbles and blow they most definitely did. There’s far too many bubbles now, even capturing some friends! Time to stop and Miniroon and get our friends out of those bubbles.
Puzzle Bobble is a puzzle game about tossing bubbles. This isn’t a block puzzle game, but it does fall into the match puzzle game sub-genre. You’re going to see a bunch of different colored bubbles on the playing field. Your character, who sits stationary in the center of the field at the bottom can shoot these colored bubbles out. You’re going to want to match at least three bubbles to make them pop. You can’t just pick what color though, there’s a set order, so you’ll need to be strategic.
You won’t get exactly far if you just shoot directly at the bubbles, so try bouncing them off of walls. If you want to score really big points, even try hitting a point that can and will make other bubbles just drop. You can find star bubbles that clear all of the color you just shot at it, something that never stops feeling amazing to do, even if it’s just one move. Later levels introduce bubbles that can burst and spread color to others, some that can switch colors every second or so, or even just bombs and planks that work with each other.
Everybubble does have a story, but it also has a story mode. In this, you’ll just be doing short levels where the goal is mostly just to clear the bubbles. Do it fast enough and you’re get a good star grade. For some levels, it’s easier said than done. Knowing how the game works can make these tasks much easier and you could even find yourself beating some levels in a second. Just don’t get comfortable.
One of the most exciting aspects of the story mode is the ability to play co-op in it. Up to four players. You’ll pick your character, pick an outfit (I will clown on you if you use the rainbow afro) and then get to business. It can be said again and again, time and time again, games are elevated by having co-op. Is it already a fun game? Then it’s even better now. As long as it’s optional, and for Everybubble it is.
The story mode also hosts the “Baron Tower”, which is full of survival stages. Last as long as you can, get as many points as you can, and then move to the next level.
Everybubble introduces a brand new mode that mixes up Bubble Bobble with Space Invaders, aptly titled Puzzle Bobble vs Space Invaders. You have the long lines of aliens, now in those colored bubbles. You need to clear them out before they drop down and invade. You’ll shoot your bubbles like you would, but now you can only shoot straight up. This can be a bit tricky and perhaps a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re paying attention to dodge the incoming fire towards you, but there is some good news. This mode also has four player functionality. It’s co-op, but you’re competing at the end of the game to see who contributed more. I love the Space Invaders series, so I still had a good time with this little crossover.
The last Bobble game we got was Bubble Bobble 4 Friends. While I liked how it looked personally, some people aren’t a fan of the “lower budget” 3D look it had. 2.5D is always going to be contested. However, Everybubble goes straight for HD hand-drawn art. Outside of the cutscenes maybe looking a bit cheap with limited animation, the game looks gorgeous. It’s up there for the best looking game in the series, though those old sprites will always be close to my heart.
Something I’m sure most people won’t notice in regards to the sound design of this game, but is a very cute touch is the sounds the game makes when you just move around the menu. It plays a little song. I’d recommend fiddling around in a part of the game that lets you move around a lot. I’m also in love with all of the cute voices every character has.
When you’re in need of a break, there’s a little menu that lets you read into info on the characters, listen to music, and kind of just learn more about the game and it’s small bits of lore.
Bubble Bobble Everybubble might be the only Bubble Bobble game we’ve had in the last decade, but it’s also one of the best we’ve had in the series. Not every game needs that modern touch, but the additions that Everybubble has are the QoL improvements that make it worth your time. And if you get a physical release, you even get a copy of the original game!