You don’t get much more straightforward than a puzzle game like Puzzle Bobble. Taito first launched the series in arcades in Japan back in 1994, after which it made its way to the west under the title Bust-a-Move, putting players in the role of characters from 1986 arcade classic Bubble Bobble as they took aim at an ever-descending stack of bubbles and set forth to pop them all before they come crashing down. The setup is pure tile-matching bliss, and all the good parts of it are very much intact along with a lot more in the latest entry, Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!.
Everybubble! takes the arcade puzzling we know and love and brings it to Nintendo Switch with a new four-player co-op adventure, various online and offline multiplayer modes, a Puzzle Bobble vs. Space Invaders crossover and more. You can either stick to the game you’re most familiar with and try to rise up the high score ranks, or dive into a lengthy story mode complete with new items and gimmicks that switch up the basic bubble-popping action. There’s no wrong way to play Puzzle Bobble, but the new release from ININ Games proves that you can never have too many options when it comes to hanging out with Bub, Bob and the rest of the crew.
Whether you’re invested in the plight of the Rainbow Islands or not, you’ll find plenty of meat on the bones of the single-player or cooperative adventure at the heart of Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!. Each stage has you attempting to rescue your friends who are trapped in bubbles, and in addition to throwing in new parameters that make each successive stage that much trickier, there are special bubbles, crates and other spanners in the works that will have you thinking outside of your usual bubble-aiming box.
The presentation of Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is delightfully simple and clean. Sure, you can expect your room to be filled to the brim with the gleeful and poppy sound effects—and worrying timers as the clock dwindles, of course—throughout, but there’s something relaxing about jumping back into this colorful puzzler and popping away. Even if the later stages get too difficult for you at a certain point, losing and retrying is a painless and speedy process, as is moving from one stage to another for the typical “just one more” hook associated with the series.
Replay value is abundant in Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!, which will entertain players for as long as they maintain an interest in Puzzle Bobble in general. If you’re looking for a go-to puzzler to park on your Switch home screen, Everybubble! is an abundantly attractive option.
Publisher: ININ Games
Systems: Nintendo Switch