Puzzle Bobble Pocket (Import)

February 1, 2005

[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/puzzlebobblepocketimport/cover.jpg[/floatleft]They have returned. The vicious purveyors of the spined-sphere launching weapons of mass destruction have once again burrowed up from hell to dispense misery and genocide upon the bubble population of the world. [i]Cringe[/i] in mild discomfort as their bright, cartoonish visages dance at your misfortune; [i]grunt[/i] as a spring-mounted assailant delivers rounded punishment to your left-adjourned prison of doom. The addictive puzzle game has finally been delivered to our PlayStation Portables, and we may now quake in fear as Bub and Bob force us to take part in their sick circular circus.

Hyperbole aside, the game itself is much like every other version that has come before it-connect up chains of three or more similar-colored bubbles to explode them. See if you can connect them up in such a way that you will disconnect others from underneath them, and either A) get rid of the bubbles the fastest, or B) deliver a swift punishing shower of bubbles upon your opponent.

[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/puzzlebobblepocketimport/ss08_thumb.jpg[/floatright]As far as language barriers go, [i]Puzzle Bobble[/i] is somewhat of a godsend to the wily importer, with bright, colorful, and friendly letters telling us where to go, from the usual puzzle mode, to VS mode, to survival, to endless-a veritable cornucopia of bubble-popping fun for the entire family.

Graphically, the game uses the PSP to create a colorful, smooth, and vivid cartoon world. Bubbles pop in a Skittles-esque rainbow, as another avalanche collapses upon your foe, and your maniacal combatant squeals viciously in victory. Everything zips by at the expected unheeded frame rate and doesn’t seem to distract you with ridiculous light shows at the crucial moment of insertion.

The game itself has changed very little from the first PlayStation version. However, introduced to this version is the noble rainbow bubble-a bubble of such ferocity that its powers make even the most ardent dinosaur quiver. Connect three or more bubbles near it, and it will convert any nearby bubbles to the [i]very same color[/i]. Aghast? You will be. As with enough converted bubbles and more rainbow bubbles connected to them, a chain reaction will be caused, and points will pour down upon you like rain.

[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/puzzlebobblepocketimport/ss03_thumb.jpg[/floatleft]As expected, Taito has introduced a new selection of characters, with different collections of bubbles that they can release upon their opponent once a combo is fired off. The characters themselves are the same unremarkable shade of quasi-Disney with such marvelous names as “Monsta.” Why must they dress their simple game with these ridiculous wardens of colorful carnage? I need no distractions-not with this game.

[i]Puzzle Bobble[/i] is both fiendishly hard and enormously addictive. While at first it may seem as if it has only occupied you quickly, hours will pass and it will be nearing the witching hour. It may even pass the witching hour-so potent is this puzzle bobbling. While nothing much has changed, the larger screen allows for gigantean towers of bubbles to be portrayed and epic bubble battles to be waged between multiple players over the wonder of wireless networks. While many will criticize its few changes, it is a sharp, colorful, and brilliantly fun game-and those same people probably own both this, [i]Puyo Pop Fever[/i], and [i]Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine[/i]. Be a sucker. Go on.