Developer: Taito | Publisher: 505 Game Street | Release Date: 2006 | Genre: Puzzle / Arcade | Website: N/A | Purchase: N/A
The Bust-A-Move (also know as Puzzle Bobble) series have always been a firm favourite of us, so we were delighted to see it finally reach the PSP. Don’t get us wrong, the Gameboy versions were good, but to do the series justice the wide-screen, full resolution PSP was always going to be a superior choice. The good news is that the game is still as addictive as ever and looking really good, but the bad news is that the formula is starting to wear a little thin by now.
Story wise there is nothing happening here, but instead you have a whole range of different gameplay modes to sink your teeth into. Everything from the Classic mode right through to new additions like “Ghost” and “Running Launcher” will keep you busy for ages and more than make up for the lack of a story. All the characters make a return, but instead of seeing them control the bubble launcher directly, they are confined to a small spot on the left side of the screen while a little tin robot does all the hard work.
The visuals have a new “spooky” twist with all kinds of Halloween backgrounds and graphics but nothing too strong for children. Everything is nice and bright with the cartoony visuals looking very crisp and clear on the PSP screen. With something like 500 levels in Classic Mode there’s a fair bit of repetition going on but once you are hooked the levels will just fly by. Just don’t try to complete everything in one sitting. This is one of those games that’s very handy to have on standby for long trips, long bank queues or other boring occasions.
The audio is nice with some catchy tunes, but after the millionth time you’ve heard them the novelty starts to seriously wear off. You might not notice it while playing yourself, but innocent bystanders will certainly point it out to you. Sound effects are classical Bust-A-Move fare that are also not obtrusive unless you are listening to someone else playing.
The brand new modes should satisfy longtime fans of the series, but apart from slight variations your goal is still to simply match up three or more like colored bubbles by shooting your bubble launcher. As such, if you were not a fan of the series before there’s nothing fundamentally changed here that’s going to sway your opinion. If you have been hooked before then you’ll certainly enjoy this version.
*Review originally published in 2006.