If there is one genre of games that has swept competition time and time again, it’s puzzle games. Tetris, probably the most famous puzzle game ever created, was released over twenty years ago and it is still played to this day. The reason why? They are simply fun and incredibly addictive. These games draw gamers in to try and earn the highest score they possibly can over countless attempts. With classics such as Dr. Mario, Bejeweled, Puzzle Fighter, Zuma and Peggle, this genre will hold its place in the gaming world for a long time to come.
Joining the puzzle scene is Bubble Nervous, a newly released iPhone game developed by Vetasoft. This is the company’s second entry in the App Store; the previous being Paradise Monkeys, another iPhone game featuring fun mini games and, well, monkeys. With colorful graphics and charming themes, Bubble Nervous tries to make a dent gamer hearts with its cute characters and addictive gameplay.
The story of Bubble Nervous appeals to the adorable tone the developers tried to create. Bubbles from outer space have invaded the Earth and begun to colonize. Now, it’s up to Professor Milo, his assistant Lisa and their pet dog, Fidji, to save the planet! In order to complete this task, Professor Milo must place the bubbles into a liquid he created and vaporize them by matching the same color bubbles together. Only then can Earth be liberated from this invasion of vibrant bubbles. The story isn’t action-packed or deeply moving but can anyone dislike a story such as this? Maybe gamers who wish only to destroy buildings and mow down enemies with Ak-47’s won’t find anything attractive about this story but those with a little more innocence in their hearts will smile and continue to partake in this adventure.
The gameplay is as simple as the story. Still, Bubble Nervous is an enjoyable experience. When game starts up, the only mode available to the player is story mode. No variations or extreme types of gameplay, story mode is the normal way to play the game. There are forty levels total and each begin with a glass container filled with variant amounts of bubbles. Professor Milo stands besides the tub holding three bubbles in his hand above the others. The player moves the professor’s hand by tapping the right and left arrows and can also cycle through the order of the three bubbles by tapping the circle located in the top right corner of the screen. Once ready, a quick tap on the lower, center portion of the screen causes Milo to drop the bubbles into the liquid and if you match three or more bubbles of the same color, they burst, adding more points to your high score. The whole point of this is to vanquish every bubble inhabiting the locale. Once complete, the level ends and then it’s on to the next. However, if the time expires or if the player overflows the container, it is game over.
In some of the levels, there is a star residing with the bubbles in the container. After helping Milo conquer all the bubbles, the player collects the star. These can be used to unlock the other modes in the game which consist of rush mode, time mode, 4 mode, 5 mode and edit mode. Rush mode gives the player ten seconds to drop one bubble in order to form a chain reaction wiping out every single bubble on screen. Time mode is the same exact mode as story but with a much shorter time limit. 4 mode and 5 mode just increase the number of bubbles required to be match together in order to make them burst (4 requires four of the same and 5 requires five). Edit mode allows players to edit their own level which is actually really fun since you can choose how many lines and different colors of bubbles along with how randomized you’d like it to be. Bubble Nervous offers a lot of variety and it should be gladly welcome. The game is fun and forces players to use there reflexes (more so in time mode and rush mode) which is what good puzzle games accomplish. It may not seem like there’s much to do besides burst bubbles but the game quickly gets addictive and before you know it, you’ll have completed half of the modes.
The game does have its downsides, however. There are three power ups that help players complete their mission. The first is a bomb that blows bursts any bubble directly surrounding it, the second is a type of laser that gets rid of every bubble in the same horizontal line it lands on and the last (and the best) power up is a black ball that wipes out every bubble of the same color it lands on. These power ups are great but it is too bad that there are only three. With each mode having its own set of levels, the power ups can get old pretty quickly. The experience would equal much more had there been some more ways to pop bubbles. Even if players had to use stars to purchase more power ups would have helped longevity even further. Also, the game features three characters try to thwart to bubbles advance on Earth. Yet, the other characters do not do too much besides hang out at the main menu or the credits. It would’ve been cool to have Fidji take a bite out of the bubbles. Would that be unnecessary? Maybe; but it is wishful thinking. There’s also no marathon mode which is a disappointment. Sometimes people don’t wish to play level by level and desire to see how long they can last before seeing the game over screen. That’s not available in Bubble Nervous, so once you reach level forty or twenty, it’s time to test out the next mode. Another problem is the difficulty. The game never truly becomes extremely challenging and there are segments in the game where level eighteen is easier than most of the previous levels. Many puzzle games start out easy and begin almost impossible toward the end but Bubble Nervous seems to never change pace. It’s nice to be thrown a curve ball once in awhile. That last letdown is that there are no leaderboards. After working so hard to gain the highest score one can achieve, there is no way to show it to anyone else besides shoving the iPhone or iPod Touch in someone’s face. Leaderboards help give motivation and competition to the players and that would’ve aided the game’s replay value in a large way.
The music in the game is absolutely phenomenal. There isn’t a huge variety but the tracks in the game switch from enchanting melodies to jazz tunes. They deliver a sensual feeling while playing the game that blocks out the silliness of the story and characters allowing players to concentrate on the task at hand. But when the container is about to overflow or the time is soon to run out, the music kicks it up a notch intensifying and forcing players to speed up their actions or find a way to lesson their load of bubbles. The graphics on the other hand lean more toward the silly and charming story of the game. The designs are both colorful and endearing to the eyes. What was especially remarkable was the fact that each color of the bubbles had their own emotion. It’s clear the designers at Vetasoft knew what they were doing.
Bubble Nervous is a solid puzzle game that is both enjoyable and addictive. The story and graphics display a charming vibe that is bound to have gamers smile at some point while the music brilliant and will soothe players no matter what their mood. Nonetheless, gameplay is the draw point of Bubble Nervous and the simple premise will have gamers returning over and over again. It’s not chaos and destruction like so many video games out there today, but sometimes simple, innocent fun is what soul needs. I mean, if you are a horribly sadistic person, you’ll probably be upset there’s no cartridge or CD to burn but otherwise, the story has a delightful element to it. The game is trying to reach out to the child in its audience and as long as the gamers allow it to, there will be an enjoyable experience.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com