Bust-A-Move Journey (iOS, Android)

There are TONS of bubble popping puzzle games on mobile (in fact I just reviewed one), but how did they all get started?  Well, the very first one was Taito’s Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move series.  It started way back in the 16-bit days on consoles like the SNES and NEO GEO, and featured characters from their popular Bubble Bobble arcade game.  And it’s been on practically every console since (although not lately), and it’s one of my top three favorite puzzle games.  You’d think Taito would’ve been more strict on their copyrights for this game, since there are tons of bubble popping puzzles on mobile now, but maybe they don’t mind, as even back in the day, Taito licensed out that idea to another company who made a similar NEO GEO game called Puzzle de Pon around the same time (not to be confused with Nintendo’s Panel de Pon).  Anyway, now the Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move series has gone full circle and is now a premium mobile game again (meaning not free-to-play).  I didn’t get to review it when it came out, but recently Taito had a sale on mobile games so I picked it up for two bucks (I think it’s normally five).  So I decided I’d do a quick review of it now on iPad.

The rules are like any other bubble popper.  Colored bubbles appear at the top of the screen, and you must aim and fire bubbles on the bottom using the touch screen.  When three or more match, they pop.  You have a certain number of bubbles to complete each stage, and if you run out, you have to start it over again.  Some stages require you to pop all the bubbles, some have a time limit, while others have you free Chack’n from bubbles.  Chack’n is from another early Taito arcade game called Chack’n Pop, and it even predates Bubble Bobble!

When you complete stages, you earn coins which you can use to buy power-ups to help you pass levels.  You must also watch out for many types of bubbles as you play.  If you can pop bubbles with keys in them, you can fight a boss if you have enough, which will net you more bonuses.  There are also timed events and bonus stages, too.

Even though this game isn’t free-to-play, there is still an in-game shop where you can buy more maps for 99 cents each, which is one of the few problems I have with this game.  The only other problem I have is that it’s too much like other mobile bubble poppers in that you always have limited moves.  In the old Bust-A-Move games, you could fire as many bubbles as you wanted, and the screen would slowly creep down and if the bubbles touched the bottom, it was Game Over.  So it had a more arcade action feel to it.  Aside from the bonus stages where you can earn coins and time limit levels, they don’t do that here.  I wish they would as it would help separate it from other bubble poppers.  But otherwise it’s still a decent game and it’s nice that you don’t have to worry about free-to-play quibbles like in-game ads, limited number of times to play, and the wall where you have to spend money to make it past ridiculously tough stages.

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and parental supervision is recommended for the in-game purchases.

One Response to “Bust-A-Move Journey (iOS, Android)”

  1. I played a lot of Bubble Bobble back in the day.

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