Bubble Bobble 4 Friends (Switch)

I…freaking…love…Bubble Bobble.  I don’t really remember seeing it in arcades, but boy I sure rented the HECK out of the NES version.  Many years later, when my little brothers were old enough to play games, Bubble Bobble was one of the first games I introduced them to, and they loved it as well.  And the main spin-off game, Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move, is one of my top three favorite puzzle games of all time.  So I was super excited to find out about a new Bubble Bobble game for Nintendo Switch.  Is it as good as previous titles?  Well you’ll just have to read the review to find out.

The story is a little different here.  It’s all set inside a kid’s bedroom, and bubble blowing dino Bub is just a plush toy on the bed, along with a stuffed wizard doll.  Two magical bubbles float in the window and bring the two toys to life.  The mean wizard doll bonks Bub on the head and uses his magic to trap Bub inside mazes with toy baddies that he has to get past.  To do this, Bub will have to clear the rooms of enemies by blowing bubbles at them.  Once an enemy is trapped in a bubble, you can then pop it and receive bonus fruit.  And that’s pretty much how you play the game!

They did change up some things here, however.  Long time players of Bubble Bobble will notice some physics changes with the bubbles right away.  Bubbles are harder to push around and you can stand on them without popping them.  Just press down if you do want to pop any below you.  After every set of levels, you’ll fight a boss.  When you defeat it, you’ll get a pair of goggles and gloves that Taito has had their dinos wear in recent games.  Each set gives Bub and the others a special skill they can activate, like blowing thunder or bomb bubbles.  But you have a limited number of uses so use them sparingly.  If you can find and pop a bubble with a letter in it quick enough and spell EXTEND, you can level up one of the skills.  And the kid’s room also has an original Bubble Bobble arcade cabinet (lucky kid) so you can play the old arcade game as well, which almost makes it worth the price of the full game alone.

So it’s pretty obvious that I like this game, but it does have a few problems.  The original arcade game doesn’t let you continue.  I know that other home versions of the arcade game would let you do that, and I wish this one did as well.  And even though in the new game you can play with four dinos at once, they kind of restrict you in that you can only join after one level is finished.  And the enemies and stage layouts just aren’t as imaginative as they could be.  Also, even though after you beat the game you can unlock a hard mode with the same levels but with faster enemies and spikes in places to make it more difficult to traverse, there are still less levels here than in the old arcade version.  In short, even though I love this game, I have had played better Bubble Bobble titles.  You know what would be really cool?  A Bubble Bobble collection!  It could have Bubble Symphony and Bubble Memories and even some of the puzzle spin-offs!  Get on that, Taito!

Kid Factor:

Bubble Bobble 4 Friends is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Cartoon Violence.  If you get hit, you just spin around and fly off the screen.  Enemies get trapped inside bubbles and when you pop them, they turn into fruit.  And that’s about as violent as it gets.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the menus and instructions, but not necessary just to play.  IF you die too much on a round, you can opt to play the level again while invincible, so even the youngest players can enjoy this one.  I can’t stress enough how much fun I had playing Bubble Bobble with my little brothers, so I know this game is great for kids, too.

One Response to “Bubble Bobble 4 Friends (Switch)”

  1. I like the graphics.

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