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Game review: Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! (Switch)
Thu, 1st Jun 2023

Puzzle Bobble has been a gaming franchise for as long as I’ve been alive. My first memory of the series was playing a version of the game on the old Amiga computer. This version of the game was a side-scroller, and it was very colourful and quite fun.

Almost 30 years later and the popular series is still going strong. Developer Taito has released a new game in the franchise this year called Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! While it’s not available for newer systems like the PS5 and Xbox Series X, you can get this game exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, though.

Unlike the old Amiga game I played all those years ago, Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! for the Nintendo Switch is strictly a puzzle game. You don’t have to side-scroll through various levels, as the main goal of this game is to get rid of all the coloured bubbles littering the entire screen.

In order to pop the bubbles, the cute little bubble dragons are able to throw bubbles of their own. To make sure the bubbles pop, the player has to match three or more matching colours. The more colours that are connected, the faster you are able to finish a level.

Each level has a time limit to ensure you’re not working too slowly. The game over screen also occurs if the bubbles you haven’t popped reach the bottom of the screen. When this happens, the cute dragon inexplicitly dies for some reason in comedic fashion.

Even though Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is a puzzle game at heart, this game actually has a single-player and co-op story mode that you can play through. The story is simple: some Minoroons creatures start blowing too many bubbles on Rainbow Island. The bubble dragons are now needed to pop all the bubbles that the Miniroons created accidentally.

The story mode is surprisingly lengthy as it features seven different worlds, with each of them having over a dozen levels. The cool thing about the story mode is that you can play it by yourself or up to three other players using co-op. If, for whatever reason, you don’t have any friends or family members, the AI can also cooperate with you too.

For each level you do, you can earn up to one or three stars during completion. The faster you finish a level, the more stars you will earn. If you are struggling to finish a level, you can call an assist, and this will tell you where you can point at the bubbles. When you use an assist, you’re only allowed to earn one star.

The game can be quite challenging if you’re playing the game by yourself. Some levels are easy, but others can be hard due to strict time limits. Playing with the AI as your partner makes the game easier in comparison. This is because the computer knows what it is doing and can solve puzzles much faster than the human brain can.

Even though the main goal of the game is to break three or more coloured bubbles, there are some obstacles that stand in your way to vary the gameplay. Sometimes you can acquire bombs to blow away multiple bubbles at the same time. On another level, the bubbles can change colour, and you will need to be careful where you place the bubbles, or else you might get the wrong colour.

Outside of the story mode, there is a VS mode where you can play with friends in the same house or with other players online. This is actually the first game in the series where you can take the fight online. Bear in mind you need an online subscription from Nintendo if you want to play with people from all around the world.

Playing in VS mode can be quite challenging because the other player can sabotage your progress depending on the upgrades that they earn. It can be quite fun playing with another person, although there aren’t too many different game modes to make it feel fun after several hours of gameplay.

The last mode in the game is a crossover called ‘Puzzle Bobble vs. Space Invaders’. Instead of only popping bubbles, you will also have to avoid laser blasts from the aliens in Space Invaders. This mode doesn’t have much content to it, but it’s a fun way to play a different side of Puzzle Bobble.

For a puzzle game, there aren’t too much different game modes to make the gameplay feel fresh and exciting. Not to mention the game is pricey in New Zealand as it costs around $64.99.

While Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is a fun little puzzle game, I feel the game could have had more content to justify its high price. Sure, the story mode offers tons of levels, but more could have been done to make the multiplayer modes more enjoyable, in my opinion.

Verdict: 7.5/10