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Review - Bust-A-Move (Puzzle Bobble)

Posted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:37 pm
by Trev

After posting my review of Trip'd, I thought I'd take a look at another 3DO puzzler. The game being reviewed is Bust-A-Move (which was also distributed by Panasonic...they released quite a few puzzle games) It is a well known classic title that is worthy of a spot in any 3DO owner's collection.


If you are a fan of Tetris then Bust-A-Move likely turned your world upside down (figuratively and literally) when you first played it. In this game you are trying, not to prevent the play field from building up, but stop it from growing down. This change of perspective is one of many things that made Bust-A-Move unique for it's day. The game is much more advanced than Tetris also. Each board is laid out in a different manner, that assures a great deal more variety and replay value. The colored (and special) bubbles give the player more options, and rest assured that underneath it's simple appearance lies a quite varied and deep game. Words probalby can't really convey this accurately, but after just a few rounds of play you are bound to see it for yourself.

Thank goodness graphics aren't very important to puzzle games, or else I'd be ripping apart Bust-A-Move in my review. Here is a game that doesn't even pretend to be 32-bit. In fact, most of the backgrounds look almost 8-bit to me. :P Atleast they change after every few puzzles (compared to the comparable 3DO game Trip'd) Considering how late this title was released in 3DO's life span (1st quarter of '96) there really is no excuse for this. The 3DO version had other enhancements ... why not the graphics? They could have been spruced up a bit without being distracting. Anyway, as I said before, they are fortunately not an important aspect of the title.


Both the music and sound effects in Bust-A-Move are very, how should I describe it ... cutesy This is not a bad thing (the repeating tracks did not get on my nerves any) but it is either something you enjoy, or you don't. The squeals of Bub & Bob are precious though. :wink:

Any disappointments that you might have in the audio/visual department however, are more than made up for in the gameplay. In this most important area, Bust-A-Move excels! It is extremely playable and easy to pick-up, though it will take time for you to discover all of the various techniques at your disposal. Soon though, you are sure to find yourself flinging bubbles like a pro.

The one player mode in this game is really far too addictive than it has any right to be. I can play it over and over again, and still come back for more. What is it about this game that gets you hooked? I really can't tell you... I'm not saying this to be a stinker ... I just don't know how to convey my addcition to this game. I realize this probably makes for a weaker review (sorry), but as I said before, after a few rounds of play you are bound to see for yourself just how good this game is.

Really, the only thing that I could possibly complain about in this mode would be the challenge. Honestly, I thought the game was just a bit too easy. To be fair though, I have been playing a lot of Bust-A-Move lately (I just beat the very tough DS update!) so perhaps this accounts for my feelings. Nevertheless, the challenge didn't seem very balanced in this version (I got up to around level 80 before I started having a hard time) There just wasn't that gradual increase in difficulty, and outside of a few puzzles (I could probably count them on one hand) I breezed through the game pretty quickly. This will certainly not be a problem to casual players though, and again to be fair this was the first version of the game (future editions have in fact proved overly tough) In the end, I remind myself that If I had to pick, I'd rather have it too easy than too hard.


The extra 3DO modes actually help make up for the challenge. Computer battle (a "tough one" according to the instructions) and Challenge record both ramp the difficulty up quite a bit. In the cpu battle I progressed through several of the ten opponents before getting beat by 'Rubblen' (where he ranks I don't know...the game doesn't say). He kicked my butt in a number of tough matches. Personally, I would have preferred if this mode offered identical, or mirrored puzzle boards for both you and the cpu. As it is, wins can often come down to "luck of the draw", not overall skill. I think this is a flawed design The record challenge game didn't do much for me either. How close I came to beating 'the worlds bubble busting record' I will never know, as the game once again skimps on the info and fails to tell you what the record is (there is really no booklet to speak of with this game, just a 4 page pamphlet)

Weak graphics, questionable music, play that varies from too easy to frustrating...I should be giving this game an average review at best. Yet here I am not just recommending it, but doing so strongly! It is just too darn addictive. I don't want to like this game this much, really. But it has hooked me like only the best puzzle games can.

Ignore the fact that Tatio has been milking this series for years, and that there are still newer versions being released. The original is definitely worth owning, and is one game that any 3DO fan (or fans, a great 2 player mode!) can, and should enjoy. One of my favorite 3DO titles ever, Bust-A-Move is a timeless game that is great fun! :D


Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:27 pm
by Tatsumaru
This game is awesome.
It's really freaking adictive, and I spent hours playing it on the SNES, I even remember the first time I searched 3DO on "Mercado Livre" (Some sort of a brazilian "eBay") the guy was selling it with Bust-A-Move, I was so happy when I found out 3DO had Bust-A-Move that I almost spent US$150,00 on it, gladly I could hold my enthusiasm and actually got the FZ1 model for US$30,00. 8)

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:49 pm
by Trev
I have so many versions of this game it's sick! Insanely addictive! I still love the original. :)

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:08 am
by 3DO Experience
I have it for the original NEO-GEO MVS, 3DO and.... I think some other console I can't recall... Saturn.

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:50 am
by BryWI

Posted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:15 pm
by Tatsumaru
3DO Experience wrote:I have it for the original NEO-GEO MVS, 3DO and.... I think some other console I can't recall... Saturn.
Neo Geo AES, that's a video game I'll never have...
I would love it, but the price people ask for it it's freaking ridiculous.

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:19 am
by 3DO Experience
I have an AES and an MVS but currently only MVS carts but I have an adapter so they'll work on the AES as well.

Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:27 am
by Austin
The AES is an investment initially, sure, but once you buy in, you realize you can get a good amount of awesome games fairly cheap (via early AES commons, or the MVS converter).

Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:54 am
by 3DO Experience
The only problem is the MVS converters are hard to come by, I lucked out. But the system does look really cool sitting on your shelf.

Posted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:09 pm
by Trev
Hmmm ... I have Bust a Move games for the following systems ...


Maybe more (this is what I can remember off the top of my head) And I bet I'll buy more versions as time goes on.

Posted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:14 pm
by Tatsumaru
DS bust a move could be much better, the idea it's great but the execution it's poor, the aim it's terrible and you're always throwing the balls somewhere that you haven't aimed. I was quite disapointed with this game. :?

Posted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:18 pm
by Trev
I appreciatd that they gave you a choice for control options though. While the stylus control is novel, I tend to stick w/the d-pad.

One thing I liked about the DS version was that it seemed to prompt more play by being tougher than some of the versions that came before it.

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:00 pm
by awbacon
I have Puzzle Bobble / Bust a Move for both the Neo Geo CD and 3DO, and unfortunately this is a case, for me at least, where the 3DO version is lacking.

The graphics just seem fuzzy, like nothing is in focus on my television, compared to the crisp visuals of the NGCD.

Then again I love the game so much I own it twice for two diff. systems haha

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:18 am
by phatrat1982
this was *the* game that ate all my quarters as a kid right next to good old Mortal Kombat. I have it on my cell phone SNES, GC, had it on Saturn, and would kill to get an original arcade cabinet running this game. If I ever buy a Neo Geo this is the first game I am buying.