Nintendo Nintendo Switch Reviews

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! Pops All The Right Bubbles

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Puzzle Bubble Everybubble! - Nintendo Switch Review

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!

Developer: Taito
Publisher: ININ Games
Release Date: May 23, 2023
Available as: Digital and Physical

After many years, one of the most beloved puzzle game franchises of all time makes its return with an all-new installment, Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! Puzzle Bobble originally began as a spinoff series to TAITO's Bubble Bobble. Instead of blowing bubbles at enemies and crashing into them, Puzzle Bobble blows multicolored bubbles into other bubbles while trying to solve each individual puzzle. It was best known in America as Bust-A-Move, which if readers recall my recent Bust A Groove retrospect, would remember how problematic this would be as far as naming conventions were concerned.

Beginning with Puzzle Bobble 3D, the series would enter a reboot, shifting from its traditional 2D gameplay to a more advanced 3D element. While it was an ambitious title, it wasn't quite as memorable or as familiar to veteran fans of the series as the older titles. Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! brings the franchise back to its original glory for the first time on the Nintendo Switch. Once again, a very special thanks to ININ Games for allowing me the opportunity to review and cover yet another modern Taito classic!

The dialogue is very self-aware that these critters keep getting caught. Poor things.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! features the Bubble Dragon quartet, Bub, Bob, Peb, and Pab on their latest adventure with familiar adversaries. Bonner, better known to older Bubble Bobble fans as Drunk (Or Dreg), does what he does best and causes mischief. This time, it's giving all baby dragons unable to blow bubbles the power to, well, blow bubbles. Of course, this goes against the natural order of things and none of the dragons know how to control their newfound power. This leads to most of the dragons somehow being trapped in their own bubbles along with the Chack'n. Fortunately, the gang arrives just in time to save their friends, but there are a lot of buddies to save and not a lot of time.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble's main story mode consists of saving the various Chack'n as well as figuring out the person responsible for the mayhem. Each stage gives the player a number of Chak'n to free and this is done by firing bubbles at other bubbles of the same color. The Puzzle Bubble 3D game is the best example of this, yet Everybubble! not only has a dedicated VS mode. There are also unlockable characters that players can earn by clearing the story mode content. For over 30 years, the Puzzle Bobble formula hadn't changed much in Everybubble!, feeling more like a reboot and keeping things simple.

There are many variations of puzzles with greater rewards earned by time completion.

Bust A Move 4 was one of the first video games I've played, thanks to the awesome demo disc I had as a kid, so I've always been familiar with the gameplay. Each Puzzle Bobble game was unique, with some focusing on single-player content over VS combat and vice versa. As Everybubble! is meant for a console player experience, there's more emphasis on single-player content this time around, much like The Baron Is Back.

But that's not a negative thing at all! The traditional 2D art style featured in a handful of Bubble Bobble games makes a return and I prefer this a lot over the 3D graphics from PB3D. There are cutscenes showing the bubble dragons interacting with other characters, the world around them, and each other. This is, again, reminding me of the older Bust-A-Move titles, especially 2001.  Everything I've said about Puzzle Bobble 3D can be applied to Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! yet fans can rejoice knowing that this is an entirely new entry in the series. Not a remaster or a rerelease.

Bonus and more challenging modes await those who find the normal challenge too simple.

The sounds can get a bit repetitive which is a critique that's expected from a game based on an arcade franchise. After listening to the same song that plays every single round for an hour, you kind of want variety. One thing I wished Everybubble! had was the inclusion of music from other games in the Puzzle Bobble series, either as secret unlockables or DLC. The original soundtrack is okay but it does become "ear-wormy" after about a solid hour of hearing the in-game music while in story mode.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! provides hours of classic bubble-busting gameplay as well as an exclusive mode combining Puzzle Bobble and Space Invaders. The iconic Invaders have Invaded the dragons' home as if defeating a nefarious wizard wasn't already enough of a hassle. Fortunately, the dragons have been practicing as the gameplay is similar to the original Space Invaders yet with the aiming and shooting of a Puzzle Bobble round. This is one of the game modes that actually had a fun multiplayer element and it's one I recommend for a unique spin on both games.

While there are no barricades to hide behind, there's the power of bubbles on our side.

Without a second hesitation, Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! earns my recommendation with a slight bias as I've grown up with this series on my Sony PlayStation console beginning with Bust A Move 4. Everybubble! being a Nintendo Switch console exclusive didn't surprise me as Bubble Bobble is best known on the Nintendo consoles outside of the arcade release. Nintendo Switch fans would enjoy having this in their collection not just for the exclusivity, but for the fun factor as well. Regardless, this is a can't-miss inclusion to a thirty-plus-year franchise that we hopefully see more of in the near future!

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is now available on the Nintendo Switch.

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