Bubble Bobble 4 Friends – Review
Follow Genre: Platform, Arcade, Multiplayer
Developer: Taito Corporation
Publisher: ININ Games, United Games Entertainment GmbH
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Bubble Bobble 4 Friends – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Nostalgic, has everything a classic platform game needs
Bad: Far too short and barely no narrative
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The legendary dragons Bub and Bob are back from the iconic Bubble Bobble series in their latest game Bubble Bobble 4 Friends. The first arcade game debuted in 1986 and swiftly captured the hearts of every Millennial and Gen X’er. Go through 100 levels in this platform game and defy the wicked magician. You can play alone or with up to 3 friends in the couch co-op mode.

Story

Bubble Bobble started as an arcade game and was released in 1986. The story is about two brothers named Bub and Bob who, one day, encounter an evil wizard. That same wizard kidnaps their girlfriends and turns the brothers into bubble-blowing dragons. It is now up to them to save themselves and their significant others. Back in the day, the game was a huge success and it rapidly made its way to home consoles. Sequels arrived soon after. This original arcade game is also included in Bubble Bobble 4 Friends.

As for the story of the latest game, there’s not much to tell. You start out in a children’s bedroom at night time. While the child is fast asleep, the plush toys of Bub and the wizard mysteriously come to life. And so they go back to their old ways. Bub now has to fight through 100 platform stages and boss battles to defeat his enemy.

Graphics

Bubble Bobble 4 Friends is bringing sexy back. We’re going old school by getting the feel and charm of the original games, except that now we get a smoother and better quality rendition of it. The game has also redesigned its flat platform to give us a feeling of more depth by adding CGI and mixing 2D with 3D on each level.

What definitely didn’t need any improvement from the older games are the colors. Bubble Bobble has always been vibrant and colorful, which is one of the things that makes the game so iconic. There’s a nice contrast between dim and bright colors so it does not strain the eyes while playing.

Sound

The player is treated by a melodic soundtrack throughout the game. Similar to carnival music but more upbeat. The background music gradually changes when you progress through the stages. The music is accompanied by playful sound effects from jumping, shooting bubbles and other animations.

Gameplay

The player starts on a world selection menu where they can choose to play the original Bubble Bobble from 1986 or start a new stage from the latest game Bubble Bobble 4 Friends. The game uses auto-save, so the player needs to finish the world in order to make progress.

Both the original Bubble Bobble and Bubble Bobble 4 Friends play the same and are similar to any other platform game. Here, the player jumps around the stage and pops bubbles. Every stage exists out of multiple platforms and enemies that run around. Come too close to those enemies and the player will lose a life. If you lose them all you will need to start the world over. 

As said in the story, the dragon(s) you (and your friends) play as can blow bubbles. To make progress, you have to trap the enemies in your bubbles and then pop them. If you can do this to all the enemies, you will complete the stage and move on to the next. After completing 9 stages you are faced with a boss battle. Beating a boss unlocks new skills to use in the regular stages, allowing you to equip more and better bubble attacks like long-ranged fire bubbles.

Next to eliminating enemies, you can collect E-X-T-E-N-D bubbles to activate and upgrade skills, such as lightning and bomb bubbles. To collect the word, you simply have to pop bubbles containing one of these letters.

Even though you play the same on both the original and the latest game, the objectives are fairly different. In the original, you just have to play from level to level, trying to go through the most stages to obtain a good high score. The better the score, the higher you appear on the leaderboard. You can play this game alone or with 2 players. Bubble Bobble 4 Friends, however, has a different endgame. This game only contains 5 worlds, each with 9 stages and one boss battle. Your objective here is to finish each world in order to finish the game. The game is doable alone but you can also play with up to 4 players. As a single-player, you could finish the whole game in under an hour which is very disappointing. 

Conclusion

If you grew up with this game, it is a must-have for the nostalgia and good memories. Not only do you get the new game, you can play alone or with family/friends, but you also get the original Bubble Bobble arcade game from 1986. If not, the game isn’t recommended to be added to your collection. Even though it is quite entertaining and enjoyable to play, the game is very short and you can only replay a game for so many times.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends – Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
JenRox
JenRox


“Keep your friends close, but your memes even closer”.

2 Comments

  1. Ibuki
    Ibuki
    April 13, 2020, 1:19 am

    Still have the original NES cart lying around. 🙂

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  2. […] Taito has been going strong with Bubble Bobble 4 Friends, releasing it on Switch just recently and already speaking of a future port. The port in question will be one for the Playstation 4 and is said to arrive by the end of this year. There will be new content included too, such as extra levels and even game modes, which will also see their debut in the Switch version around that same time. To get people excited for the port, ININ Games has announced a fanart competition. Any artist is free to create an original piece of art with Bubble Bobble 4 Friends as the theme. 10 Winners will be chosen and will be awarded a free digital code for the game as well as having their art featured in the credits. All information for the contest can be found here. Our own review of Bubble Bobble 4 Friends can be read through this link. […]

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