Bubble Bobble 4 Friends – The Baron is Back – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle, Platformer
Developer: Taito
Publisher: ININ Games, Taito, Arc System Works
Platform: PS4, Switch
Tested On: PS4

Bubble Bobble 4 Friends – The Baron is Back – Review

Site Score
Good: Fun Co-op, Graphics, Good Sound Design
Bad: Repetitive, Short Story, Too Easy
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

When it comes to arcade adaptations, there are plenty on the market. In order to keep relevance and replay value, many titles tend to switch up the main formula to make a pleasant experience. Bubble Bobble 4 Friends: The Baron is Back is one of those examples. The presentation and style are well done, but the gameplay and replayability aren’t enough to carry the mantle. Even with the option of 4 player co-op, the short playtime and lack of modes make it a hard pick among the genre of revamped arcade titles.


The story in Bubble Bobble 4 is shown in a single cutscene as soon as the game starts. One night, a child’s room began to emit a mysterious ray of light. And everything the mysterious light touched, turned inanimate objects to life, and this included the child’s favorite toy, a green dragon named “Bub”. Another toy, a magician named “Bonner”, who was always envious of Bub, challenges the dragon to a series of battles, starting the story.

For the most part, considering this game is based on an old arcade classic, expecting a full-fledged story from the latter wasn’t the primary goal. Aside from that, the presentation of the cutscene was short but sweet, showing the tension that Bonner has for Bub instantly, bonking it on the head countless times before going to the level select area.



Bubble Bobble’s cute art style is a noticeable highlight of the title. From the start of the game, players are introduced to vibrant colors and text throughout. Each of the playable characters has a sense of childlike wonder attached to them, as well as the enemies the players will encounter. This game can best be compared to the nostalgia of having a childlike imagination. Such things as block monsters and evil spinning tops can only be seen through a child’s perspective, which the game captures perfectly.

It’s safe to say the performance is clean also. Throughout the whole playthrough, even with multiple characters and enemies on screen, there haven’t been any noticeable dips in frame rates or force closing, which is a noticeable issue. Since the review is focused on the PS4 version, the options to alter the graphical settings to the players liking are not found here, except for the standard sound, music, and voice options.


Sound, in general, can be considered a grey-area among this title. The music is upbeat and filled with childlike wonder, primarily reminiscent of the past Kirby In Dreamland titles. As enjoyable as the music was, there just wasn’t enough of it. The game has a total of 4 stages and the song selection doesn’t really vary too often between stages. Needless to say, the musical themes that vary between each stage are enjoyable and fit the gameplay enough to not get repetitive after hearing it the first couple of times.

The majority of the time, players will most likely hear their own character blowing and popping bubbles and jumping from place to place, which all has a dreamy, noticeable jingle to it. Aside from the power-ups that alter the game, such as the bomb bubbles or the thunder bubbles, players will most likely hear the same sound effects throughout the title. The majority of the enemies players will encounter are silent, aside from the boss battles, which are only supported by soft grunts and moans when taking damage.


Bubble Bobble is a 2D puzzle-platformer, with a primary focus on high scores and ranking. Controls are simple enough, with the directional buttons or left analog stick for movement, and the x and square buttons to jump and blow bubbles. The game also supports up to 4 players in local co-op, making it much more enjoyable with friends

At the start of the game, players will have to travel through different areas of the child’s room, taking part in gauntlet-like stages in each area, eventually leading to a boss fight. In order to progress, players will have to defeat enemies by using the bubble mechanics to trap them. If players manage to trap multiple enemies at once in a bubble, they can pop them all at once by either jumping into them or nudging them to have each one simultaneously pop, greatly increasing the points gained. Afterwards, players will have a limited time to collect fruit around the area, which adds an extra bonus to the overall score.

Bubbles, for the most part, can also be used for platforming and traversal. In certain areas, there are plenty of hazards that are only able to be avoided by using bubbles. Players can use their own bubbles as platforms or as shields, making this a very important mechanic for the more difficult levels and bosses later in the game. As an added bonus, players have the option to collect “E-X-T-E-N-D” bubbles, which offer extra lives but also add unique skills and outfits.

These skills range from increasing the range of the bubbles, adding elemental effects, and even adding an extra mechanic that allows players to pass through enemies unharmed. However, as great as these skills are, this makes the game easier than it already is, especially when using the dash skill. If players really want a challenge, it’s best to stay away from using certain ones as it kills some of the enjoyment.

That being said, one of the main issues with the game is how easy the game is, as well as the replayability. Rather than have one very linear stage at a time, players will start a level and continue through the series of gauntlets until reaching the last area of the stage, which is most likely a boss fight. This formula wouldn’t be an issue if the game wasn’t so easy. Platforming puzzles are somewhat easy to figure out, and the majority of the enemies are stagnant, which doesn’t help the issue.


If certain players don’t really care about high scores, completion of the game can very well be reached under the two or three-hour mark. Sadly, there isn’t a real reason to go back to play, except the option to play the original version of Bubble Bobble, which is made available at the start of the game.


Bubble Bobble 4 Friends – The Baron is Back is a pleasant homage to the past games in the series. The game is enjoyable and childlike in appeal, but also in its gameplay. The added option for 4 player co-op is a welcome addition, but the lack of game modes and replayability, as well as how quick the game can be completed, put the game in an awkward position.

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Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends - The Baron is Back - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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