Puzzle Bobble 3D: Vacation Odyssey – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle, Arcade
Developer: Survios
Publisher: Survios, Taito Corporation, United Games Entertainment GmbH
Platform: PS4, PS5

Puzzle Bobble 3D: Vacation Odyssey – Review

Site Score
Good: Concept, Fun for everyone
Bad: Awkward controls, Feels like a mobile games at times
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(0 votes)
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We’re arriving a bit late at the party, as the game we’re reviewing here is in fact already more than a year old. That being said, the game is getting a physical release, and that’s a good reason to take a closer look at this 3D Puzzle Bobble game. Puzzle Bobble 3D: Vacation Odyssey is a very original release in the Puzzle Bobble franchise, as you’ll be shooting colorful orbs in a 3D environment, rather than a 2D playing field. We were back in the vacation spirit thanks to the game’s colorful beach backdrops, but we did struggle a bit with the overall menu presentation and the somewhat lackluster controls.


There is no clear story in Puzzle Bobble 3D, but you’ll get a few comic book-like panels sketching a situation. It seems that Bub and Bob are enjoying their time off when a party-pooper messes things up. After this, it’s up to you to fix the damage this miscreant has done. That’s basically all there is in terms of story, but we didn’t mind the absence of a bigger plot.


Graphically the game looks quite nice. The 3D rendered characters look cute, and the different backdrops are also fun to see. This iteration of Puzzle Bobble lets the player get their bubble-popping groove on in a 3D playing field, unlike the 2D field of the other mainstream games of the series. The 3D animations are nicely done, even though the game overall looks very basic. We very much disliked the menus, which gave us the impression we were playing a very cheap mobile game. Even the map for the story levels looked extremely cheap.


The game’s sound design is great. The background music is very upbeat and you may recognize a few tunes here and there if you’ve played previous titles in the series. We loved the soundtrack and more than often we just kept the game on pause to enjoy the music. The sound effects are basic, but they sound decent. We did like the audio feedback via the DualSense controller’s speaker a lot.


Puzzle Bobble 3D: Vacation Odyssey is, as the name may imply, an arcade puzzle game. In this game, you’ll have to fire colored orbs at a core that is also surrounded by other colored orbs. The moment you can match three orbs, these will be popped, allowing you to slowly clear away the orbs that are surrounding a core. When you’re able to hit the core if it has no surrounding orbs (or has only one attachment), then you’ll beat the level. This is a bit different than the previous releases, as there was no real core to which the orbs were attached.

The game does spice things up by setting specific clear conditions such as having limited orbs at your disposal, having to clear the level within a time limit, or just trying to get the highest possible score before the cores are sucked into a void. You’ll also encounter special orbs, which may clear all orbs of the same color when hit, or you’ll even encounter obstacles that are unpoppable. The biggest twist of this release, however, is that you’re doing it all on a 3D playing field, and every time you shoot at orbs you want to pop, all the remaining orbs will move around their core due to the impact. This makes planning a lot harder than in the other games of the series.

Even though the game is very entertaining, we did have a few issues with the controls and how the game was structured. We understand that it takes some skill to pull off certain shots, but more than often we felt like the controls were working against us. We often aligned a perfect shot, we didn’t adjust anything and still, the game would suddenly slightly alter our shot. In the levels where the cores are moving this is of course to be expected, as you’ll also need to time your shots but it’s very frustrating when it happens when the core isn’t moving at all. Secondly, you’re paying for a full-fledged console game, but the menus are shaped like a mobile game, and even the power-ups are very reminiscent of a mobile game. You’ll have to collect coins to buy power-ups, and we were constantly reminded of something we’d see in a Candy Crush-like title.


Puzzle Bobble 3D: Vacation Odyssey is a very amusing title, albeit with a few design flaws. We loved the game’s concept and we quite enjoyed playing through the game’s different stages, but at times we struggled with the controls and we found that the menu presentation and the power-up mechanics felt more like a cheap mobile game. That being said, if you’re a longtime fan of the series, and you want to challenge yourself with this iteration’s 3D gameplay, you can’t really go wrong with this one.

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Aspiring ninja.

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