Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade puzzle game
Developer: TAITO
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! – Review

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Good: A simple yet addictive gameplay formula
Bad: AI allies are more of a hindrance than a help
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We’ve only just looked at Gematombe, an arcade puzzle game that took inspiration from the Bubble Bobble series, and as luck would have it, that venerable series also had a recent outing on modern platforms. While retro enthusiasts and purists can dive into the original games that started it all on the Nintendo eShop, the main draw for the series’ triumphant return is the simultaneously released Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!. This story-driven adventure aims to appeal both to long-time fans of the series as well as introduce its cutesy protagonists to a new generation. We have a soft spot for Bubble Bobble’s adorable dragons, so we were more than eager to see whether or not Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! could live up to its illustrious predecessors.


While Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! boasts a so-called Story Mode, there isn’t a whole lot of depth to the narrative. We didn’t exactly expect Shakespeare, but for a game that prides itself on being the first story-driven entry in the series, we do feel like the lore could have been fleshed out a bit more. Set on the Rainbow Islands, Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! sees the franchise’s iconic dragons Bub, Bob, Peb, and Pab travel to every corner of their little world as they attempt to undo the chaos caused by the mischievous Miniroons. These mysterious characters have covered the islands in bubbles, trapping the residents in them. It’s now up to our heroic foursome to get rid of the bubbles, free the innocent island inhabitants, and stop the Miniroons from causing more havoc.


What Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! lacks in narrative depth, it more than makes up for with its visual presentation. The bright color palette oozes charm without making the interface feel cluttered or unreadable. The character designs are timeless and instantly recognizable, and you’re even able to customize your own dragon with wigs and hats. The different environments are varied enough to give you the feeling that you’re actually exploring the Rainbow Islands. Naturally, the game isn’t too taxing on the hardware, and given that the game is exclusive to Switch, it’s likely that it was designed with the limitations of the system in mind. Either way, the game’s visual performance is buttery smooth, and everything looks fantastic.


If anything, Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!’s soundscape is going to be divisive, mostly owing to the over-the-top Japanese voice work. Each stage is bookended by overly enthusiastic exclamations, and while we’re sure that there is an audience for this, we’re not it. Fortunately, the game’s OST fares a lot better, with a wide range of tracks that feels right at home on a Nintendo platform. Individual tunes are reminiscent of those heard in Kirby, Animal Crossing, and even Splatoon. The sound effects are crisp and fitting of the game’s fast-paced atmosphere, without becoming annoying.


Given the inherent simplicity of Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!’s core gameplay, we were afraid that the game wouldn’t offer up a substantial package. How wrong we were! Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is a shining example of an arcade title that takes a very simple concept and successfully pushes it to its logical extent. Players take control of one of the series’ iconic dragons and launch colored bubbles to the top of the screen, where clusters of more bubbles are blocking specific targets. Bubbles you shoot will make other bubbles of the same color disappear if you manage to connect three or more of them. A level is successfully completed when all targets have been cleared, and the faster you complete a level, the higher your score. If you make a few mistakes and the bubble cluster reaches a red line, it’s game over. This is in essence everything there is to Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!’s core experience, although there are plenty of additional mechanics that are gradually introduced and that shake things up. These include bombs and “neutral” bubbles that change color when they are hit, to name a few.

Upon booting the game, you’re met with three modes to choose from. These include Story Mode, which is where the bulk of the gameplay can be found, Versus for those looking to test their merit against others, and Puzzle Bobble vs. Space Invaders, a variant where up to four players can try to take down the titular aliens from that other famous TAITO franchise. The Story Mode includes a surprisingly lengthy campaign, spanning multiple fifteen-level worlds, with additional higher difficulty stages unlocked as you obtain three stars for each level. New mechanics are continuously introduced to keep you on your toes, although some are trickier to deal with than others. This does mean you’ll run into the occasional difficulty spike, but Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! never feels overwhelming or unfair, in part because of how streamlined and accessible the game is as a whole. Apart from the three aforementioned modes, there is an unlockable Endless Mode, the so-called Baron’s Tower, which tasks you with surviving until the bubbles inevitably overwhelm you. This mode is tied to an online leaderboard, meaning that the most competitive fans of the game potentially have months of gameplay to look forward to as they climb the ranks and defend their top spot.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to try out Puzzle Bobble Everybubble’s multiplayer aspects, and if there’s one thing we can fault the game for, it’s that the AI dragons that replace fellow human players are more harmful than helpful. Especially in Story Mode, we recommend sticking to solo gameplay if you can’t wrangle up a friend to join you. It’s a very minor complaint overall, because there is plenty of fun to be had here. While we had our doubts about the €39.99 price tag, which puts Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! in a different category than many of its direct genre competitors, we do feel like the game is definitely worth this price tag. The sheer amount of stages, combined with the potential for multiplayer mayhem makes for a game that will keep you shooting bubbles for a very long time.


Feeling instantly familiar yet modern, Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is a successful return to form for the classic franchise. Don’t be fooled by the simplistic appearance or the high price tag: Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! offers a hefty amount of content, with tons of addictive arcade action and a high replayability factor. We would’ve liked it had the AI dragons not been so utterly useless, but all in all, that’s a minor blip on an otherwise fantastic entry in the long-running series. If you’re still on the fence, a demo is available from the Nintendo eShop as well, but only for a limited time.

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