Bubble Bobble: Double Shot Review - 04/04/2008

Bubble Bobble has been around since the dawn of videogames and has received many spin-offs in recent years, but will this one prove to the world that the long-lived series isn’t dead?

Bubble Bobble Double Shot puts you in the shoes of the 3 different Dinosaurs: Bub and Bob (brothers) and Bubu, their cousin. The game starts after they all visit their grandfather and discover a map in his attic. They then all decide to go on a magical adventure and find the treasure located on a deserted island. It’s all fairly familiar and sounds like all of the previous titles, and the gameplay doesn’t differ much either.

The gameplay in fact is extremely lacklustre and shows no effort to change the terrible formula that even seemed bad 15 years ago! You move with the D-pad, shoot bubbles with Y and jump is B. Obviously to kill the many enemies on the screen you need to trap them in a bubble and then jump on them. This is very simple and even youngsters will want more complex play to differentiate levels. Some enemies can only be trapped in certain bubbles, so if an enemy has a blue star circling it, you need to hit L/R until you control Bob and you can then shoot a blue bubble to trap him. This can cause confusion as to what to do when you first encounter a situation like this, but the boss battles are even more frustrating. There are 100 levels in Bubble Bobble and every 10 a boss will appear. These will be a larger version of what you have been killing throughout that particular section, but can take hours to conquer!

The visuals haven't exactly been improved.

For instance, the first boss, a mechanical 'bug-thing', shoots mini-enemies which keep killing until a lightning power-up will be displayed on the screen. You will need to then get the lightning power-up at exactly the right time or it will miss the boss. What’s even more annoying is that when you touch an enemy you lose one life and therefore have to restart the level again. Once your 3 lives are up though, you will be forced into a small mini-game which involves you tapping feet icons in order to run from a monster with the stylus, or tapping the correct bubble on screen. Unfortunately this is the best part of the entire experience! But it does mean that you will not be able to lose, even if you try!

The graphics and sound are also really sub-standard, and would look shameful on a Gameboy colour! It shows no sign of effort and when compared to Nintendogs and Animal Crossing, it’s left in the dark. Surely, when making a 2D game, you can focus more on graphics due to no complex physics or gameplay to worry about. But instead it looks like an original Mario game on the SNES and sounds like an annoying Polyphonic ringtone.

At least there are plenty of levels.

Multiplayer has also been implemented this time-around, but whilst playing anything with mates is a decent experience, this is the exception that proves the rule. It is Co-op of the single player campaign, but if one of you is just touched by an enemy, you will all have to restart the level and all be put back to square one.

This is a game that should be avoided, and I’m very surprised that it’s actually been licensed for release by Nintendo. So if somebody gives you this, give it straight back (unless you need something to torture a bully!), as it’s an embarrassment to a once popular franchise.

- Sam Foster



Rising Star Games