For me, the Switch is the perfect platform for remasters and re-imaginings of the classic games of yesteryear! I have recently enjoyed playing Pang Adventures which adds a glossy look and few surprises to one of my favourite arcade shooter/puzzlers. After popping numerous bubbles, I soon had the opportunity to actually create some!
Getting my grubby little mitts on Bubble Bobble 4 Friends was a no-brainer. I have always been a fan of the classic arcade game and couldn’t wait to see what new polish and ideas had been added.
The first thing that truly got my attention was the classic music was nicely in place, taking you right back to the original. The game grabbed my attention and my youngest son from the minute I powered up the game. The magic of the original was the true simplicity of the gameplay and the co-op element. This is all included in the new game and then some!
I love the idea that you can now play with up to 4 players, or should that be dragons!? The game looks and feels very honest to the original, with all the action happening on one single screen. The mission for each level is also easy to get your head around! Simply destroy all enemies on screen and then enjoy your spoils. To destroy your enemies, you simply blow out a bubble towards your foe, watch him/her squirm helplessly until you pop the said bubble. You can also use your bubble blowing abilities to reach higher platforms. The satisfying “pop” you hear from each burst bubble is music to your ears and is very satisfying.
The game also adds a new sheen to the original with new weapons and upgrades which are unlocked after every 10 levels or if you spell the word EXTEND by unlocking special letters in various stages. These new skills include lightning and bomb bubbles.
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends is a lot more fun when you have a number of people playing together. Of course, things can get quite manic and frantic when four dragons are shooting bubbles left, right and centre, but this all adds to games wonderful look and feel and it is much more satisfying moving on to a new level with some top teamwork on show.
There are 100 levels in total and I feel the learning curve and difficulty was just right. Myself and my sons often had to retry a level 2-3 times before moving on, this allowed us to feel a good sense of achievement without becoming too difficult and demotivating. After every ten levels you encounter a boss which I believe was not in the original game. The bosses are quite tricky and good timing and teamwork will help you move on to the next stage. These stages are a welcome addition to the game.
The game never drifts too far from the original and this must be credited. It oozes pure fun, charm and playability. In fact, as a lovely bonus, the original arcade classic is included within the game. One downside is the high price point, it is currently selling at almost a full price Switch title. But, if you love the original Bubble Bobble and are looking to play a great new version, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more shiny and POPular title!