Game Review

Puzzle Bobble Plus! Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

The third Bubble Bobble series remake to hit WiiWare. Is it any good after the somewhat disappointing Rainbow Islands?

Puzzle Bobble - or Bust-A-Move as it's known in North America - is perhaps the most well-known game in the Bubble Bobble series. Almost everybody's played it in some way or form, with multiple versions and a ton of rip-offs over the years. With that in mind, does this newest version offer anything appealing for those who've played the other instalments or is it best left alone?

As always, the general gameplay is completely unchanged - as Bub from Bubble Bobble (strangely, Bob is missing in this version), you spin a large wheel which shoots bubbles. You have to aim these at other bubbles attached to the ceiling, which will slowly come down - match up three of the same colour and they'll disappear. You have to clear all bubbles off the screen before they descend all the way to Bub and his wheel, or you lose!

There's a total of eight differently coloured bubbles, but you'll only shoot those of the colour which still need to be eliminated: for example, if all red bubbles are completely gone (or there were none in the first place) then red bubbles will never be loaded into the machine to fire. A very useful gameplay mechanic is that you can bounce bubbles off walls, and you can use this technique to get bubbles into hard to reach spots. If you manage to destroy bubbles closer to the ceiling, which are "holding up" lower bubbles, the lower bubbles will have no more support and will instantly drop off the screen and be cleared as well.

For Puzzle Bobble Plus!, Taito has decided not to stick with the bare basics of the original arcade game - aside from the regular coloured bubbles, some stages will also have "guard blocks" and "support blocks" scattered between the bubbles. The guard blocks are indestructible metal blocks which usually hold bubbles up from above, with the only way to get rid of them to eliminate all surrounding bubbles. Support blocks seem to be made of wood, and they do pretty much the same thing, but the big difference is that if they reach Bub, you won't lose: they'll simply fall off the screen and no harm will be done. They can also be destroyed with fire bubbles (explained later), unlike guard blocks.

It seems that these two blocks just do nothing but needlessly frustrate you, however. There's multiple stages near the end of the game where there are literally tons of support and guard blocks, and there's absolutely no way to beat those stages unless you get extremely lucky and get nothing but the bubbles you need, which means you'll have to restart those stages many times. Keep in mind that if you lose even once you also lose your current score, so a single stage with a lot of support/guard blocks can instantly put an end to your high score attempt.

Your bubble-shooting machine will occasionally be loaded with one of four special types of bubbles from other recent Puzzle Bobble games. If the star bubble hits a coloured bubble, that bubble and all other bubbles with the same colour will be eliminated from the screen instantly; the fire bubble will destroy all bubbles and support blocks in a 1-space radius; the silver bubble will eliminate every single bubble in its path until it hits a guard/support block or bounces off the screen, and the rainbow bubble will stick to other bubbles. If you burst bubbles which touch the rainbow bubble, it will turn into the same colour bubble you just popped, basically leaving more of a mess for you to clean up!

Puzzle Bobble Plus! only has two real gameplay modes: the single player mode lets you go through 125 different stages spread across 25 different "zones", meaning there are 5 stages in every zone. After clearing a zone, you can pick one of two more to go to next. All the zones are divided into increasingly big "tiers": at the start of the game you can pick one of two zones. The next tier has three, but you'll only be able to select between two of them, depending on which zone you chose before. Aside from different stages, there doesn't really seem to be any difference between which zones you pick. The music is completely new and very unmemorable (and the original theme isn't even there!) and the background in every zone in the same tier is the same.

Naturally, a game of this nature can't go without a battle mode. You can play against increasingly difficult CPU opponents but be warned - they're extraordinarily hard and even the first opponent will likely completely annihilate you. You may want to play against a friend instead, although it's offline only, sadly! Against both CPU opponents and friends, popping more than three bubbles at a time or causing bubbles to drop off the screen by destroying their support will temporarily cause the bubbles on the opponent's screen to descend faster. As in most puzzle games, this mode can make for some fun times but is ultimately nothing special.

When you're done with the main game - which you probably will be quite quickly - there is once again some DLC for you to get if you'd like to have some more content. Puzzle Bobble Plus! has two packs, just like Bubble Bobble, with the first pack containing every stage from Puzzle Bobble 2, with the second pack including the developers' favourites from Puzzle Bobble 3 and Super Puzzle Bobble. For 200 points per pack both are definitely worth it, considering they give you just as much content as the standard game does!


Bubble Bobble was a great remake, while Rainbow Islands was a bit disappointing. With Puzzle Bobble, it seems Taito has covered all grounds, because it's right in-between: it's good, but not exactly worth getting very excited over. If you've never played a Puzzle Bobble game before it's worth getting, but if you've played multiple games in the series this one really won't do anything special for you. The developers' decision to keep some of the more questionable gameplay elements from recent games in the series in might put you off as well.

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User Comments (37)



Objection said:

I think this might be the first Bubble Bobble game I get.
Okay, in all seriousness, should I get this one or the first one? (D'oh, I did it again.) And if one were to get only 1 of the 2 DLC packs, is one slightly better than the other in anyone's opinion?



SilentJ said:

I haven't played one of these in a good while so I'm looking forward to downloading it when we get it in NA.



KoKoO_Psy said:

I would love to get it, but like pie4prez, if it is 600 points in NA, I will feel stoodged, ripped off and had.

Same reason I don't own Bubble Bobble, it just isn't right. Exchange rates don't help either.
It is just wrong. I will not have it!



MarkyVigoroth said:

800 WP?
Crooked cucumbers... if I buy World of Goo with a new hypothetical NPC, I would have 700 left...



MrPinguy said:

"Strangely, Bob is missing in this version"

So whos the blue dragoon on one of the pics? >_>
He's still there :3 (but maybe only in 2P mode or something)



Bass_X0 said:

I think I'll stick with my Puzzle Bobble 2 on the PS2 Taito collection. I probably would enjoy Plus too but I can't afford to be loose with my WiiPoints.



SmaMan said:

Man... I love Bust-a-Move 2 (or Bust-a-Move Again as it's sometimes called.) I played it all the time at this restaurant while we waited for the food to come. Ah, good times. I'll probably be getting this soon!



worrybomb said:

Online multiplayer would've really helped out Puzzle Bobble Wii in my opinion. I'm glad, though, that the game remains the same which can be a really great puzzler if this is your first time playing it. Definitely get it if you're new to the series.

As for me, I'll probably wait for Space Bust-A-Move for the DS.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

I'll definitely be getting this especially since I've never played Bust-a-Move before (wanted to try it in the past). And yes, I've predicted 600 Points since I first heard it was coming.



Knux said:

I might get this since I have never played Bust-a-Move before.




I do like this game even though I have played Bust a Move DS. One think I will say, I'm not enjoying it quite as much as I thought I would. Not to say it isn't good. 8 on a personal level, but 7 for the general gaming public is spot on IMHO



Bass_X0 said:

I am sometimes but yeah, I am less on now than I was before. for the past ten weeks I've been working and doing stuff during the day; before that I was at home most days so regularly posting on here was one of my pastimes.



jbrodack said:

I love that taito collection but thats the one part that pissed me off about it. I have the US version and in it bust a move looks and sounds like a cheap bootleg without any of the cute characters or anything. So this might be worth getting for me.



opeter said:

I did buy it. I like it. And I fully agree with the review. The biggest minus on my part for the game is: there is no scoreboard for two-player games. Thats a shame



Terra said:

I could do worse for 800 points. I'll pick it up at some point. Saving for a new 360 controller and NMH right now, so it could be awhile.



Sean_Aaron said:

Worth noting your score resets if you continue and you don't get to sign your initials unless you complete the game (your score is recorded though). The wooden blocks appeared in Puzzle Bobble 2; possibly the metal ones as well or Puzzle Bobble 3 or 4.

I just gave it another go last night -- still brilliant. I do miss the kooky characters from the 2nd and 3rd arcade story modes, but it's a great package given you get three complete level sets for 1200 points all in.



Homer_Simpson said:

I like the game a lot, but I think it could really have done with online leaderboards. Also, the ability to save and continue from a specific stage would have been nice...



JoeDiddley said:

I downloaded it yesterday and I was really disappointed compared to the ds version. I miss endless mode and when cleared bubbles jump back up to create chains. Also no support for Gamecube controller (I don't have a 2nd wii remote) and it would have been cool to have online.
Then I realised an hour had gone by and I was still playing!



Sean_Aaron said:

You can use the rainbow bubbles to create chains, but you need to be pretty ace to do that.



Mario_addict said:

The game's pretty basic but for 8 euros it's really worth it - especially if you intend to play with someone else !



ICEknight said:

"Taito has decided not to stick with the bare basics of the original arcade game - aside from the regular coloured bubbles, some stages will also have "guard blocks" and "support blocks" scattered between the bubbles"

...Those blocks are nothing new. More research needed. =P



Drake said:

Yeah, but they're not in the very first game which this is supposed to be a "remake" of



CanisWolfred said:

Well, I've always hated this series, and I can't say this is any better than the rest of them.



Wolfcoyote said:

I may pick this up when it reaches NA but there's a good reason why I may skip it. I STILL own a fully functional Sega Saturn and packaged versions of Bust-A-Move 2 and Bust-A-Move 3 (Puzzle Bobble 2 & 3) and still play them occasionally. BAM2 in my opinion is the best of the original series due to the music (almost worthy of ripping the tracks into iTunes), the backgrounds, the characters and the gameplay. BAM3 had the near-endless "developer favorites" mode with over 1,000 puzzles, but only one background...

If the backgrounds and the characters pay homage to BAM2 while expanding the gameplay a bit then that's fine; that means I'm one step closer to packing away my Saturn. If not, then all I have to do is put in BAM2 and grab a controller, saving my money for Arkanoid Wii.

Anyone else feel the same way?



Wolfcoyote said:

FYI - bought the game last night (I love it when I accidentally leave Wii Points in my account!), not the best Bust-A-Move/Puzzle Bobble released, but definitely not the worst - I mean, we can all admit that we've done worse with 600/800 Points. I'll download the actual BAM2 and BAM3 packs on Thursday night when I can add more points to my account, but so far the Saturn versions win on presentation, characters, backgrounds and music. The WiiWare version's presentation is above-average and the gameplay is addictive though.



ejamer said:

Downloaded this game last night, and was quite disappointed. The game was ok... but nothing more. It's one saving grace is that the battle mode is quite fun (and definitely more fair than the puzzles). Since you can play free versions of similar games using your Internet Channel, I really don't feel my 600 points was spent well here.



RaptureDJ said:

3 bubble bobble remakes?? i just know bubble bobble plus and now puzzle bobble plus, which is the other one??



Pegasus said:

Rainbow Islands is considered to be a (very) indirect sequel to Bubble Bobble. Don't ask. I never quite got that either.

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