Review: BubbleTown

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BubbleTown is the latest puzzle game to hit the iPhone, and is fairly typical for the casual games released in the genre. By that I mean that it is similar enough to another popular game to immediately feel comfortable and familiar, while doing enough things differently to keep it interesting.

A few things will become clear from the beginning, though. First, the load times are surprisingly long for an iPhone game, which can hinder the ‘pick up & play’ appeal. Also, the game is clearly based on the Snood gameplay mechanic, but does provide enough differences to make it worth a try. The basics are simple – fire ‘borbs’ with a cannon at the bottom of the screen and use a ‘match 3’ mechanic to clear all of the Evil Lumps from the screen before they cross the line. Some levels are straight-forward in terms of objectives, but on others you need to match specific numbers or types of Lumps. Nothing astonishing, but enough to keep you paying attention!

Interestingly for a ‘casual’ puzzle game, you will most likely see the ‘failure’ screen quite often. Sometimes it is due to difficulty, other times due to the lack of precision of the touch screen controls – though to be fair they are pretty good, just on occasion you are racing against time trying to tease out that perfect shot and missing by what feels like one pixel! As for the motion control options … don’t bother. I tried for a bit and was never able to get much success, so I reverted to the more direct touch controls.

BubbleTown definitely fits the bill for a puzzle game – easy to learn, tough to master, steals more time than you planned, and so on. It isn’t a great game that will leave much of a mark – just a simple fun time-waster. While I wish there was a single stage ‘demo’, the price at $3.99 is low enough that you can simply check out the screens and if it is what you’re looking for then go ahead and give it a shot.

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Pros:
+ Addictive gameplay
+ Simple to learn, difficult to master

Cons:
– Touch control a bit finicky
– Long load times
– High difficulty
– Lousy motion controls

Game Info:
Platform: iPhone
Publisher: Oberon Media
Developer: IPlay
Release Date: 01/06/09
Genre: Puzzle
ESRB Rating: Unrated
Players: 1
Price: $3.99

About the Author

I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!