One of my favourite arcade games was ALWAYS Bubble Bobble. The cute little animated characters, the lightning fast game-play combine with several player antics delivering one of the most solid franchises of all time. That being said it has been a while in between games and this franchise has been begging for a gorgeous 3D update to bring it into the modern world, and added support for the Switch is just what we need for single player and multiplayer fun anytime,anywhere.
The premise is the same, you control gorgeous dragon creatures who blow bubbles instead of fire, you trap enemies inside them and bounce them off walls and each other to get as many points as possible and finish the level as quickly as possible. This game features 100 unique levels and once completed unlocks a hard mode so you can go back and challenge yourself time and time again. There is a levelling up system that allows you to get new moves like the Thunder Bubble. As the game goes on, each level’s difficulty increases and the fact there are no online leaderboards is a little disheartening. However if you are seeking recognition you can earn a cool three stars on each world depending on how quickly you finish the level and the amount of multipliers from popped food. It is strangely satisfying. The four player co-op gives you access to 4 playable characters Bub, Bob, Peb and Pab.
If you want to play single player the whole way through you can, alternatively you can pass a joy-con or controller to a friend and play multiplayer for some serious fun. It is important to note that co-op play is offline only (at this stage!) While the game plays similar to the original, it is severely lacking in power ups. If the original game is more your thing, don’t despair, the original game is included in the Arcade of Memories allowing you to smash through the original game round after round with as many power ups as you love from the original. The game has not been adjusted in any way and is perfect for all those retro arcade memories to come flooding back. While the game is so much fun to play on your own, the best and most exciting way for myself was playing co-op and coordinating our thunder bubble moves for ultimate destruction or just random bubbling and running
The music and sound effects in the classic version are lovingly faithful and accompany the nostalgic visuals in true retro fashion. Similarly the updated version has a modern version of the classic music and sound effects that all combine to support the colourful visuals displayed on screen. Everything in this game feels really carefully planned out with longtime fans of the series always in mind. There is a lot of classic things to love while the new part of the game is a welcome addition to the Bobble canon.
If you are looking for some platforming puzzling fun then this is the game for you. If you are a fan of the classic arcade version, you will be won over with the beautiful HD visuals that are complimented by the Nintendo Switch’s screen and joy-con controls ideal for multiplayer. You can definitely play this game in short bursts with friends or even marathon sessions with the huge 100 levels to choose from. It isn’t all about the multiplayer though, you can play single player and still have a great time with everything this game has to offer.
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends is now available on the Nintendo Switch.