Posted 2 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Remember when the Game Boy launched with Tetris and how popular it became? Many handhelds tried to follow the same winning formula, but never truly repeated what the legendary Game Boy achieved. When the 3DS launch line-up was first revealed, I thought we would get something similar or new, but just as recognizable. And when I say “new”, I’m referring to the new popular puzzlers of this world like Angry Birds or Cut The Ropes. The only game that fit what I was looking for was Bust-A-Move Universe.
While I had my good times with B-A-M on different platforms in the past, this 3DS version does carry the “Universe” suffix. Usually when a game refers to never-ending space, it often ends up being extremely limited and simplestic. Well, that’s not 100% the case here and while I could live with some of its faults, the Arika Co. dev team did end up missing a good opportunity to blow my mind.
In case you have never heard of Bust-A-Move up until now, allow me to quickly bring you up to speed. Think of it as a mix of Peggle and Bejeweled. Facebook disciples, think Pop & Drop. The goal is to connect and burst bubbles of the same color and clear the level before the ceiling falls on you. The more bubbles you pop, the faster your special gauge will grow. Once filled, a special bubble will appear, giving you the ability to pull off helpful moves.
Bust-A-Move Universe features two modes: Puzzle and Challenge. The first is comprised of eight stages, each having ten rounds. Some bubbles will carry keys that need to gathered. These will deliver your captive chum at the end of the stage, right before the level boss shows up. Rinse and repeat. The second mode will have you popping as many bubbles as possible under certain gamplay and difficulty restrictions, all chosen by the player. It could be the 100-second bubbles, the 300-second or the Nonstop, which shares a certain similarity with Bejeweled’s Endless Mode. Nonstop has a much welcomed save feature that allows you come back to your game if you need to leave your current session. Unfortunately, you can’t save/quit and switch to “Puzzle” mode.
While B-A-M Universe is fun and addictive to a certain extent, yet the development team didn’t seem to feel the need to offer any type of multiplayer, either via Internet with StreetPass or locally. Download Play is also absent. Another disappointment: there are 60 awards to unlock but they’re completely useless. Already not taking advantage of StreetPass, these “achievements” don’t unlock anything in-game like additional levels, modes, etc. This isn’t the first time I have played a game that tells me I have X amount of awards to get but there’s no reward for actually getting them. What’s the point?
Being the only puzzle game of the handheld’s initial line-up, having to deal with something extremely barebones is painful. Luckily, this one costs $10 less than the rest of the 3DS titles available on day one. Even if this makes the pill easier to swallow, it could have used an additional $10 cut.
It may not bring something substantial or incredibly breathtaking, but it does work well. Well enough to justify the lacking overall package? Don’t think so.
Despite its challenging and addictive gameplay, this offering is simply too thin to deserve a rock solid recommendation unless the other 3DS titles aren’t what you’re looking for. Then again, who would buy a $250 handheld just to play Bust-A-Move? A full-blown multiplayer component with local/online/leaderboard score sharing would have definitely made it more attractive. This is Square Enix’s only game of the launch line-up and that thought alone should have pushed them to offer a far more interesting experience.
+ Fun to play...
- No multiplayer (local/online)
- Useless reward system
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Release Date : 2011/03/27
System : Nintendo 3DS
Publisher : Square Enix
Developer : TAITO
Category : Puzzle
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10