It’s always best to be wary of retro game franchises that are repackaged with the work “Evolution” at the end of their title. If the original game is regarded as such a classic, why try to reinvent it?
That’s something that the developers behind Bubble Bobble Evolution should have considered, because what they’ve cooked up here is unlikely to please hardcore fans and will leave newcomers wondering what all the fuss is about.
The core concept remains the same: you assume the role of either Bub or Bob, two kids that are transformed into cuddly-looking dragons by a malevolent wizard who goes by the amusing title of Hyper Drunk.
Thankfully, this alteration comes with one unexpected bonus - Bub and Bob are capable of blowing bubbles from their mouths, and these can be used to ensnare the various baddies which populate each stage. Once encapsulated, these bad guys can be sent packing by bashing into them.
While the gameplay will be instantly familiar to Taito aficionados, the so-called “evolution” of the game involves larger levels (which are consequently more confusing than the single-screen versions seen in the original) and arbitrary tasks (for example, some stages will see your stock of bubbles strictly limited, which is supposed to create additional challenge but only serves to make things incredibly frustrating).
The opportunity to rescue additional characters to help you on your quest adds a little variety to proceedings (and to be perfectly fair the original did suffer from repetition after prolonged play) but aside from some colourful 2D visuals, there’s little else to commend here.Bubble Bobble Evolution’s fate might have been different had the developer decided to include the original coin-op classic as part of the package, but sadly that it didn't. What we’re left with is a rather misguided attempt at giving a vintage title a new lease of life.