Watching a small child witnessing their first bout of bubble-blowing – you know, a tub of diluted washing up liquid, a plastic hoop and a gentle puff of air – is tirelessly amusing. Dazzled by the beauty of these translucent orbs, they reach out expecting to be able to touch them and… pop.
There’s a clear disparity between what’s seen and what’s experienced once you get your hands on them. A fitting analogy for Digital Chocolate’s latest mobile game, Bubble Revolution.
If you’ve played Zuma, Luxor, or any of the other billion or so Puzz Loop clones out there, you’ll know how this plays. Lines of variously coloured bubbles slowly conga around the screen, waiting for you to ping a like-coloured bubble into them from your bubble gun.
Match three or more of any one colour and they’ll disappear, leading to numerous chain-reaction possibilities.Pretty but empty
As always, the Finnish developer has made its creation look lush and sparkly. You’ve no doubt seen the screen shots featuring multi coloured playing fields and giant googly eyed bosses.
But when you actually play the game it leaves you with a vague sense of disappointment. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it, but it just completely fails to engage on the same level as other games in the genre.
It lacks the simple tactile joy of pinging bubbles around that some of its rivals possess, and there’s a severe lack of urgency to proceedings. It wasn’t until around the half way point that I lost my first bubbles to a black hole – and that was simply a matter of negligence on my part rather than any stiff challenge.
Up until that point, I had received a clean sweep of five star award with minimal effort. It’s an odd scoring system that gives little indication as to what you need to do to earn higher or lower, thus rendering it virtually meaningless.Bubble under
The developer has included a couple of additional features to differentiate the game from the crowd, such as a fully rotating game world and the above mentioned bosses. But neither has much of an impact on the core bubble-popping gameplay, which feels fairly pedestrian.
The abstract art design on show works against the game here. One environment bleeds into another, with little in the way of genuine variety.
Bubble Revolution certainly has its qualities, and there’s plenty here to praise besides the chunky, colourful visuals. The way the game shows you a level map overlay prior to each stage is a thoughtful touch, ensuring you don’t lose your bearings too much when things get excessively spinny.
The power-ups, too, include a couple of highlights. The Rock bounces around like a pinball, taking out lines of bubbles left, right and centre, while the multi-ball is the puzzler equivalent of a shotgun.
The alternative modes – Endless and Time Attack – provide additional value, though neither changes the core gameplay enough to warrant extended play.
There’s no doubting that Bubble Revolution is a well constructed, attractive game that will keep casual players happy for a while. It’s just that Digital Chocolate has failed to add enough compelling variation to a formula that has been perfected elsewhere.