Bust-a-Move, also known as Puzzle Bobble, is something of an inspiration for the puzzle games of the match-three variety. Few in number are the titles in the genre that don't, in some way, mimic Taito's fifteen-year-old franchise.
It's appearance on iPhone, then, should be something to celebrate. This should have been something of a coronation. Instead, Bust-a-Move abdicates its crown to cheaper, feature-packed rivals that outdo this competent, but unremarkable remake.
Whether you help Bub rescue his pet fish in the game's nonsensical Story mode or attempt to survive an increasingly difficult line of levels in Challenge mode, the aim of the game remains the same: clear the board by matching three or more coloured bubbles using individual bubbles fired from a cannon at the bottom of the screen.
It's a simple matter of aiming your bubble before firing to get the best possible match. Any matches fall to the floor, as well as any bubbles attached directly underneath.
In Story mode this comes down to simple puzzle-solving, each level offering up a number of set maps that can often be solved by a few well-placed bubbles.
Challenge mode, however, just rolls on, new lines of bubbles dropping down from the ceiling in steps as time moves on, the charge being to keep all the bubbles away from the bottom line. Should it hit it, it's game over.
Power-ups expand the concept. Popping special bubbles can result in destruction of all the bubbles of a certain colour or smashing through whole sections like a bowling ball. Unfortunately, these come so frequently that you're given too much of a boost and levels are too easily finished as a result.
Touch controls introduce a new element - wanted or not. Two control schemes are offered: the first has you pulling bubbles back with your finger after aiming and then lifting to fire, while the other involves tapping once at the top of the screen to aim and once at the bottom to launch.
The latter makes things easy. One of the game's trickiest parts has always been hasty aiming, a quick succession of misplaced bubbles bringing the seemingly easiest of levels to a quick close. Tap-to-aim controls negate the problem, but they also dull the challenge in the process.
Bust-a-Move lacks more than just challenging gameplay, sadly. No support for iPod Library Access means you can't listen to your own music while playing. Also, there's no colour blind mode. Forget about posting high scores online, too, because there aren't any leaderboards.
It's all these chinks in the armour that demonstrate Bust-a-Move has been left behind by some of its rivals. Though this is in no way a disaster, it isn't the finest example of match-three puzzling on iPhone.