3 in 1 Bubble Beat

Music games have permeated our culture in ways that both invigorate and infuriate, with casual gamers rejoicing at the opportunity to flail around with mates while hardcore gamers grumble about lack of depth in gameplay.

Regardless of which stance you take, it's probable that 3 in 1 Bubble Beat's shoddy tunes, tepid gameplay, and dodgy sense of musical timing will fail to sell the genre to you.

Out of step

The '3 in 1' in the game's title refers to the three separate mini-games that Bubble Beat consists of. There's Live Show, Concert, and Metronome.

In Live Show you're tasked with pressing the '4/5/6' keys in time with colour co-ordinated bubbles as they rise to the top of the screen. It's a simple enough concept, and when the notes start flying it can be hectic moving your fingers around the keypad in time.

Concert mode is even simpler, with just the '5' button in use as you time presses with a glowing line advancing along past cutesy bubble faces. It wears thin pretty quickly and it won't be long before you're looking ahead at the rest of the song as it heads towards you, thinking 'when will it all end?'

The final game mode, and the most pointlessly frustrating, is Monotone. Each three-minute segment has you smash the '2/4/6' keys as random bubbles float towards the centre of the screen. The timing is terrible and the music that plays in the background not only fails to match up, but ends up being incredibly distracting.

Forever blowing bubbles?

The music in Bubble Beat is tinny, even by Java standards. The tunes themselves aren't terrible, but there are sufficiently few of them that they start to get tedious pretty quickly.

Thankfully, the game's Career mode lasts about as long as your patience with it will.

It takes about an hour to play through the three main careers: Rookie, Star, and Megastar. Once that's done there's little reason to jump back in other than to try for higher scores, and it's hard to see many people - casual or not - rejoicing at such a decision.

3 in 1 Bubble Beat

Not unlike an actual soap bubble, 3-in-1 Bubble Beat is short lived and vapid, though it may keep the very young kiddies entertained