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Space Bust-A-Move Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . After waiting four long years, Taito has finally brought another Bust-A-Move game to the Nintendo DS. This is Space Bust-A-Move, a game that offers more compelling single and multiplayer modes than you're used to for $20. If you aren't a fan of this 15 year old franchise then this won't change that, but everybody else will have a great time surfing the galaxy and busting bubbles! Rating: 78%
Space Bust-A-Move
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  • Review Score:

  • B+
Bub and Bob (the two lovable characters from the Bubble Bobble franchise) are about to go where no dinosaur has gone before -- Space! It's been four long years since our two bubble-popping lizards graced the Nintendo DS, but Taito has wisely brought back the puzzler for another round on the portable. This is Space Bust-A-Move, a game that wisely ditches what didn't work before and adds enough new content to make this brand new game worth your money. It also proves that in space no one can hear you pop bubbles.

Now that the lame space-puns are behind us, it's time for me to gush over this newest entry in the expanding Bust-A-Move universe. As I unwrapped the shrink wrap and charged up my Nintendo DS, I wondered just how much Taito could add to this 15 year old franchise. I was pleasantly surprised by the answer, which included brand new power-ups, new bosses and enough cool extra modes to keep me playing long after the story is done.

Space Bust-A-Move (Nintendo DS)

Wait ... did I say story? Unfortunately this game is saddled with a lame story that takes our heroes all across the solar system. These bits are told through simplistic cut-scenes, the type of thing you could expect from an early-90s Super NES game. Of course, you don't come to a Bust-A-Move game looking for a deep story, all you care about are the bubble-infested puzzles that will test your aim, skill and maybe even your patience.

Like every other puzzle game of the era, Bust-A-Move is incredibly easy to learn, but difficult to master. Instead of moving blocks or controlling something falling from the sky, you play a dinosaur character aiming his bubbles from the bottom of the level. You can't move in any direction, the only control you have is lining up the bubbles that you shoot and try to match three or more colors (or symbols, if you're colorblind) together. Do this and they disappear, create a chain reaction and earn massive points.

For Space Bust-A-Move the developers have added a few new twists to the campaign mode. Instead of battling a never-ending assault of colored bubbles, you are tasked with erasing a very specific set of bubbles from the map. At first this is easy; you line up your shot and dislodge the colored bubbles connected to floating yellow circle. Things only get trickier when you realize that every time you shoot a bubble the entire level gets closer to you. The object is to rid the level of all of the bubbles before they get too backed up and reach the bottom.

Space Bust-A-Move (Nintendo DS)

The game starts out extremely easy, so easy that I suspect just about anybody (no matter your experience with puzzle games) can pick it up and feel good about clearing a few stages. But it gets tough, especially if you're trying to earn all 21 of the special Cosmic Bubbles hidden in the game's puzzles. Clear enough of these puzzles and you'll be whisked away to a brand new world, complete with new challenges and background art.

There are seven different worlds for you to explore (if you can call what you're doing in this game "exploring"), each with three stages of five puzzles each. In other words, each world has a total of 15 puzzles, with a total of 105 total puzzles for you to solve. Most puzzles are short, no longer than a minute or two. But you will have to do five of them in a row, if you fail at one you will go back to the beginning of that stage and try again. Early on this isn't a big deal, but I have a hunch you'll be playing a few of the later stages several times before ultimately making it to the end.
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