Puzzle Bobble Live!

Hmmm…Puzzle Bobble…It’s definitely a tricky one to write about because 90% of you have almost definitely played some incarnation of the Puzzle Bobble/Bust a Move  franchise. However, this is the first next gen version of the game so those of us who like to sellotape pads to our hands so they can’t get thrown when doing fast and frenzied puzzling will lap this up. For anyone not in the know, Puzzle Bobble involves firing coloured balls up to the balls at the top of the screen to match three and eliminate that group. However, due to our friendly neighbourhood gravity, destroying a dangling chain at the top instantly removes all those that were hanging. Think Tetris turned upside down, with physics.

As Taito is aware of how long they have been running with a fairly basic game (first released in Japan in June 1994 with world release six months after, if anyone is interested!) they have thrown in plenty of new challenges that start off nice and easy for the n00bs, but trust me you will be challenged at the end no matter how hardcore a player you might be. Personally I found the first levels of the 1P puzzle laughable, but by the end I was staring intently at the screen, about to scream if I lost one more time!

So what have Taito given us this time around, you ask? Well, we have CPU battle as per normal with levels of increasing difficulty (you will be praising the continues!) in which you can pick which selection of balls you will play with, some just amalgamations of the normal blocks and some containing explodables, blank balls and various other “special” balls. Obviously, your level of expertise will help determine what balls to use as some are easier to use than others unless you have mastered the game.

Next up we have Infinity mode. No goal to reach, just nice relaxing continuous balls coming quickly forever! Ok, so not that relaxing but unless you’re going for the achievement of lasting an hour(!) this is a good place to hone your skills before taking on some of the other challenges. The main mode in single player is 1P puzzle, which is just that. You start on a grid of alphabet letters and it is up to you to travel the alphabet solving up to five puzzles per letter in order to advance. Once you hit the fourth level up you’ll notice a serious jump in difficulty so be prepared. Unfortunately, there is no save option here, so if you’re trying to complete it put aside enough time!

Multiplayer works the same as the CPU battles and offers you the chance to play locally or on Live – but good luck finding people online at the normal times you game as the majority of players are from USA or Japan. Set your alarm clock if you’re determined to get those precious achievements!

The last thing that must get a mention to stop mass confusion, as I’m sure all you puzzle addicts are diving to your 360’s to buy this, is a couple of translation errors that will leave you with a definite “huh?” in your thought train. Puzzle Bobble is also known as Bust-a-Move and although the UK has had versions of both over the games’ life Puzzle Bobble is the correct Japanese title. This game is called Puzzle Bobble Live! in the  UK but due to the USA sticking with Bust-a-Move Live! the good guys at Xbox seemed to be a little confused. When you go to download this game you will see both titles on the same screen but trust me, they are the same game and you can only download the one! Additionally, a translation error has occured in the achievements with two being available for “win all matches in CPU battle mode”. One of these is worth 20 points, the other 30. The 30 point achievement, The Dream Traveler, is in fact for clearing every letter in 1P Puzzle mode. So if anyone has been wondering where their achievement is, then that’s your answer!







2 responses to “Puzzle Bobble Live!”

  1. Ramsden avatar

    I was surprised just how hard I was hit with nostalgia when I played the demo, and have put this solidly at the top of my “will buy next time I get some MS moon money” list. Apart from the hour-long infinity one, the achievements seem pretty easy too, which should give a slight boost to my underachieving gamer score.

  2. Zoey avatar

    It’s definitely a world of nostalgia. Such simple fun with so many memories…

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