Whether you know it as Bust-a-Move or Puzzle Bobble, you’re likely familiar with the bubble-popping action of this classic arcade game. Fronted by the adorable chubby dinosaurs Bub and Bob from 1986’s Bubble Bobble, we’d wager that – at least in the West – Puzzle Bobble became far more successful than its predecessor. Let’s face it: its simple but addictive gameplay is one that’s been copied and expanded upon time and time again. And now there’s a brand new version to play in Puzzle Bobble Everybubble.
Puzzle Bobble Everybubble is very much the Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble you remember. To play, you simply fire bubbles into the grid above your head, matching up colours to eventually clear all the bubbles that remain. It’s a super simple premise but one that sucks you in with just how easy it is to pick up and play. It’s colourful, it’s bold, it’s in-your-face-happy – and somehow, you won’t be able to put it down.
Currently only available on Nintendo Switch, Puzzle Bobble Everybubble features several game modes. There’s a story mode, a leaderboard-chasing challenge mode, and local and online versus. Finally, there’s perhaps our favourite and the most unique: Puzzle Bobble vs Space Invaders. Let’s talk about the story mode first.
Puzzle Bobble Everybubble’s multiple game modes
In Everybubble’s story mode, levels are occasionally interspersed with short cutscenes, introducing Bub and Bob and friends and giving them a few lines of dialogue. It’s completely superfluous if we’re honest. As adorable as they are, we don’t really ever care about them as characters. We’re just here to pop bubbles! While you can tackle story mode solo, you don’t need to play alone. If you’ve got another controller (or three), local players can hop in for co-op play or you can add computer-controlled characters to the game.
We wouldn’t really recommend playing with the CPU, though. Really, it just takes the fun out of the game as you can essentially sit back and let them complete the level for you. But the option to play with friends or family locally is always welcome. There’s a huge number of levels to play through, split across eight different worlds. While the premise always remains the same, as you progress you’ll encounter new types of bubbles – such as paint bubbles, that colour bubbles around them when popped, or blocks which can’t be destroyed – increasing the challenge and strategy needed to beat a level. There’s a good several hours of gameplay here, then. Even more for players looking to get the best rating on each level.
Within Puzzle Bobble Everybubble’s story mode, you’ll find Baron’s Tower, a replayable challenge mode. This is essentially a never-ending level that tasks players with popping as many bubbles, and surviving, for as long as they can. When you’re done you’ll be given a score and placed on a global leaderboard. There’s always reason to keep jumping back in, then, as you strive to set a new record.
There’s also a versus mode, allowing you to jump into competitive games either locally or online. Here, you’ll send bubbles over onto your opponent’s screen as you pop them. The more bubbles you make fall, the harder it’ll become for your opponent. Handily, you can also jump into a versus match against the CPU if you want to practice without the pressure. It makes a nice change from the story mode levels, at least.
Puzzle Bobble vs Space Invaders: the highlight of Everybubble
The final mode of Puzzle Bobble Everybubble might just be our favourite of them all: Puzzle Bobble vs Space Invaders! It’s, well, exactly as the title suggests. Bubbles are laid out as aliens in Space Invaders would be, moving side-to-side and getting lower. You’ll need to avoid incoming lasers as you aim to clear the bubbles before they reach the ground. It’s tricky, but it’s the sort of challenge that will keep you coming back for more. Unlike the story mode, it’s one that you might actually benefit from having a CPU character (or three) helping you out: there’s a lot of bubbles to pop single-handedly otherwise!
The gameplay of Puzzle Bobble never gets old, and in Everybubble it’s no different. Popping bubbles is just as much fun as it was in the 1990s: almost 30 years later, and it’s as enjoyable as ever. Puzzle Bobble Everybubble offers up a well-rounded package with plenty of modes to jump into, with Baron’s Tower and the joyous Space Invaders twist giving players reason to keep jumping back in long after the story mode has been completed. What’s not to like, really?