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Bubble Popper Deluxe

For: Mobile

This is one bubble far from bursting

Product: Bubble Popper Deluxe | Developer: Digital Chocolate | Publisher: Digital Chocolate | Format: Mobile | Genre: Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 320KB | Reviewed on: N95 other handsets | Version: Europe
Bubble Popper Deluxe Mobile, thumbnail 1
Know your limits. Everyone knows the old adage that 'Rome wasn't built in a day' – well, I'd be willing to bet any amount of money that it wasn't even built it in a week. The Romans no doubt had the good sense to pace themselves and take it easy.

In the same way, Digital Chocolate hasn't attempted to reinvent the wheel; Bubble Popper Deluxe is a game that knows the mobile's limits. The rising popularity of mobile gaming is no excuse to overestimate just what can be achieved here and now, and Bubble Popper Deluxe is a title comfortable with its own esteemed mediocrity.

It's the kind of package that's been seen on countless formats numerous times over the years. Like scores of puzzle games before it, this is a title that focuses on matching coloured shapes – in this case, bubbles. From a very basic point of view, the game requires you to fire off coloured bubbles on one side of the screen towards a pack of bubbles on the other.

Match your own small bubble with a large one of the same colour and both the bubbles disappear, along with any other matching bubbles in touching distance. Hitting another small bubble of the same colour transforms both bubbles into a larger one, enabling you to plan ahead and fill an area with a certain colour to pick off at a later point down the line.

In this way, it's therefore possible for players to play the long-game rather than simply aiming to take a bubble out with each shot. As you'd expect, the game rates your performance at the end of each round, meaning employing tactics to clear the screen rather than firing off a bubble in a knee-jerk direction can pay dividends when it comes to your end-of-round score and associated rating.

If all that sounds rather familiar, Digital Chocolate has seen fit to add a few variables that mix the game up a little. Namely, the bubbles you aim at are constantly moving. Usually held back by some sort of barrier, the bubbles float around the screen as you might expect real bubbles too, bumping into each other and slowly changing their order. In turn, this makes hitting the right colour bubble more of a challenge; let your focus slip and it's very easy to misfire, shooting your bubble straight past its intended target.

Bubbles that miss their mark end up sitting in the pack with the rest of them, gently bobbing around the screen, filling up the level and adding to the difficulty. Not only does a crowded screen make picking the right target out a lot more difficult, it also threatens to end the round completely, with play being brought to a halt if the bubbles get too close to where you're firing from.

As play progresses, the difficulty of each level naturally ramps up (some levels require you to clear more than one screen, while others are simply more contrived in their design), though the development team has also seen fit to add to the player's arsenal, with specialist bubbles helping to clear whole sections of the screen instantly. Shooting Star bubbles, for instance, clear every bubble in their wake, bouncing back off the edge of the screen to double the damage.

Rather than simply handing out these bubbles willy-nilly, they instead appear in the main bulk, with players having to hit them to obtain their power with their next bubble. This means having to weigh up between aiming for what can often be hard to reach specialist bubbles - wasting the odd shot along the way - and simply carrying on as normal, taking out bubbles the old fashioned way, hoping you hit a special bubble at some point during play.

Such a trade-off means that there will be some who make it their mission to rack up the highest score on each level, whereas others will simply aim to complete the game with as little fuss as possible. What's for certain is, there's plenty here to keep both kinds of gamers gripped – albeit for short periods – with 64 different and varied levels populating this well presented puzzler.

While depth may be beyond Bubble Popper Deluxe, it's hard to fault Digital Chocolate for serving up a game that is genuinely engaging and entertaining. Perfunctory yet pretty, Bubble Popper Deluxe is the perfect example of a game that sets out to be nothing more than a simple puzzler and achieves it with relative ease.
Bubble Popper Deluxe
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 24 June 2008
Though far from a revolution, Bubble Popper Deluxe is both simple in practice and addictive in nature – perfect for anyone who likes chasing a high score
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