The addition of touch screen support could have ruined Bust-A-Move DS, but its solid execution, along with a great number of puzzles and economical multiplayer support, keeps things fun.
- Solid touch screen support
- A whopping 500 puzzles to play through
- Loses the freaky art style of Super Bust-A-Move
- Good multiplayer support.
- Overly difficult to line up shots with D pad controls
- Weak AI
- Loses the freaky art style of Super Bust-a-Move.
The bubble-bobbling puzzle series arrives on the Nintendo DS with the aptly named Bust-A-Move DS. Hardcore Bust-A-Move fans, if there is such a thing, might be a little put off by the gameplay tweaks made in this version, and, in some ways, the package feels a little spartan. Still, Bust-A-Move DS delivers plenty of fun and familiar puzzle action with its five-player support and the huge number of puzzles to play through.
This is still Bust-A-Move, which means you're still launching colored bubbles from the bottom of the screen at like-colored bubbles suspended from the top to clear them all. What makes Bust-A-Move DS unique is the way in which you launch the bubbles. Previous Bust-A-Move games gave you an arrow to aim with, but on the DS, you can use the touch screen to launch bubbles with a small slingshot--just touch the bubble with the stylus, drag down, and let go. Since you no longer have the arrow on the top screen, a guideline is added that goes about a quarter of the way up onto the top screen, which makes aiming much easier. The touch screen controls can take some getting used to, but they prove to be a fun and tactile way to play the game.
The touch screen controls are also pretty sensitive, which makes them good for setting up tricky, precise bank shots; but, it can make them exceedingly difficult to use if you happen to be in transit, since the smallest bump can send your aim way off. For this reason, Bust-A-Move DS also gives you the classic D pad control options. Though easier to use in turbulent situations, the D pad doesn't provide the same precise level of control as the touch screen, and you'll often find yourself tapping back and forth on the D pad just to get the angle that you need. Both control schemes can feel compromised at times, but the touch screen controls are unquestionably superior.
No matter how you play Bust-A-Move DS, though, there's a good amount of content to play with. The bulk of the single-player game lies in the puzzle mode, where you can play through a whopping 250 puzzles and then unlock an additional 250 puzzles after that. The endless mode tests your endurance by continually pushing down fresh rows of bubbles from the top of the screen until the screen either fills up or you break down crying, whichever comes first. There's also a versus CPU mode, which pits you against up to four different artificial intelligence opponents at once, though the AI doesn't put up an incredible challenge, and the games tend to be over rather quickly. More entertaining, though, is the multiplayer mode, which is identical to the versus CPU mode, but lets you play against four other flesh-and-blood opponents using a single copy of the game.
After the Flash animation fever-dream art style of Super Bust-A-Move and Ultra Bust-A-Move, it was a relief to see that things have gone back to the basics for Bust-A-Move DS. The exponentially increasing cast of indescribably freaky misfits found in those games has been almost entirely cast aside, putting the focus back on Bub and Bob--the cute little dragons that launched the franchise in the first place. Though you probably won't be paying too much attention, the character sprites have been redrawn with greater care, providing them with a little more depth. It's not impressive from a technical standpoint, and the art style isn't especially inventive, but the whole package has a nice, clean look with a good attention to detail and a vibrant color palette. The background music is equally optimistic, bouncing between circus music and poppy little jingles.
Though there are not many surprises in Bust-A-Move DS, the gamble taken with the touch screen support ends up paying off and proves to be a good shot in the arm for what is otherwise a tried-and-true puzzler. There are a good number of puzzles for you to sink your teeth into when flying solo, and the multiplayer makes it easy to play a game with anyone who has a DS, making this a somewhat modest, yet well-rounded, package.
- Player Reviews: 16
- Game Universe:
- Bust-A-Move 4 (PC, PS, DC, GBC),
- Super Bust-A-Move (PS2, PC, GBA, MOBILE),
- Puzzle Bobble Pocket (PC, MOBILE, PSP, DS),
- Bust-A-Move (ARC, GG, NGCD, SNES, 3DO),
- Bust-A-Move '99 (N64, PS),
- Bust-A-Move 2 Arcade Edition (PC, N64, PS, GB, ARC),
- Bust-A-Move Universe (3DS),
- Space Bust A Move (DS),
- Bust-A-Move Deluxe (PSP),
- Bust-A-Move 3000 (GC)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: