Bubbles, like ninjas and commandos, have a certain mystique in the collective video game consciousness. Capcom's sleeper hit Buster Bros. was one of the better odes to bubbles, and Macrospace uses it as a fine inspiration point for Ed, Edd n Eddy: Giant Jawbreakers.
After choosing between the three Cartoon Network characters, you run along the side-scrolling screen breaking bouncing jawbreakers into smaller pieces until they are literally bite-size. Then you eat them. Eating all the jawbreakers clears the level. Jawbreakers can be deadly, so care must be taken to avoid touching them until they are chewable.
The controls are as basic as the gameplay. The 4 and 6 keys move your fellow left and right, the 2 and 8 keys move him up and down ladders, and 5 fires the current weapon.
The game picks up fast--Round 1 will give you a single jawbreaker to crack, but before you know it you'll be dodging four giant jawbreakers, avoiding floor traps and guessing arcs and trajectories. Like Buster Bros., the real chaos happens when you start doing well. The jawbreakers split into two, and those smaller pieces also split into two, so trying to organize the process of destroying 16 bouncing balls becomes a serious lesson in project management.
The premise itself is addictive, and Macrospace has added quite a few twists that make the game shine. First of all, the weaponry is as diverse as it is fun. A basic roped spear starts you off, but other items include the slingshot and--my personal favorite--the versatile yo-yo. Secondly, the level design from round to round is unique, making each area a challenge in itself. A well-organized bonus round also adds some flavor to the mix.
Finally, the graphics are solid and appropriately cartoonish. The only disappointment is that the character choice seems only cosmetic--there wasn't any noticeable difference between Ed, Edd and Eddy.
Overall, Giant Jawbreakers is a solid buy for fans of old-school gaming as well as arcade lovers.