Gubble Review

It's a well-paced, pleasantly tortuous experience.

You know you've found a really fun puzzle game when it keeps you engrossed for hours and delivers an entertaining yet challenging experience. You plan on spending only a few minutes playing, but somehow get sucked in and wake up hours later from a game-induced stupor feeling like a lab rat methodically hitting its feeder bar in search of the next food pellet. Games like Tetris, Baku Baku, and Pac-Man are good examples of this type of puzzle game, and now you can add one more to the list - new game, Gubble.

What makes this upbeat, arcade action game rendered in a colorful 3-D world so appealing is the simple, but challenging, gameplay and the variety of characters. The main goal is to accumulate points by completing the levels, called zymbots. With each zymbot worth ten points, and over 150 zymbots in the game, reaching the seemingly low score of 200 is quite a time consuming accomplishment.

Playing from a third-person perspective, you guide the game's protagonist, Gubble D. Gleep, a perky, big-eared purple alien, around the zymbots in his little green spaceship picking up power-ups and removing all the fasteners such as nails, hex nuts, and screws from each zymbot. Embracing a -like motto of "the right tool for the right job," Gubble has a variety of brand tools at his disposal to undo the fasteners - hammer removes nail, screwdriver removes screws, and so on.

While keeping Gubble on track requires little skill (in some respects it's a lot like Pac-Man), the true challenge comes in skillfully avoiding health-threatening collisions with a myriad of nasties like Wangry Wobot Wannabees and Boiler Bots. As this game was obviously designed to appeal to a kinder, gentler audience, the worse fate Gubble suffers when he runs out of health is a good cry and some whimpering. You, on the other hand, must start from your last saved game, and since save game options are strategically spread out throughout the game - sometimes you must clear three or more zymbots before you can save - you may find yourself crying along side your purple comrade after ending up only a few screws away from success. It could be rather maddening, but the progressive nature of the game balances it out so that it's actually a well-paced, pleasantly tortuous experience. As you progress through the game, each new zymbot you play introduces you to different enemies or tool/fastener combinations, so when you reach the more complex levels, you're well prepared.

Although Gubble may not appeal to the hard-core, it's still an excellent pick for anyone looking for a fun and exhaustive new puzzle game. With its simple interface and gameplay, and a likeable hero, it's the kind of game that will have puzzle fans eagerly hitting the feeder bar over and over and over again.

The Good

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The Bad

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