We reviewed Puzzle Bobble 2 last issue and awarded it a desultory 30%. Our resident charmer, Charlie Brooker, said that you might as well invite the developers round to 'piss in your eyes.' Poor graphics and jerky animations, y'see.
This is the latest game in the series (forget the name change and just concentrate on the number to avoid confusion) and the graphics are still piss poor. What's worse, you can only play it in full screen mode if you've got a decent PC. We tried it out on a P233 and we could only play it in a window. This is unforgivable and the direct result of a lazy port that feels like it's actually PlayStation code that's running under emulation.
It's a wasted opportunity because there's nothing wrong with the game itself, and the new features, including the pulley system and chain reactions, work really well. If you've got a P2 then it's worth considering otherwise you may as well forget it. It's a simple game and if the developers can't be bothered to convert it properly, we can't be bothered to recommend it to anyone.
Download Bust-A-Move 4
Does the world really need another Bust-A-Move? Maybe. I mean, I can't deny that this is the best Bust-A-Move yet. The pulleys add a little variety to the seemingly endless amount of one-player levels, and the Chain Reaction System forces you to play the game a little differently than you have been playing it for the past several years. So? These two features are relatively minor. That's understandable from the game designers' point of view--why mess with a good thing? Well, you should mess with a good thing because people are tired of the same ol' old thing. The marginal improvements won't give many BAM fans reason to rush out to buy part four, if they already own BAM 3. Sure the optional Chain Reactions are cool to execute and watch, but these easy-to-come-by combos will happen so often by accident, you won't really appreciate the thought and strategy that goes into setting one up. Picture poor Shoe (that's me) carefully preparing a large Chain Reaction Combo to drown out a fellow Review Crew opponent. All of a sudden, the son of a bitch hits Shoe with a huge chain, totally by accident and blind luck (skill-less jerk). But if you're new to the series, or you haven't played BAM since parts 1 or 2, then BAM 4 may be the ball-buster you're looking for. And I mean that in a good way.
At the risk of getting repetitive, I have to say that when all is said and done, Bust-A-Move 2 never really needed a sequel. It had pretty much got the whole concept sorted, and I for one was quite happy with it. The new combo system adds an extra bit of strategy to the proceedings, and all of the new features are nice--but, I dunno, why mess with something perfect? At its heart it's still the same really enjoyable game though.
I don't know how necessary it is for this game to come out. I mean, it's a Bust-A-Move game--and as such, it's a lot of fun--but it doesn't really bring much to the table as far as ingenuity goes. So, if you're a big fan of the Bust-A-Move series and its sickeningly cute characters and crazy Japanese sounds, then look into this sequel. But if you happened to pick up the last one, there are only a couple of new features in this one.
The Bust-A-Move games are fun, but is this new installment really different enough to be worth the cash? Yep. The developers have added plenty of perks to appeal to every puzzle-game fan. The Chain Reaction combos in Versus Mode give the game a Puzzle Fighter feel, while the pulleys add a cool twist to the gameplay. You even get a puzzle editor. And none of this gets in the way of the classic reflexes-before-brains gameplay.
Can't get enough of that pudgy green dinosaur with a penchant for busting balls? If not, then your fix is in, because Natsume is bringing over the latest addition to Taito's bubble-popping franchise: Bust-A-Move 4. Gameplay, as always, consists of your player attempting to pop like-colored bubbles that endlessly descend from the ceiling. If the bubbles manage to reach the bottom, it's game over.
While you might wonder what Taito could possibly add to the already fine-tuned game-engine, there are a few extras that might tempt you into entering the world of Bust-A-Move once again. There's a new chain-reaction system that will let you pop more than one color at a time. There's also a new Pulley system that adds a new dimension to this game by balancing the bubbles on two ends of a scale. If one side touches the floor, your game ends.
There is also the Edit Mode which allows you to construct your own levels. Along with Edit Mode are the standard Puzzle Modes, Vs. Computer Mode, Two-player Mode and Challenge Mode. Also, a Grade Recognition system reviews your performance and gives you one of 20 different rankings, based on your success or lack thereof.
With 10 different characters plus numerous hidden ones, Bust-A-Move 4 gives you plenty of choices to play as. Unfortunately, there aren't any strengths or weaknesses to any of the characters, so they're really there for cosmetic purposes only. The addition of Dual-Shock vibrations adds a level of tension that is surprisingly effective.
While no radical changes have been made to the time-proven formula, BAM fans will more than likely find plenty to like about this latest installment.
- MANUFACTURER - Taito
- THEME - Puzzle
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-2
Bust-A-Move 4 isn't looking to break new ground, but does a good job of spicing up an old favorite. For newbies, Bust-A-Move is a twist on the Tetris-style puzzle that involves matching up three or more like-colored bubbles to clear the board. This fourth edition lets you create and edit your own challenging setups, play through a Story mode, and tackle the standard Arcade and Two-Player modes.
Two new gameplay features, the chain reaction and the pulley, definitely deepen the game's strategy, while the control and the overall gameplay remain enjoyable.Visually, the backgrounds behind the game board are less intrusive than in past versions, and the music's only slightly less annoying though more repetitive. All told, BAM4 is like Tetris: addictive but mind numbing.
- The pulleys require a balanced approach as the heavier side gets lower each turn.
- Try to stack unmatched pairs so they touch. You can use the new chain reaction to clear out the touching pairs when you get a match.