"All the fun without the gore" ... that's Actual Entertainment's promo line for Gubble. "What? No gore? What fun is that?" I asked myself. "And," I added, "what the hell is a 'Gubble"' Turns out that a Gubble is part Marvin the Martian on Prozac, part chattery Ewok, part good-natured cockroach, and part Izzy (the annoying mascot of the recent Olympic games). Basically he's a little blue-green (sometimes purple) dude(?) who pilots screwdrivers, nutdrivers, and his little bumper car thing around a series of mazes trying to avoid the bad guys -- things that look like staplers having a bad hair day, renegade buzz saw blades, miniature flying saucers, etc. And why does he do this? Well, it seems that Gubble's mission in life is (for no apparent reason) to tighten down screws, nuts, etc. while giggling and saying things like "zoop-na-ha!" every few seconds. It might not be the plot of a major motion picture any time soon (of course, somebody did manage to sell the idea for Kingpin), but games don't really need good plots, as long as they're fun.
And you know what? It is fun! It's a zany, gore-free, really-nice-resolution maze game that, in my mind, easily upstages the likes of Lode Runner, Pitfall, etc. No, there are no hidden shotgun-toting undead to make you jump out of your seat, and yes, it's a cute kid-oriented game, but the puzzles and mazes can be pretty challenging. And the folks at Actual Entertainment give you a very nice free sampler in their shareware release.
This doesn't appear to be a very strong point in Gubble, but then again, customization is of almost negligible importance in a game like this. So unless you'd like a pink Gubble (can we say that in a family publication?), you probably won't even give customization issues a second thought (good news: you can turn off Gubble's chatter and the oh-so-annoying background music).
Excellent and funny! Much of the aforementioned system requirements are due to the very smooth 3D SVGA graphics. In fact, Gubble uses the capabilities of DirectX much better than most Windows 95 games I have seen thus far.
Pretty good -- the bad guys are plentiful and seem to have it in for poor little Gubble (although even the saw blades seem to just nudge him aside and make him giggle as he expires). Some of the initial levels are quite easy, but very soon there are numerous baddies to deal with, and the complexity of the mazes/puzzles makes for excellent gameplay variety.
Installation and Setup
Very simple and straightforward. No problems installing either the DirectX version or the vanilla version.
Windows 95, 486 DX2/66 MHz processor (Pentium recommended), 8 MB RAM, Windows 95 compatible sound card, 40 MB free hard disk space (for the full version -- about 12 MB for the shareware version)
It's not Doom. It's not Command & Conquer. You won't be calling your friends up to play it over the modem with severe 2 a.m. bloodlust crackling across your COM ports ... but if you want a puzzle/maze game that takes a good deal less deep thought than Myst and, quite frankly, outshines the remakes of earlier arcade classics, Gubble would be an excellent choice. If you're looking for something for the kids, this is a great game -- and it's good fun for times when you don't have two hours to sit down for an in-depth strategy game. Check it out at Actual's website -- I think you'll find it a refreshing alternative to the genres you've become accustomed to. I give Gubble an 82 -- great graphics and gameplay, but little replay value or head-to-head action possible.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP