Game Gallery: Puzzle Bobble

Puzzle Bobble - Bust A Move - Title Screen

One of my reasons for doing this is because, when I first started writing game reviews I found it really difficult to find decent quality screenshots, and half the ones I did find were tagged, which infuriates me. So, I started grabbing my own screenshots and, unlike so many other selfish tossers on the net, anyone is welcome to take my screenshots and use them for whatever they like. It would be nice if I could get a namecheck or something in return, but if not, no problem!

Rainbow Islands

Rainbow Islands - Game Box

Rainbow Islands

Rainbow Islands for the NES is one of the most interesting games I have ever played. It’s just a really fun game. I’m not sure how this game is related to Bubble Bobble but it doesn’t matter. This game rocks! The gameplay is just a lot of fun and makes you want to come up with ways to destroy the monsters with your rainbows.

Rainbow Islands - Gameplay Screenshot

This game also has a two player option. That makes the game even more fun to play. This is just another game that you can play with a friend or even on kaillera with an emulator with a friend online. Yeah I had to mention that for those of you who have no retro gaming friends near you like me. Anyways, this game is just another great title that Nintendo released that we were able to enjoy. We had to get something good after missing so many gems(Mother or Sweet Home).

So that should do it. Another entry and another suggestion. If you are unsure whether to pick this game up(costs around 10-15 dollars on ebay) then I suggest you use an emulator and try it out before you buy. I do suggest that everyone should pick this game up for their collection.

Puzzle Bobble

Puzzle Bobble - Bust A Move - Title Screen

Puzzle Bobble (a.k.a. Bust-A-Move) (1994)
By: Taito Genre: Puzzle Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 190,900
Also Available For: PlayStation, 3DO, SNK Neo Geo, Neo Geo Pocket, SNES, GameBoy, GameBoy Color, Sega Game Gear, PC, Bandai WonderSwan… also featured on various compilations and download services

I think it’s safe to say that Bubble Bobble has stood the test of time well and is rightly regarded as an all-time classic. It’s also safe to say that it has perhaps remained Taito’s most popular series. There have been numerous conversions of the games to home systems, particularly Bubble Bobble itself, and some of these conversions have appeared on newer systems in just the last few years. There have also been a number of ‘updates’ or ‘remixes’ of these famous games such as the Evolution/Revolution games on the PSP and DS. It’s odd though, that there had been no all-new, original games from Taito starring their most beloved of characters until Puzzle Bobble appeared. In spite of the fact that the second and third games in the original platform-based series (Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars) feature Bub and Bob as their real human selves, is it their appearance as dragons in the original that most gamers most fondly remember. It is fitting then, that the latest game to feature Bob and Bob returns them to that popular guise.

Puzzle Bobble - Bust A Move - Gameplay Screenshot 1

As you’ve probably guessed from its title, Puzzle Bobble is a puzzle game. It draws its influence from Columns and its ilk but it’s far more that a mere clone of Sega’s classic colour matching game. It is played on a single screen which, when play begins, is occupied by many bubbles of differing colours. They hang from the top of the screen and descend in various patterns depending on the stage. At the bottom of the screen is Bub (the green dinosaur). He is in control of a bubble-firing contraption of some sort which is located in a fixed position at the bottom of each stage alongside Bub and can be rotated left and right in a circular motion through 180 degrees. The object of the game, you see, is to clear the screen of bubbles.

Puzzle Bobble - Bust A Move - Gameplay Screenshot 2

This is where the main Columns influence comes into play. You are given mere seconds to fire each bubble from your bubble-firing device (otherwise it’ll fire automatically) and their colours are random, though you do get the advantage of a ‘next’ indicator. Each time you fire a bubble into two or more of the same colour, they’ll pop. If you manage to pop some bubbles that have others of different colours hanging from them, the stray bubbles will fall off the screen (they need something to hold onto, after all). This is called ‘dropping’ bubbles. The more bubbles you can ‘drop’ in one go, the higher your score will be. All the while that this is going on, the ceiling of the level is gradually descending too, which obviously pushes the bubbles closer and closer to the bottom of the screen (which can induce a Space Invaders style panic!). If any bubble(s) fall below the level of your bubble launcher (this limit is called the ‘deadline’) then it’ll be game over.

Puzzle Bobble - Bust A Move - Gameplay Screenshot 3

In the ultra-popular two-player mode, the screen in divided vertically down the middle. Bub occupies the left-hand screen and Bob occupies the right, and both players have control of their own bubble-firing devices. Each time you clear a reasonable quantity of bubbles in one go, your opponent’s playfield will be liberally sprinkled with random bubbles. The more you clear, the more they will receive! If a player clears all of his or her bubbles first they are the winner. If a player’s bubbles dip below the ‘deadline’ first they are the loser. Pretty standard stuff really, but who cares when it’s so much fun! And let’s face it –  it’s the two-player mode that most gamers will play almost exclusively anyway!

Puzzle Bobble - Bust A Move - Gameplay Screenshot 4

The one-player mode is pretty easy, comprising of 30 rounds, but it’s still great fun and relaxing to play. It initially appears to be one of those games that any old monkey could be good at, but it does have its testing moments with some screens crammed full of bubbles in no discernible pattern! Some others, however, can be cleared with a single well-aimed shot, and bouncing the bubbles off the side walls of the stage is an extremely useful art to learn. The first stage you play of each new credit will see your bubble launcher equipped with what basically amounts to a laser-sight, which shows the trajectory the bubble will take. This is particularly useful for rebounding shots and is a good training feature. Puzzle Bobble can get rather repetitive for one player though, but it’s also pretty damn addictive too.

Puzzle Bobble - Bust A Move - Gameplay Screenshot 5

Being a single-screen puzzle game, I don’t think anyone will be surprised to hear that Puzzle Bobble is hardly a jaw-dropper, graphically speaking. As I often say, however, it doesn’t need to be either. Bub and Bob remain as charming as ever and the screen is usually very colourful thanks to the many bubbles that fill it. When they pop, they explode in twinkly flashes of colour and some of them even contain enemies from the original Bubble Bobble! The background and playfield-surrounding areas change in appearance every three levels and are mostly different coloured patterns. The background on rounds twenty-five to twenty-seven is different though – it features several star constellations and scrolls vertically, increasing in speed the longer you play for! Sound-wise, the game is pretty much as you would expect from Taito. There’s not many tunes but those that are here are typically catchy, happy tunes, and the sound effects are great.

Puzzle Bobble - Bust A Move - Gameplay Screenshot 6

One thing Puzzle Bobble is renowned for is having been converted to nearly every home system to ever exist in one guise or another. It’s certainly simple enough to be played on nearly anything (even a mobile phone) and yet remains supremely playable in nearly every instance! You’ll probably get bored of the one-player mode pretty quickly (although it is still addictive) but when you’ve got a friend around, you could do a lot worse than give this a go! Its sequels made a few improvements but the core gameplay has remained unchanged since this original. There’s good reason for this, however – its quick, simple fun, end of story.

RKS Score: 7/10

Puzzle Bobble (Bust-A-Move)

Bust-A-Move SNES screen
Bust-A-Move SNES screen

Puzzle Bobble review (Bust-A-Move) by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:
“One of the CUTEST and ADDICTING puzzle games ever!”

Overall Score:
9 out of 10

Overview, Gameplay, My History With This Game, Fun Factor, & Replayability:

Damn you, Taito… Puzzle Bobble is just so freaking cute and such a great time eater! I first saw this game when I would go to arcades and it would be the game that girls would hog all the time, especially asian girls.

Puzzle Bobble screenshot
Puzzle Bobble screenshot

The cute little dinosaurs from Bubble Bobble, Bub and Bob, are back in their own little puzzle game. The game consists of the dinos manning a cannon that shoots different bubbles filled with specific enemies, basically colors, from Bubble Bobble. When you make 3 bubbles of one kind of color they pop. If there are any bubbles connected to them that were only being held there by that string then they pop too.

The game not only requires foresight as to what bubbles to blow up on time but skill as well. Only when you die do you get targeting bubbles that help you guide where the shot will land. The rest of the time you have to learn how to accurately fire bubbles and have them be effective. If you screw up by being slightly off you could have potentially ruined the easy way to pop bubbles quickly which is a problem considering every X number of seconds the stage moves down one bubble in length. If the stage reaches the bottom of the stage, you are so very, very dead.

This game not only makes you think quickly but requires you to react quickly as well, especially the further up the levels you get. I think that’s a good blend for some serious fun! This game is sometimes peaceful enough that it can be relaxing but once you get to the later stages it will make you cry as it owns you.

I’ve been playing this game since the mid 90s and I pick it up and put it down at least once a year. I give it a Fun Factor of 8 out of 10 and Replayability a score of 8 out of 10, considering almost 15 years worth of playing it!

I’ve played it a lot on the arcade, DOS, and the SNES version as well. Look below for a full list of all versions.

Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:

The game starts out rather simple but it gets difficult on some stages quickly. There is no way to alter the difficulty but the game is challenging as it is. If you find it easy just fly through the levels and eventually you will get to a point where your skill is maxed out and then it will get really tested.

Difficulty gets a score of 8 out of 10 since it starts out a bit slow for me but later gets heavy, giving Difficulty Versatility a score of 7 out of 10.


Puzzle Bobble (Bust-A-Move) was released on the 3DO, arcade, Game Boy & Game Boy Advanced & Color, Game Gear, iPhone, mobile phones, N-Gage, Neo Geo & Neo Geo CD & Pocket, Nintendo DS & Gamecube & Wii, PC, Playstation 1 & 2 & PSP, Sega DreamCast, SNES, VG Pocket Caplet, WonderSwan, Xbox & Xbox 360 (XBLA).

Depending on what version you get will determine how much you’ll pay. I’d say this game would easily be worth $20 tops considering it’s age and considering how available it is for emulation on just about everything. Even at $20, it’s totally worth having in your game library. At that price I’d say Value gets a score of 8 out of 10. Anything less or free is worth a 10 out of 10.


Just like everything, even the sound is cute in this game. When the level is about to start hearing them say “Ready……. Go!” or the popping sound goes really well with the theme of the game. Sound gets a score of 9 out of 10.


The music sounds a lot like bubblegum, like j-pop but with a special arcady feel to it. It blends really well with the feel of the game and its repetitiveness makes you keep playing, at times. Even the little jingles when you beat levels are very uplifting happy songs. The music gets a score of 10 out of 10.


No version I’ve ever seen of this game on any platform has ever crashed, not even the DOS version I used to play. Stability/Reliability get a score of 10 out of 10.


You don’t need many controls to play this game. Mastering the controls is another different matter though. Left moves left, right moves right, and the fire button simply launches the bubble. Again, mastering the exact spot where it will land takes skill, especially in the later stages and that aspect of the game requires aiming like a game of pool would. Controls get a score of 9 out of 10.

Graphics & Performance:

They made Bub and Bob even cuter than they were in Bubble Bobble and they have very much a very big Kawaii factor. The game is so cute it might make you ill. Graphics are really well drawn and they deserve a score of 10 out of 10.

The game never lags, no matter what version. Performance gets a score of 10 out of 10.


If you love puzzle games and you’ve never played this, you must check it out. If you like Bubble Bobble and want to see the dinos killing stuff with their bubble cannon, you need this. If you like Kawaii stuff and cute games, you need this game badly.


You can play this game in the Obsolete Gamer arcade area.