Bust-A-Move Universe review

  • Traditional Bust-A-Move gameplay
  • Lots of "awards" to collect
  • Looks pretty with 3D off
  • 3D is completely superfluous
  • Nothing new compared to DS Bust-A-Move games
  • No multiplayer, few extras

While the traditional bubble-shooting match-three gameplay of the series remains intact, Bust-A-Move Universe feels completely stripped-down compared to the previous two Bust-A-Move games that were released for DS. It only features two basic modes – a story mode and a challenge mode – with no multiplayer at all and not much content in total.

The concept of Bust-A-Move is simple – aim and shoot bubbles to match colors and clear all the bubbles without going over the line at the bottom of the screen. Universe adds a few small twists here and there, like three types of special bubbles you can use when a gauge fills, like wildcard bubbles that match to whatever you shoot them at. The boss levels can be quite exciting and tense, where you shoot bomb bubbles at a moving target to deplete its HP before time runs out, but they're way less inventive than the bosses in Space Bust-A-Move and feel dumbed-down in comparison.

As for the 3D, it's completely unnecessary and we turned it off quickly. Bust-A-Move is a 2D game through and through, and not only does 3D not add anything to the experience whatsoever, but it didn't look that great either. Overall this feels like a quick cash-in riding on the 3DS launch wave, and although it is cheaper than the other launch titles at $30 compared to $40, that doesn't mean it's a good value – you can find either DS Bust-A-Move for a fraction of the price, and both contain more content than Universe. Its replayability is padded somewhat with "awards" you can collect for various achievements and high scores, but that only goes so far. Even if you really love Bust-A-Move, you're better off sticking with Bust-A-Move DS or Space Bust-A-Move.

Apr 4, 2011

More Info

Available Platforms: 3DS
Genre: Puzzle
Published by: Square Enix
Franchise: Bubble Bobble
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Comic Mischief

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  • philipshaw - April 7, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    Good thing this didn't come out for the UK launch then
  • Zepaw - April 6, 2011 1:05 a.m.

    @db The launch aggregate of Kinect was so bad because there were games below 5 which is so god awful. As a happy Kinect owner who bought a Kinect last month I say the line up beats the 3DS launch. Most games sucked, but there were a few games for Kinect (Dance Central, Kinect Sports, Your Shape) that made the system worth seriously considering. As a lover of all things Nintendo I canceled my 3DS preorder because there was not a single game I cared to buy on launch.
  • db1331 - April 5, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    @Redeater I know it's not a stand-alone system, but the Kinect still had worse launch titles than the 3DS. I don't think all the Kinect launch games even got a 10 COMBINED on this site.
  • HeroUnderThePine - April 5, 2011 4:34 a.m.

    Darn, I was hoping to have a new game that I can just pick-up, play and enjoy. Guess I'll start looking for the DS ones!
  • WillisTron - April 5, 2011 4:34 a.m.

    The launch lineup doesn't at all turn me off of a system, that's like saying a sports team will never be any good because they lost their first game. While the initial games are disappointing for the most part, the 3DS looks to be incredible and I can't wait to I save up the money (=
  • Redeater - April 5, 2011 4:32 a.m.

    Is it just me or is this some kind of record for all time low scores? Which is saying something since reviews tend to look kindly upon launch games.
  • Rubberducky - April 5, 2011 3:46 a.m.

    $30 is way too much for this game. I'm hoping the ngp at least launches with a better lineup than Nintendo has so far :/