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