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BubbleHead Review

Title: BubbleHead
Developer: Crowd Cafe
Platform: Apple iPhone and iPod Touch
Release Date: 5/4/2009
Number of Players: 1

BubbleHead is a new game for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and has you navigating a little bubble fellow around a variety of obstacles in two different modes. The objective and gameplay are simple, but it’s challenging avoiding all of the impediments, and some wicked smooth moves are needed to place on the worldwide leaderboards. Do you have what it takes to get this bubble to the finish line, or will you pop him, along with your dreams of success?

First of all, the game is very simple to control and understand. You simply hold a finger on the touch screen to have your bubble buddy float upwards, and let go to have him slowly fall back down. You also need to tilt the device in order to move your character side-to-side. The controls are very responsive and accurate, and with practice, will have you flying your bubble all over the screen with ease, but you must be very careful not to hit an object, or you will asplode.

There are two modes in the BubbleHead; Arcade and Random. Arcade features five planets, each of which house five levels, for a total of 25 levels to play through. Each planet contains themed obstacles, including Fast Food, Sports, Computers, Forest, and Medical themes. Each planet really plays the same though, with a simple cosmetic change to give you something new to look at, but in reality, you are still doing the same thing. The goal of Arcade mode is to float around and collect all 15 stars in each level and make it to the top. There are a few checkpoints in each level, and you get 3 lives per attempt. Your ultimate goal, aside from completely the level itself, is to get a high score, or fastest time rather. So you will want to try and zoom around the level, and for attempting a high score, it would be mostly wise to pick up all of the stars, as they deduct 2 seconds off your time, which can be very valuable.

The levels presented in the game are fairly colorful and feature smooth backgrounds and artwork. While each planet is themed and features a set number of obstacles/artwork, they are displayed in a variety of angles and sizes, sometimes coming together to form a cool scene, but typically just arranged to build a path that you must follow, or pray to fit through if you try to veer outside of a path as a shortcut.

Once you’ve had your hand at some Arcade action, you’ll want to try out Random. Random has a bit of a difference goal than Arcade. Instead of going for the best time, you are going for the highest score, meaning getting the highest you can on the stage. Random has you climbing as high as you can, gaining points as you go, as well as an extra 100 points for each star you grab. Random also features randomly generated and popping in obstacles, so you have to be careful about where you float. This also means that every time you play is a “new” experience as the course won’t be the same. This is sometimes good and sometimes not so good, as some randomly generated obstacles can make it nearly impossible to proceed, so there is some luck involved in climbing to the heavens.

Once you beat Arcade mode, which will probably take you around 30 minutes, there really isn’t much incentive to go back to it, aside from getting better times and rising on the leaderboards (Currently the record in Arcade is 3 minutes and 48 seconds…good luck). However, Random mode can have you coming back for a few minutes here and there to play a round or two, so it’s good for pick-up-and-play sessions.

The Review

Storyline:
Like most iPhone/Puzzle games, there is no story here. Sorry.

Gameplay:
The gameplay is very simple and easy to pick up on. You simply hold a finger on the screen to float your bubble-man upwards, and tilt to maneuver. Your goal is to either collect the stars and get to the top of the level, or get as far as you can. Pretty much as simple as you can get, but it’s not a bad thing.

Sound/Music:
The game features a few cutesy sound effects, but nothing too annoying or disturbing.

Graphics:
The graphics are smooth; nice artwork, but no super amazing effects or anything that will blow you away, but certainly something that the developers put time into.

The Good:
Simple gameplay and short game rounds so you can pick up and play at anytime. The online leaderboards also provide incentive to come back and try to get ranked.

The Bad:
While there are five planets to “explore”, they are essentially all the same, although they do get more difficult. And no unlockables, for real.

Overall:
BubbleHead is a decent puzzle-type game, where you maneuver your bubble buddy around, collecting stars, and avoiding obstacles that will burst your little friend. The controls are very simple and responsive, so anybody can play. You can go at your own pace and complete levels with slow, smooth precision, or you can try to rocket through them, tilting your device at sharp degrees and rocketing your bubble from side to side and skywards to try to get a high score. Doing the latter is fairly exciting and will have you on edge and disappointed when you don’t quite make it through a gap, but you’ll go back and try again and get better and better, so there is definitely skill involved. The online leaderboards give reason to come back to the game, but it would have been nice to have extra characters to play as, that could provide different weights, sizes, and speeds which could have added an extra element to gameplay, but at $1.99, you can’t complain.

Final Vote: 3/5

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