Bust-A-Move DS (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 08.08.2006

The amount of puzzle games flying onto the Nintendo DS since its launch is quite phenomenal. Thankfully, though, there has not been a deficiency in quality. Now a Taito classic is being reborn on the portable system, not by Rising Star, as has been the case with Taito's games lately, but by Italian outfit 505 GameStreet. But can the quality be maintained?

This definitely should not be mistaken with Taito's own remake 'Puzzle Bobble DS', which was released in Japan last year. This is instead the European version of Majesco's own version, released here by 505. It really does not have the true sparkle of Taito's game, with the graphical quality being pretty damn average, making it look like something from the early days of the Super Nintendo. Thankfully for the purposes of such a puzzle game, the only real necessity is clarity of the playing field and the actual bubbles that need to be arranged in order to survive, and in this area Bust-A-Move DS succeeds. The other area that lifts the game up is that of the music, which is bright and breezy throughout, definitely leaving you with a happy European summery feeling after playing.

Screenshot for Bust-A-Move DS on Nintendo DS

The game is of the usual puzzle ilk, whereby you must match up a set of three-or-more like colours in order to clear the screen before dying. The twist with Bust-A-Move is that the action is turned on its head. Rather than the Tetris style games out there, BAM sees players shooting more bubbles upwards, with the current congregation of bubbles stuck at the top of the screen, eventually moving slowly downwards, thus reducing the playing field, the longer the game goes on.

What makes this a far better option than Taito's own remake is that there has been a touch-screen mechanic mixed in that works a treat. The game used to have players moving a line around on an arch manually via the directional pad, then leaving you to fire bubbles at will. Now, though, just like the minigame in Super Mario 64 DS, players can drag the particular bubble downwards and to whichever side you need to in order to get the correct angle, before letting go and watching it (hopefully) zip into the appropriate space. Luckily there is a short dotted line guide to help you work out angles, which comes in especially handy when having to bounce bubbles off the side walls in order to squeeze them in to awkward places!

Screenshot for Bust-A-Move DS on Nintendo DS

Cleverly, if you have a set of random bubbles that are annoying you, just sitting attached to, for instance, two isolated red bubbles, chucking another red and clearing those three will make the attached bubbles drop off the bottom of the screen. This can result in special combination moves and the dropped colours shoot up into particular locations, causing a chain effect of clearances. There is also a swap function, where one bubble is kept in reserve and can be called upon whenever you feel like it, simple by switching your current one with it. This proves invaluable; for example, you are struggling to despatch a red bubble, but you have a purple in reserve and can use it to set off a huge combination move...bingo, suddenly you are out of dire straits!

Amazingly enough, this can actually be more time consuming than Tetris, depending on your mood. My wife, for instance, lay playing this non-stop for about three hours! And she does not even enjoy video-gaming normally. That is real testament to how absorbing Bust-A-Move gets. Simple to pick up, hard to put down; it is the perfect formula for an entry into this particular genre.

Screenshot for Bust-A-Move DS on Nintendo DS

The game really is not as simple as it may sounds, though. Trying to get the perfect angle takes a lot of skill (or luck) and the rate at which the bubbles all move downward can cause panicked mistakes. There are also several characters to choose from, each basically representing different difficulty levels, plus you can change the amount of colours that will appear during a puzzle battle. Other than that, the game supports an Endless mode, Vs. the computer and has a Puzzle mode where you must work from preset combinations and clear them in the fastest time possible. Multiplayer is also a possibility, with five others able to join in via just one DS card! In the Vs. option there is that great feeling included where when you clear many lines, your opponent(s) get heaps more piled on! Battling is such great fun and will certainly take up a lot of your time with the game...

Screenshot for Bust-A-Move DS on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

As far as puzzle games go, this may not be the prettiest, but it certainly is one of the most addictive, which is all that really matters with this particular genre. Bust-A-Move DS is a strong challenger to the likes of recent releases Tetris and Puyo Pop Fever.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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