Review: Bubble Shot!
Bubble Shot! is a new game for the iOS by developers Fat Fish. Available for free, it is- as the name suggests- a bubble shooting game in the mould of the Bust-a-Move series.
For those of us unfamiliar with the genre (where have you been?) the point is basically to shoot bubbles into other bubbles, destroying groups of matching colour. If you fail to do so quickly enough, the bubbles overtake your screen and you die. With players earning coins and experience as they progress, and able to purchase extra firepower from a choice of four different power-ups, Fat Fish are hoping that this game will be something a little different from your average bubble shooter.
Sadly, I don’t think they’ve quite managed it. Bubble Shot! Is one of those free games which is trying to stop being free at every turn- want more lives? Want more power-ups? Then pay up! And if you don’t, take a look at a few of these ads for some of our other products. Bubble shooters are probably one of the least varied and most easily replicable models of game it’s possible to come up with, and it takes a lot of effort to distinguish yourself from the crowd- effort which Fat Fish haven’t entirely put in.
The power-ups are relatively interesting: bombs to blow up bubbles, shields to save you from disaster and time freezes to… well, you know. There’s also an extended sight, however, which brings me onto another point: bubble shooters weren’t designed for touchscreen. The simple reason for this is that the difficulty of the game is in judging where your bubble will go- with a touchscreen, I just touch the point on the screen I want the bubble to end up in. The challenge is gone. It becomes a game experience which is hardly challenging, whereby I go on popping bubbles indefinitely in an ambient, hypnotic way.
The game mechanics are really like those of any other bubble-popping game you’ve ever played, and although three of the four power-ups are mildly interesting, buying them up with earned coins isn’t as satisfying as it could be. The experience and coin systems come off as a bit superfluous really, because the game is so monotonous to play that I don’t really want to earn power-ups which I can use by playing again. It’s like doing chores for pocket money, and then spending the pocket money on equipment to do your chores with.
To sum up
Overall, there is almost nothing to distinguish Fat Fish’s latest effort from any other clone bubble popping game produced in the last twenty years. It’s free only in principle, and tries to make you buy stuff all the time; it adds nothing to the gameplay but spurious earning systems- and bubble shooters aren’t that great on touchscreen anyway. Even with a price tag of zero, this game still isn’t a worthwhile venture. Sorry to burst your bubble.