Saturday, March 22, 2008


As I am always in the mood for Puzzle Bobble derivatives, Frozen-Bubble sounded like it might be a good time. Despite its polish, Frozen-Bubble suffers as a single-player game. The fact that it offers multiplayer support both locally and via network saves it from being a completely skippable title.

First, the good: it's a clone of Puzzle Bobble, and it's very cute n' pretty. The theme is penguins (someone, please explain to me who thought it was a great idea that Linux and penguins be forever entwined? Honestly, it's just weird), so there's a cute little penguin at the bottom of the screen cranking your little aiming-turret thing left and right according to your will, and there's an arctic vibe to everything.

The graphics are really sharp-looking windowed; I couldn't find an option for full-screen. They're also consistent - the artists had an aesthetic in mind, and stuck with it, making everything look very nice with everything else. I love it when that happens.

The multi-player mode has an interesting chaining effect where bubbles that are dropped but not part of the color that was exploded can return to the field of play and pop more bubbles. It's hard to explain, but easy to figure out once you see it in action. I thought it was cool; it was probably ripped off from some other game, but if they invented, props to them.

Downside? Scoring is inscrutable. I couldn't find any info on it on the website, or within the game. It's non-existent for the single-player game, which is bad enough. Half the fun of Puzzle Bobble is getting massive amounts of bonus points for finishing quickly or for dropping lots of bubbles at once, and they eliminate that fun by having your level and time serve as your score in single-player mode.

That seems doubly pointless when you take into account that they have implemented scores for the multiplayer mode - why take them out of single-player? But even in multiplayer, it's not a fun scoring system because I have no idea what earns me points. It wasn't just dropping balls; that would give me points sometimes, and other times not. I dunno.

The music is unimpressive. Every Puzzle Bobble game that has music, has music that eventually gets really old. So that I got tired of this perky electronic stuff rather quickly doesn't mean it's bad. The sound-effects are nicely remeniscent of the source material, as far as high-pitched squealy voices go.

Basically, this is a solid game that works well and looks great but isn't very fun in single-player mode. I'm sure it's great for multiplayer, but that's not very hard to do, as you bring fun with you when you're gaming with your friends. All a game has to do is not get in the way. I wouldn't recommend this even to fans of the genre, unless they've tried every other option available and are just desperate for more levels, as far as single-player is concerned. For intercontinental bubble battles, it's a go.

1 comment:

twistedsaturn said...

Penguins and Linux got stuck together because of the Linux kernel's creator, Linux Torvolds, who had a fascination with them. There's a funny story in this somewhere, go look it up sometime.