Bust-A-Move has moved its way onto the dual screened DS system, but how well does it fair against previous versions and other puzzle games?
Bust-A-Move is a long running puzzle game that was created soon after the huge Tetris craze. Unlike the horizontal line creating of Tetris, Bust-A-Move is a puzzle game that involves linking colored bubbles together. The DS version is just like versions before it except with a few changes that makes use of the system?s hardware.
Unique to Bust-A-Move DS is the use of two screens and touch control. The player will launch bubbles from the upper portion of the bottom screen into the top screen. This is accomplished by using either the standard D-pad controls or stylus. The stylus is used to slingshot pieces by first pulling back then releasing. This allows the player to shoot pieces quickly, but at the expense of accuracy. The game does use a dotted line pointing guide to display the path the bubbles will take, but it only extends so far, and is therefore limited help for the player to gain an idea of where each piece will land. And like many puzzle games, one bubble can be swapped out and stored for later use. This increases the game?s strategy level.
Using the stylus is sort of a mixed bag. It can be quicker to launch pieces, but the user will definitely need a steady hand. The slightest hand shake could cause a bubble to travel off course, and could be the deciding factor in a match. With this said, the game will be more difficult to play in a moving car or train, hence cutting out some of the game?s portability. This is why there is the D-pad control as well. Players uncomfortable with the stylus will want to utilize this standard play control as it tends to be easier but not as time efficient.
Unfortunately, the player must choose which form of control to play with from the options menu; the player can only use one or the other. If you are in a match and realize the stylus is not working out for you, you cannot simply switch to using the D-pad, and vice versa. Switching on the fly should have been a no brainer, so why this wasn?t included in the game is the biggest question to ask.
The game offers tons of puzzles to complete one player style. However, there really isn?t a clear way to see which puzzles the player has completed. Having some type of completed indicator (like a star symbol for example) is necessary when the player has hundreds of puzzles to choose from. Not having one only adds confusion. The menu system is pretty weak as well. The screen transitions from selection to selection by the way of a traveling boat in the form of the dinosaur from the game. This makes selecting each puzzle difficult, especially with the D-pad as the player must scroll through everything. The overall presentation of the game screams ?budget.?
The game offers single card multiplayer competition for up to 5 players. You can even select which player to send your garbage bubbles to. However, making all these selections with the D-pad is nearly impossible to perform in a multiplayer match due to a time constraint and clumsy menu system. This almost forces the player to use the stylus simply for the selecting which character to attack. Players that prefer the D-pad over the stylus will almost cringe in the multiplayer mode.
If you don?t have other humans to play with, computer A.I. can take their place. However, there is no option to set the A.I.?s difficulty. Usually this means that the computer control characters will own you or will be defeated right away. Not having a setting for A.I. opponents is extremely lacking.
The graphics are just like every game before it. They are nothing special but they get the job done, pretty much like every other puzzle game. However, the music is super annoying. Listening to the music for the first stage is just fine, but by the time you get to level 2, you will turn your sound off completely. Listening to the higher pitched but uncoordinated melodies should be considered torture and I can see it being used to interrogate terrorists by the government. Terrorists will be spilling the beans about their master plans using weapons of mass destruction within mere minutes.
Bust-A-Move DS is just like every other Bust-A-Move before it. The only real difference is the use of two screens and stylus touch control. If you like Bust-A-Move, then you?ll like this game and there is no reason not to purchase it. If you are looking for a solid single card multiplayer mode, then you?ll probably also like this game. But the game?s overall presentation is down right poor. The menu system is unclear, level completed indictors are absent, and the music is ear busting. And why is it that whenever you want to go back to the main menu, the game restarts completely and you have to watch the developer and publisher screen?s again? This game is best enjoyed with four other human opponents for heated multiplayer competition. The overall gameplay is there but lacks the finishing polish that every game needs.