In 2021, the beloved Puzzle Bobble series made its return, thanks to an outing enabled for PSVR. The game you see here is a version of the same game for PS5, but without the virtual reality element. The question is, do the software specialists at Survios have enough in this version to make it stand on its own? Let’s explore that.
For those unfamiliar with it, Puzzle Bobble was a match-three puzzle game from 1994. The objective was to clear patterns of colored bubbles by shooting more bubbles at them. You aimed a pointer and tried to land your bubble in a way that formed a link of three or more bubbles, causing them to disappear. The ultimate goal was to clear the screen of bubbles. It was a straightforward concept.
However, Puzzle Bobble 3D: Vacation Odyssey introduces an extra dimension, as hinted by the title. The bubbles are now organized in 3D clusters, adding depth to the existing two dimensions. Yet, the core concept remains unchanged. Your task is to fire bubbles into the area to clear away all the bubbles. These bubbles are attached to a core that you must also eliminate.
To fire a bubble now, you need to squeeze the R2 button, aim using the left stick, and then release the R2 button. Besides aiming to clear bubbles, your shot’s impact also rotates the bubble group on a central axis, altering your view. Unlike the original game where balls ominously dropped toward you, the failure conditions now involve either a time limit or a shot limit. If you run out of shots, you’ll have to restart the level.
In addition to the power-ups that you unlock gradually, the bomb stands out as the most useful one. Yet, frustratingly, if you use a power-up and still fail the level, you’re forced to restart without its help. This can be quite a setback, considering that each use costs 20 coins (and you need 100 to unlock them). It might take achieving success in two or three levels just to recover that cost.
Moving beyond that aspect, the simplicity of the original game remains intact. Despite the new perspective, at its core, this is still a straightforward match-three puzzle game. Nevertheless, there are certain issues to address. One significant factor depends on whether you’re a fan of the series. Unlike other puzzle games where creating combos feels immensely satisfying, in this series, the focus often boils down to identifying and eliminating larger clusters of the same color. In 3D, this challenge intensifies since targeting, or even spotting, critical bubbles that could break apart larger groups becomes notably harder. Moreover, with a total of 100 levels to progress through, the game tends to become repetitive rather swiftly.
However, the most glaring flaw in Puzzle Bobble 3D relates to the aiming mechanics. Well, somewhat. Aiming, in reality, isn’t overly complex. The issue lies in its sluggishness, clumsiness, and occasional unreliability. Even in the early levels, you might find yourself missing shots due to slight, unexpected shifts in the aiming line, resulting in adding a bubble to a cluster instead of clearing it. This annoyance amplifies when the clusters start moving later in the game, leading to a somewhat joyless experience.
On a positive note, the transition to 3D does bring visual improvements. The entire game boasts a clean aesthetic, featuring sharp, vibrant, and colorful graphics. Coupled with cheerful music and ample blue skies, Puzzle Bobble 3D manages to exude a certain charm during gameplay. Additionally, the game offers offline versus play and an endless mode for players seeking an arcade-like experience.
Yet, personally, it’s evident that the optimal enjoyment was intended through PSVR. The shift to 3D doesn’t significantly enhance the gameplay and even detracts from the precision required for accurate shot aiming. Having indulged in numerous iterations of Puzzle Bobble previously, it’s intriguing to see them experiment with something different. Fans of the series are still treated to a substantial gaming experience for their $15.99, despite the noticeable contrasts.
- Impressive Visuals
- Intriguing Modern Spin on a Classic Gameplay Concept
- Abundance of Levels to Progress Through
- Controls Lack Consistency
- Repetition Sets in Swiftly
- Ideally Experienced with PSVR.
Verdict: Score of 6/10
Puzzle Bobble is now in 3D and available on your PS5. In essence, everything functions as it should, but the slightly finicky controls dampen the enjoyment a tad. Those accustomed to PSVR might find it more appealing, yet the standout feature of this game version is undoubtedly the crisp visuals on the mighty PS5. It’s still one of the best VR games we tried.
Check 11 more Retro VR Games to enjoy. We handpicked and tested them for the best VR experience.
- Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs Review
- Fruit Ninja VR Review
- Space Channel 5 VR: Kinda Funky News Flash!
- Pixel Ripped 1995 VR Game Review
- Myst VR Game Review
- Void Racer Extreme – Best VR Game Review
- Walkabout Mini Golf VR Game Review
- Tetris Effect Connected Best VR Game Review
- Galactic Rangers VR Game Review
- Rez Infinite Best VR Game: Our Review
- Resident Evil 4 Best VR Game Review
- Google Art Game to Nurture Your Inner Artist
- Peloton Lanebreak Game Review: How to Play?
- Best 2023 MMORPG to Play
- Poki Games: 15 Best Mini-Games to Enjoy Now for Free
- Horror Games: Best 25 Titles to Play Right Now