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Bust-A-Move Universe Review

Bust-A-Move Universe: Underwhelming 3D Version Of Classic Puzzler
by Annette Gonzalez on Mar 27, 2011 at 04:30 AM

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Reviewed on 3DS
Publisher Square Enix
Developer Arika
Rating Everyone

Bust-A-Move icons Bub and Bob need your help! The adorable dinos have found themselves locked away and need you to find the keys needed to help them break free. The keys rest among colored bubbles scattered across the 3DS screen, and retrieving them involves classic Bust-A-Move gameplay. Universe is Bust-A-Move through and through, and while the classic formula is still effective, this 3DS launch title surprisingly fails to use any of the system’s features that could’ve helped separate it from its countless predecessors that have released on nearly every platform to date.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Bust-A-Move series, you control the pointer at the bottom of the screen by using the d-pad (left and right triggers can be used for precision) and launch random colored bubbles toward a mass of bubbles above. Form a group of three or more of the same shade for a satisfying burst. Clear the playing field of all bubbles before a descending wall at the top of the screen pushes the bubbles past the fault line, then move on to the next puzzle. Aside from a few new power-ups, the 3DS version is far from groundbreaking. 
Bust-A-Move Universe is broken down into two modes: Puzzle and Challenge. Puzzle mode offers eight stages, each with 10 rounds a pop. Complete all the rounds and prepare for an underwhelming boss fight where your adversary floats around in a bubble as you try and attach three of your bomb bubbles to its protective core in order for them to burst and cause damage. Challenge mode merely offers a few timed challenges of 100-seconds, 300-seconds, and non-stop bubbles mode that won’t cease until a line fault occurs for a proper endurance run. And that’s it. The previous DS iteration of Bust-A-Move included options for touch screen control and great multiplayer design. Universe on 3DS surprisingly lacks both.
The time-tested bubble popping gameplay on its own is still enjoyable, but leaves a bit to be desired after going through the rounds. Unless you’re a devout fan of the series, I’d say get mileage on your shiny new 3DS somewhere else as this version of Bust-A-Move is far from being the definitive package.

It’s Bust-A-Move…in 3D
The 3D effect adds some extra depth, but is hardly noticeable after extended play
One catchy track is remixed across levels to fit each world’s theme
If you’ve played any of the countless previous entries and have a penchant for popping like-colored bubbles you’re in good shape
A meager entry for the series. The solo affair is nothing you haven’t already seen

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Bust-A-Move Universe

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