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
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.