Bubble Bobble 4 Friends was certainly a swell retro arcade throwback and we now have a swanky new iteration with The Baron Is Back.
Same fun game
Yes, Bubble Bobble 4 Friends: The Baron Is Back! is essentially an enhanced version of Bubble Bobble 4 Friends but you may not be familiar with the original which released earlier this year so allow me to introduce it to you. It's the latest installment in Taito's long-running Bubble Bobble franchise and it emulates the original's gameplay quite well while offering a stage-based campaign that's great fun to master. On top of that, there are cool abilities to unlock, you can play with 4 local players via co-op multiplayer, and you can try to achieve 3 stars on each challenging level as well as spell out EXTEND which is much trickier than you'd think. As fans have come to expect, it features adorable graphics and cute music and it's an overall lighthearted arcade romp that's fun whether you're going it alone or playing with friends. With all of that in mind, if you'd like to learn more about the original game, please read my full review.Bubble Bobble 4 Friends Review
Arcade of the Future
The primary addition to Bubble Bobble 4 Friends: The Baron Is Back! is Arcade of the Future mode which you can access after completing the somewhat brief main campaign on normal difficulty. This mode tasks you with climbing a tower by beating stages and although you begin with 10 lives, there are no continues. Considering there are 100 floors to master and many of them are puzzle-oriented, your ability to progress further and further often relies on your ability to memorize how to progress through certain tricky scenarios. This reliance on memorization can make it quite a frustrating mode but it is definitely rewarding to beat your previous record. If you add up the 50-stage campaign, its 50-stage hard mode counterpart, and Arcade of the Future; that's 200 stages in total which is great stuff!
Bells and whistles
On top of the new mode, Bubble Bobble 4 Friends: The Baron Is Back! also includes online leaderboards so if you want to show your scores off then this is a fantastic inclusion. There's also a new enemy type in the form of the titular Baron von Blubba who's invincible so you must avoid them whenever they happen to show up. Of course, considering this is now on PS4, you'll unlock a collection of trophies as you play which is sure to add hours of replay value for trophy hunters as getting every EXTEND bonus and 3 stars on each stage is definitely a substantial challenge. Overall, I'm glad that they included all of these extras but I wish the core game was tweaked a bit, too. For example, I wish that they retooled the bosses because they're as flat and unexciting as they were in the original release.
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends: The Baron Is Back! is a fantastic revival of a classic arcade game that has stood the test of time beautifully. If you're a fan of the series then this newly improved modern interpretation will be sure to delight.
- + Same enjoyable game that released earlier this year in all its old-school glory
- + New mode is quite a fun challenge
- + Some other nifty additions
- - Arcade of the Future requires a lot of memorization in order to master
- - Main campaign is still rather short
- - Boss fights are quite flat