Puzzle Bobble is back with a brand new game and this time, it's not only in 3D; it has PlayStation VR support so here's Vacation Odyssey.
I absolutely love the Bubble Bobble franchise and the first game is one of my fondest gaming memories from when I was a kid. Over the years, it's received many ports, adaptations, sequels, and spin-offs and this latest title is its very first VR game and hopefully, not the last. If I was 6 years old and saw my friends Bub and Bob in VR back in the day, my head would have exploded with excitement. v1d30chumz 54-211-101-93
Now that I'm older, my love for Bubble Bobble is as strong as ever with the Puzzle Bobble / Bust-A-Move series remaining one of my favourite puzzle franchises of all time. So, how does it all change in VR? For starters, the basic rules are the same where you match 3 of the same colour bubble to pop them except this time; you do so in 3D by aiming a slingshot as Bob tosses bubbles your way. After each shot, the 3D object that contains the bubbles rotates so you have an opportunity to reach more sides of it. Once you pop all of the bubbles (or leave at most 1 attached) then you can pop the core and after all the cores are gone, you move on to the next stage.
Although that sounds simple, there are some complexities such as unlockable power-ups and the fact that the bubble clusters move differently in certain stages. There are also a couple of goals including pop all of the cores within a limited time and pop the cores without exceeding a certain number of moves. There's an infinite survival mode that you can challenge, too, as well as online multiplayer which is fun, especially with friends. Back to the power-ups; I really appreciate how unique they are and how you have to do cute little actions to activate them but, boy oh boy, are they expensive! It'll take a long time to earn enough in-game currency to afford all 3 of them.
Revisit the origins of Puzzle Bobble
Puzzle Bobble debuted in arcades back in 1994 and you can now play the original on modern consoles thanks to ACA NeoGeo: Puzzle Bobble. Plus, make sure to check out its delightful 1995 sequel with ACA NeoGeo: Puzzle Bobble 2 and experience Bub and Bob's very first game from 1986 with Arcade Archives: Bubble Bobble. Bring a friend; these games are great multiplayer fun!
The primary mode that you'll play through is story mode which features a whopping 100 stages and after every 10, you'll be treated to an adorable little slideshow that displays the story. That being said, it's kind of disappointing that the story is just a series of images. I wish I could watch Bub and Bob and pals run around and get into their shenanigans as I watch in VR. That would have been awesome! On the plus side, the graphics are adorable and each environment is very detailed and lovely. I especially enjoyed the desert stage where a storm is brewing as the lightning strikes are cool to observe. Oh, and smacking Bob in the face with bubbles is hilarious! 😆
Although Puzzle Bobble 3D: Vacation Odyssey is a wonderful puzzler, it could have done much more to be the complete package. For example, if there were extra modes such as a Vs. CPU mode; that would have gone a long way to extend its value. Also, I found aiming to frequently get frustrating because when you target basically anything, the cursor tends to jump around nearby spots as if you have to have pixel-perfect aiming. Instead, if there was a zoom feature then this would have been remedied as you could be more precise.
It's amazing that there's a Puzzle Bobble VR game, never mind a 3D one so if you're a fan of the franchise then you definitely have to play it. With that in mind, Vacation Odyssey could have gone a bit further to make it a more well-rounded and intuitive experience.
- + Enjoyable Puzzle Bobble gameplay that's well-adapted to 3D, especially in VR
- + Adorable visuals and fun environments
- + Cool power-ups / has online multiplayer
- - Aiming is fairly jumpy and finicky
- - Story sequences are just slides
- - Could use additional modes