October 14, 2009

Bust-A-Move™ Live! - XBLA

Genre: Puzzle and Word
Released: September 30, 2009
Game Rating: E (Everyone)
Cost: 800 Microsoft Points (Canada)

This was one of my most loved arcade games of all time and the addition of this title to the Xbox arcade line up was a real treat for me. I remember playing this game on the old arcade machines and loving it for two main reasons: 1) the quick thinking puzzle style gameplay and 2) it only cost a quarter to play and you could play for a quite a while if you were good at the game.

The concept of the game is simple, attempt to clear the entire game board of coloured bubbles in as little time as possible in order to earn the most points. To do this you must shoot a randomly coloured bubble from the bottom of the screen into a group of at least 2 similar coloured bubbles to clear them. If you are unable to match the bubble at the bottom of your screen with a group of similar coloured bubbles on the game board you have two options: 1) you can attempt to clear the bubble by shooting it in such a way that it will not stick to existing bubbles or 2) you can attempt to place the bubble somewhere on the board which will be easy to clear in the future.

To shoot the bubbles you are provided with a directional arrow which you can move 180 degrees. In your tutorial/training mode you are also provided with a trajectory line which will show you where your bubble will go based on the position of your directional arrow. The simplest shot involves shooting the bubble straight into your desired group of bubbles. You can also shoot your bubbles against the walls to perform banked shots to get around obstacles that may be preventing a straight shot. After the tutorial, you will no longer have the trajectory line so it will become a little more difficult. The better you are with angles and estimating trajectories the easier this game will be. However, if you happen to fail at a level, the game will give you back your trajectory line in an act of pity/sympathy for your failure.

At times, the bubble that you will shoot will be a special effect bubble. Two examples of special effect bubbles are: 1) a bubble that will turn the colour of the first cleared group of bubbles around it (For example: if you shoot this bubble and then clear the red bubbles next to it, the bubble will turn red), 2) a bubble that clears the first bubble it hits and all similarly coloured bubbles on the game board (For example: if your bubble intersects with a green bubble, all green bubbles will be cleared).

This game is a lot of fun and really makes you think on your toes and form some quick strategies in order to clear the boards. The game has quite a few levels and game boards but also has some great replay value for those who like to try to beat their best scores. Overall, the game is a great value for price and I would strongly recommend the title, especially to anyone who enjoys puzzle style games.

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