Bust-a-Move [App Store] (Also known as Puzzle Bobble in some countries.) was originally released in 1994 as a Japanese arcade game. A few months later, the Neo Geo home console version was released and since then there have been 23 different remakes and sequels.
Even if you haven’t heard of Bust-a-Move, chances are the gameplay elements are at least somewhat similar to you as there have been numerous clones over the years. Bust-a-Move is played in portrait mode with a play field of different colored bubbles. At the bottom of the screen is a launcher that must be aimed to fire bubbles up at the bubbles at the top of the screen to make matches of three or more. Bubbles pop when matched and if there were any bubbles connected to the set you just removed and they don’t have anything else to stick to they also get removed.
The game is lost when the bubbles from the top of the screen cross the line at the bottom of the screen. To make things a little more challenging, every few shots the “ceiling" of the level drops down, moving all of the bubbles on screen even closer to the bottom. Clear all the bubbles without dying and you move on to the next level. Special “power" bubbles are available including the star bubble, large bubble, rainbow bubble, line bomb bubble, bomb bubble and metal bubble. These bubbles cause different sorts of damage when fired.
Bust-a-Move comes with two different control schemes, one where you aim the launcher manually and fire it like a sling shot as well as one where you tap on screen to aim it. The sling-shot mechanism feels nice and is well suited for one handled play.
Included is a story mode that likely won’t be winning any awards for plot development, but gets the job done regardless. Challenge mode features endless puzzles, and if you’re lucky enough to know someone who has a Bluetooth capable device who also has a copy of Bust-a-Move you can play two player.
As mentioned previously, there is no shortage of Bust-a-Move clones. If you grew up playing Bust-a-Move, you’ll also enjoy the iPhone version.
Like Snood, the primary target audience for Bust-a-Move are those who have a deep history with the game. Unlike Taito’s Space Invaders Infinity Gene, Bust-a-Move is not a completely re-imagined version of the game, but a refined iPhone port of the classic. If you have no history with either Snood or Bust-a-Move, cheaper clones like Bubble Bash [$0.99] offer a similar experience for significantly less.
App Store Link: Bust-a-Move, $4.99