While it has its share of problems, most of which are outlined in my review of the game, Bubble Witch Saga 2 (Free) is a pretty enjoyable way to kill a couple of minutes here and there. It’s a bit of an oddball in King’s lineup thanks to how strongly success depends on getting a lucky distribution of bubbles, but even when winning is futile, you can still sharpen up your skills for the next round. Having picked my way through all of the currently available stages, I’ve managed to put together a list of tips and advice for those of you trying to make your way through. Of course, if you’ve played the original game of this type, Taito’s Bust-A-Move, or one of its many, many clones, you’ve probably already got a lot of great techniques in your arsenal, and I’ll be going through a few of those here, but Bubble Witch has a few twists that require some specific strategies.
Aim high. This is rule number one of any bubble bursting game. In Bubble Witch, if you take out higher bubbles, any of the bubbles connected below will fall. With limited shots, why waste any bubbles if you’re just going to drop them anyway? Always go for the highest shot you can. Pay attention to the colors that you can sort of make out near the top.
Don’t waste bubbles. Remember, you can swap between two different bubbles by touching the shooter. As long as you can put at least one of the two to good use, you can keep new bubbles coming in. You might be looking at what’s in front of you and thinking it doesn’t matter if you waste that green bubble now, only to curse yourself when you find that green bubble would have won the round if you’d only saved it.
Pay attention to what color is next in the queue. Sometimes you have a choice between two different, equally attractive groups of bubbles to pop. How do you choose which to go with? Well, check which color is coming up next in your shooter, and pop whichever side will open up bubbles for your next shot. A little bit of thinking ahead can save you from wasting shots.
Try to break bubbles with every shot. Breaking bubbles makes a spider drop. Shots that don’t break bubbles make the spiders climb back up. Spiders don’t help you clear a stage, but they do help you earn points, and everyone likes to get a higher score. As long as it’s not going to hinder your ability to finish the stage, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t aim to have as many spiders out as possible.
Carefully manage the few free resources the game offers you. You’ll get a chunk of gold when you start the game. Do not spend it on anything other than unlocking the next set of stages when you reach a gate. It’s tempting to use it for five extra bubbles if you get really close to winning, but you can always get another chance to win, and those five bubbles are in no way guaranteed to be the bubbles you want or need. If you spend your gold foolishly, you’ll either have to wait five days, bother your friends, or spend real money on gold to open the next set of stages.
The free power-ups are equally valuable. The game will give you three of each new power-up when you unlock them. It usually means for you to use at least one of them on that very stage, but that’s a bad idea. The game will never give you any more of those power-ups, so do not waste them on an easy stage like the ones they’re given to you in. Save them for situations where you’re truly stuck, and even then, only use one if it absolutely guarantees your victory.
Special Bubble Types
Line Blast Bubbles – When these appear in a stage, it’s time to really put on your thinking cap, because it means you’re in a more puzzle-oriented stage than usual. It goes without saying that you need to prioritize hitting these with any bubble you can, but keep in mind that first tip from before: aim high. Don’t waste shots on a lower Line Blast if you think you can reach a higher one instead. Remember, as soon as you touch one of these with any bubble, everything below it will drop, including other Line Blasts.
Cloudy Bubbles – You can’t tell what color these bubbles are until you touch them with another bubble or make a match with an adjacent bubble. Naturally, if these are in your way, you’ll want to reveal them, but make sure you do so in a way that leaves them open for removal after. Since you’ll more than likely hit the bubble with a different color, you don’t want to block it off from being hit with a matching follow-up shot.
Black Holes – These things are annoying. They tend to get right in your way, and they’re hard to remove since they follow the same drop rules as bubbles. Here’s one tip you may not realize about them, however. Each Black Hole can only absorb three bubbles before disappearing. This means, in certain situations, you’re better off feeding a stubborn Black Hole three shots to get it out of the way. This is especially useful in cases where you’d otherwise be relying on tricky bank shots.
Solid Bubbles – These black-colored bubbles come into the works in the third set of stages, and they are annoying. They follow the same drop rules as everything else, and that is actually the only way you can get rid of them. Like the Line Blasts, however, their presence indicates that you should look at the stage layout a little more closely to find the best path to take.
Clear the Top – Your goal here is to remove bubbles until you reach the top of the play area, where you have to remove six of the topmost bubbles to clear the stage. All of the general advice applies well to these stages. When you reach the top, remember that you don’t have to remove all of the top bubbles. You only need to take out six, so plan your shots accordingly and don’t waste them on removing layers you don’t have to.
Save the Animals – These are probably the most difficult stages in the game so far. You need to free a set number of animals who are trapped in bubbles. You can free them by dropping them, but larger animals can prove to be irritating blockers. In these stages it’s absolutely vital to look for higher opportunities and use skillful bank shots to conserve your limited shots. Remember, you’re not specifically trying to reach the top here. Removing bubbles that aren’t connected to the animals is only useful if it helps scroll the screen up.
Free the Ghost – A ghost is set in the middle of a bunch of bubbles, and you have to free it by removing the bubbles immediately connected to it. You can hit the bubble group on either side to rotate the whole cluster, and the farther to one side you hit it with your bubble, the faster it’ll rotate. Since the top of the play area is clear of bubbles here, you can use it to make bank shots to hit the part of the structure that seems out of reach. Just remember, you only need to take out the bubbles directly touching the ghost. If your shooter is loaded with a colored bubble that won’t help you reach that end directly, feel free to use it to spin the structure to give you a cleaner shot with one that will help.
That’s all the advice I have to offer for Bubble Witch Saga 2. You might have bad bounces here and there, but as long as you persist and use these tips, you’ll make your way through eventually. Remember, even in misfortune, you have an opportunity to practice your bank shots, so make the most of all of your opportunities, even the unlucky ones. Good luck!