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Puzzle Bobble Universe

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Puzzle Bobble Universe
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Oh Taito... How did you managed to fall this low and make such a terrible and disappointing entry to one of the most memorable puzzle franchises of all time?
Genre(s): Puzzle
Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS
Release: JP: February 26, 2011
US: March 27, 2011
EU: April 22, 2011
Developer(s): Taito
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Country: Japan
Series: Puzzle Bobble / Bust-A-Move

Puzzle Bobble Universe / Bust-A-Move Universe, also known as Tobidasu! Puzzle Bobble 3D (とびだす!パズルボブル 3D) in Japan, is a puzzle video game co-developed by Taito and Arika and published by Square Enix. It was released in 2011 and it was one of the launch title for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan.

Why It Sucks

  1. The game has only 88 stages and two modes (Puzzle mode and Challenge mode). Comparing this game to every entry or the Puzzle Bobble franchise, it lacks variety.
    • Speaking about the modes, it lacks the Multiplayer and VS CPU modes. Two of the most well known modes that are a staple to the franchise are completely absent, even the Space Puzzle Bobble / Space Bust-A-Move on the Nintendo DS has Multiplayer mode, but this doesn't.
    • Anyway, this game can be 100% completed in less than 3 hours, remember this game has only 88 stages.
  2. The story is straight up poor. Drunk, the main antagonist, who also appeared in other games like the original Bubble Bobble, kidnaps Bob and a bunch of other Bubble Dragons, and Bub must collect three keys in each world in order to save them.
  3. Misleading title: The Japanese title (Puzzle Bobble 3D) would make someone think that this game is in 3D, but it actually is in 2D. There are 3D effects, but they look very poor even for a 3DS launch title.
    • The 3D effect itself, which is the rotating gears in the sides of the board and the planet spinning in the background, does absolutely nothing different or unique, and they are the only 3D models in the game, unlike Puzzle Bobble / Bust-A-Move on Xbox (Ultra Puzzle Bobble / Ultra Bust-A-Move) and Wii (Puzzle Bobble Plus! / Bust-A-Move Plus!) platforms, where there are more 3D models used, like for the characters.
  4. The stages, although they are really entertaining and challenging, some in-game specials (such as bonus time and laser bubbles) make the stages very easy and sometimes boring, it doesn't pose any challenge to the player, regardless if they are veterans of the series, or even newcomers.
  5. Aside from the Bubble Dragons and the enemies from Bubble Bobble, there is no other character appearing in this game.
    • The absence of Dreg is the most noticeable since he's the antagonist who appears more in the game and the one who turned Bub and Bob into dragons.
  6. The boss fights are dull, you just have to throw bombs until they explode before the time runs out and that's it, there are no more showdowns like in the previous games.
  7. This game killed the franchise on consoles until Puzzle Bobble 3D Vacation Odyssey was announced.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Great soundtrack, especially remixed in-game music and staff roll music.
  2. The character designs for Bub and Bob are surprisingly solid and very cute to look at.


Due to the game lacks VS mode and only 88 stages, the game was criticized by both critics and fans of Puzzle Bobble for it lacks a lots of contents.

It has received a mixed-to-negative reception from critics and negative reception from fans, on Metacritic, it holds a rating of 49/100 ("generally unfavorable reviews"), it also has a 4.8 by user score, Nintendo Life gave a 5/10 and said "It still has that same great fun at its core, but it's a disappointingly thin package as it offers virtually nothing new to the series or long-time fans."

Game Revolution said "Bust-A-Move Universe is a tiny game that costs full price. The only replay value comes in the form of awards, which are your everyday run-of-the-mill Achievement equivalents. But even the awards are just text saying you earned them; there aren’t even unique icons between awards. With no multiplayer to be found and half-assed single-player modes that entertain for maybe three hours if you’re lucky, this is one of the sorriest puzzle games I’ve seen in a long time."

After this game, there was no more Puzzle Bobble / Bust-A-Move on the console and handheld platforms (no counting mobile devices) since Taito folded into Square Enix, it wasn't only the first and only 3DS game developed by Taito, but also the last Puzzle Bobble / Bust-A-Move game on the Nintendo platform until Touhou Spell Bubble on the Nintendo Switch.



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