Bubble Bobble was originally released by Taito back in 1986. I still remember renting it and trying to get to the end with my younger brother. Bubble Bobble 4 Friends revisits the core structure of the original while adapting it beautifully to the Switch.
The core gameplay loop is the same as it has always been. You play an adorable dinosaur-monster that bounces around levels blowing bubbles. You can bounce on them OR use those bubbles to capture enemies. The primary difference is that now it earns the 4 in the title by allowing up to four players to play at once.
The levels are plentiful and the challenge curve is great. I loved the early levels that I could share with my daughter without any real trouble. Later levels were a bit much for her, but she still stuck it out to play with her old man.
I really enjoyed what I played of it, but the bulk of that enjoyment was grounded in the past. I felt myself longing for the past as opposed to fully enjoying the present. It just didn’t do enough differently to make me hungry to play it for a long time. That isn’t to say that it is bad. It is well made, and looks wonderful, (Seriously. Screenshots betray its toy-like animation.) but it falls short of greatness because it plays it safe sticking to a tried and true formula.
Can a kid play this game?
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends is not a difficult game to play. Your move set as your adorable dinosaur. You jump, you blow bubbles, and you bounce on top of bubbles to climb onto higher platforms. That’s it. It also is a fully 2D game so you only move left to right.
The feature that makes this game even easier for younger gamers to pick up is the 4-player multiplayer. The game is plenty chaotic, but having more players means there are more people to help catch you when you are about to lose a life.
There is also next to zero reading in this game. Even the youngest of gamers will be able to play without any trouble.
Another feature that needs to be mentioned is the invincibility mechanic that unlocks after you fail a level three times. I’m glad to see that this has been more widely adopted because it is a great tool for allowing younger players explore the mechanics of a game and get some practice in without having to restart over and over.
Should a kid play this game?
This is one of the most wholesome games I have ever seen. I have a difficult time imagining any parent having an issue here. Players defeat enemies by trapping them in bubbles and bouncing into them.
The ESRB has rated Bubble Bobble 4 Friends “E for Everyone. “
This is an action platformer in which players control small dinosaurs through whimsical levels. Players defeat small enemies and bosses by trapping them in bubbles in order to progress. Bubbles often burst, causing enemies to turn into fruit; boss battles show characters getting charred after oversized bombs explode.
Bubble Bobble 4 Friends won’t win any game of the year awards, but it is a cute blast of nostalgia for fans of the original on NES that lets us play with our kids as opposed to taking turns with them.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!
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