LINE Corporation certainly have their fingers in quite a few pies these days. The corporation is responsible for many light-hearted and highly colourful games that belong in a variety of different genres. One of LINE's most popular game at the moment is LINE Puzzle Bobble, a game that belongs in the tile-matching genre, though with a few colourful twists that make it a rather fun and addictive game to play. The game has enjoyed 5 million+ downloads on the Google Play Store and has also experience the same success on the iOS platform as well. Here is a brief review of this highly popular and dragon-laden tile-puzzle game.
The format of Puzzle Bobble's gameplay has been copied many times by a number of different clones, and the idea itself at its most basic is the subject of even the simplest online games such as Bubble Shooter. Taitio's (the developer of the version reviewed here) version involves a playing area that is horizontally-oriented and which contains a number of coloured bubbles situated in various arrangements. At the bottom of the screen sits an unbearably adorable dragon-esque character that responds to your tapping by throwing bubbles from the bottom of the screen. The aim is to try and match the coloured bubbles you throw with the corresponding colours at the top of the screen. This allows you to pop the bunch of like-coloured bubbles to release various bonuses and points.
The earlier levels are quite difficult to mess up, but you can lose the game if you keep throwing different-coloured bubbles up; the screen fills up from top to bottom, and when it reaches the bottom the game is over. There are some power-ups that you can attain (mainly by purchasing them with the premium currency) such as special items to throw. These include star bubbles, rainbow bubbles (these work with all colours), bomb bubbles, and the heavy metal bubbles. The purpose of these power-ups is to shake things up a bit by dealing various levels of damage depending on which power-up you have in your possession.
Graphics, Sound, and Execution
The graphics and general design of the game and its interface cannot really be faulted when you consider that it's meant to be a light-hearted puzzle game that can be picked up by anyone for a few minutes at a time. The colours are quite bright and the cartoon-like illustration of the launcher dragon, the bubbles, and the environments look as polished and professional as you would expect an app with millions of downloads to be. The sounds and can get annoying however, but you have the option of turning those off.
The main criticism of LINE Puzzle Bobble would be that the game software itself feels rather bloated due to its social media integration. The fact that you have to download the LINE Messenger app to be able to access LINE Puzzle Bobble is a little annoying, particularly when you consider that the game you're going through all this effort for really isn't anything unique or monumentally life-changing. The in-game currency system restricts you somewhat in terms of the items/power-ups you can attain as well.
Taito Corporation have released a pleasantly-designed app in LINE Puzzle Bobble. The whole thing is quite inoffensive, and at times can be quite addictive. However, there's nothing unique about the gameplay as this format and all of the other modes like Challenge Mode are all variations on the same premise. The LINE integration also makes it a pain to access properly, so it isn't the swiftest game to get going with either.
If you're really looking to enjoy a tile/bubble-matching game, then you can do so with a lot less hassle with a variety of match 3 bubble games that are dotted about the internet on various gaming sites.