Review – Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!

Back in the 90s, a new Puzzle Bobble (or Bust-a-Move) game would be released every single year, with very little in terms of additions or improvements. There was just not a lot you could do with its formula in order to shake things up, with this rule being kept in place up until the release of Puzzle Bobble 3D: Vacation Odyssey in 2021. It was a good game, but it was proof that there was no need to fix what wasn’t broken. The series is just better in 2D, with sprites. Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is Taito realizing that, going back to the franchise’s winning formula for a newer generation of consoles.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! gameplay

Back to familiar territory.

I feel that I should start off the Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! review by stating the obvious: if you have ever played one of the countless previously released games in the Puzzle Bobble series, you are back to familiar territory. It’s the same “connect the bubbles” premise, with the same adorable visuals you’d expect, the same vibrant soundtrack, and the same utterly infuriating usage of voice clips both from the narrator and the titular dinosaurs you control. From the 16-bit era to 2023, do not expect that many innovations. That’s not to say there aren’t any. There are just enough bells and whistles spread across Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! to justify its existence. Some of them are actually pretty cool.

Four-player co-op is the game’s main selling point, at least according to its publisher. You can even play with three other friends in the game’s main story mode (whose plot is as forgetful as it may sound). A fine addition, to be fair, but this co-op mechanic is limited to local play only, therefore you’ll need to go out of your way and find enough people to try out this novel addition. That being said, I won’t criticise its inclusion, it gets the job done and it’s fine enough to make Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! stand out from other games in the franchise.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! MP

Four-player co-op is limited to local multiplayer only, but there is an option for 1v1 online matches.

If this co-op feature was the only new addition included in Puzzle Bobble Everybubble!, I would have considered it a waste of potential. Thankfully, Taito did add another mode that, in my opinion, nearly validates the game’s existence as a whole: Puzzle Bobble vs. Space Invaders. It is exactly as it sounds, being a Space Invaders game in which all the aliens are shaped like Puzzle Bobble, uh, bubbles. You cannot aim diagonally, but you can move around like that game’s ship. So it’s basically Space Invaders with a twist, with Puzzle Bobble‘s physics. Keep piling up the bubbles until you line up three of them. But if you are able to pile up more of them, you get a combo. I had a great time with that mode, more than the rest of the game as a whole.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! vs. Space Invaders

Puzzle Bobble vs. Space Invaders is this game’s highlight.

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble is basically more of the tried and true formula that has been going on for the past thirty years. Despite that somewhat dismissive statement, don’t call that criticism. The franchise has tried to reinvent itself in the recent past with a 3D iteration, and it didn’t work very well. Returning back to its more successful format, with just a few additions here and there to pretty much justify its existence as a brand new, commercially-available product, was the right choice. It’s not mind-blowing, but it’s relaxing and enjoyable enough. Exactly what a Puzzle Bobble game should always strive for.


Graphics: 7.5

We’re back to 2D territory. It looks vibrant and adorable, even there’s nothing you haven’t seen before in this version. There’s just not a lot you can do with such a tried and true formula.

Gameplay: 7.5

In terms of gameplay, very little has changed. Some power-ups here and there spice things up on occasion, and four-player co-op is interesting if you can round up four players for the task. Otherwise, it’s functional and responsive enough.

Sound: 6.0

The soundtrack is vibrant and catchy, but the voice acting is downright infuriating.

Fun Factor: 7.5

The inclusion of Puzzle Bobble vs. Space Invaders is what makes this particular version stand out, or else it would have just been yet another decent, but non-innovative version of Puzzle Bobble.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! was provided by the publisher.