Nintendo’s Arcade Archives: Puzzle Bobble (Ultrasonic’s thoughts)

For those who remember playing the Bubble Bobble video games, you remember the cuteness and bright cartoon-like atmosphere which balanced out a very deep game, and one that caught the attention of many an Arcader, myself included. After all, what’s not fun about trapping creatures in bubbles and then popping them once trapped? It’s quirky, yet good fun all at the same time.

But there’s no way anything else could be done with these two lovable dinosaurs, right?


In June of 1994, Taito created a game called Puzzle Bobble (also called Bust-A-Move) that featured their two dinos in a new type of game, but one that wasn’t too unfamiliar. Much like other puzzle games like Tetris, Dr. Mario and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, this puzzle game was distinct over how to solve the puzzles.

The way each stage starts, you have an assortment of creatures trapped in different colored bubbles, and our two dino heroes are at the bottom with more bubbles which you can then shoot onto the field, with one being loaded onto the launcher and another waiting in the wings to be used right after. The bubbles then go flying until they either touch the wall or until they touch another bubble. The objective is to line up three or more bubbles of the same color which then clears that specific assortment. Now one would think that would be all to it – which it is to some extents – but if an assortment of bubbles is cleared, and there’s another set below it that’s connected to the former collection, then that set will drop and increase your score more, which can come in handy in tight moments, plus as you play the stages more Arcaders can get pretty creative with this, which only increases the replay value.

But to be able to pull this off takes a great deal of practice, not just with knowing how to use the color bubbles given to you but also how the launcher is positioned, for that is what really makes the difference. Even the slightest adjustment can make or break your game, but since this part is trial-and-error, you won’t really know until after you make a mistake a few times.

But make sure not to take too long, because while you don’t have a timer counting down, the ceiling of the playing field starts to narrow the more time goes by, so the game does force you to think on your feet a bit.

In all, this Arcade game is definitely a must have if you are a fan of puzzle-type arcade games, and while I myself was more of a fan of the regular Bubble Bobble titles, I got hooked on this the moment I played it the first time back during my Disney Quest days, and now that I have this game on my Switch I get to relive those moments again.

Screenshot from my Nintendo Switch.

While this game does take quite a long time to master, the learning curve is small, and the fun factor is high, plus the colorfulness and whimsicalness of the game make it appealing for everyone. And even if you aren’t the biggest fan of puzzle-games, it will grab your attention for sure. It’s 2-Player mode also makes it ideal for two friends to play together, especially since you can get competitive as you clear out your own field and fill up your opponent’s in the process.

So whether it be as a digital copy for any of the consoles, or if you’re fortunate enough to have the Arcade cabinet, go turn it on and Bust-A-Move!