PubbleBop by Boo Radley Games is a high score game hiding in a tap-to-match three scrolling game’s clothing.
Despite the fact that it uses simple graphics, and extremely simple mechanics, PubbleBop does the job of a high score game well. There may not be many original elements to this game, most of what is found within having already been used in similar games. However, it manages to mix these elements together in a fun package.
The main goal in PubbleBop is to keep the game going as long as you can. The pubbles come in three colors: red, green and blue. By tapping them, you pop the pubbles. The idea is to pop as many of the same color as possible, while making sure you leave behind a healthy diversity. After popping 3 pubbles of the red color, each subsequent pubble will reproduce into a new pubble, allowing you to theoretically go on forever. When popping green pubbles, each subsequent popped green pubble turns into 2 new pubbles, and when doing the same to blue pubbles, they turn into 3 new pubbles.
Those cute little buggers like moving around though, and when new ones are created, they push the ones around them, so you will need to keep an eye on things if you want to achieve combos. And combos are what it’s all about. Popping same-colored pubbles doesn’t just keep your game going, but also earns you WAY more points, as the points you gain from each additional same-colored pubble increase. We managed to get some crazy numbers by getting to 40x combos and the likes.
The colors of the new pubbles that are created can’t be controlled, as it seems to be somewhat random. There are however some tips, such as the fact that red pubbles will usually create more blue pubbles than green or red, green will usually create about the same amount of red and green and a small amount of blue, and blue will usually create a lot of red pubbles and fewer green or blue ones.
This gives a sense of strategy to the game, as you are constantly fighting to keep the number of pubbles on the screen as high as you can. The screen keeps scrolling down, effectively pushing down the pubbles, so you have to have quick reflexes, but also good judgement. If you’re running out of pubbles you’re not going to bother with the red ones, you’re going to go directly for the blue ones that provide more pubbles when they pop.
Every once in a while, you can pick up a power up (in the form of more personalized looking pubbles that when tapped twice will turn into a power-up). These range from balloons that you can place on the bottom of the screen to blow air out and keep your pubbles from falling off the screen as it scrolls down, red, green or blue magnets that hold all similarly colored pubbles together (allowing for easy to achieve combos), or the absolute best, a freeze power up that not only stops the pubbles from moving, but also the screen from scrolling down.
Everything is not hunky dory though. Depending on the level you’re on, you’re going to be facing some serious obstacles and enemies. Birds that require 3 taps to kill and are small enough to go unnoticed until they’ve popped plenty of your pubbles, Black holes that will expand in no time and can eventually swallow up your entire pubble population, screen-wide barricades that will only allow one color of pubble through, etc.
Thankfully, the more irritating enemies (the birds and the black holes) can be destroyed by tapping them, and if you pay enough attention, they aren’t THAT dangerous. Until you reach the more advanced levels. As you progress through the levels, enemies become more common, and levels that previously contained only birds or only black holes or only barricades now contain 2 types of enemies, say birds and black holes, or a 60 second timer + barricades. By the end of the game, each level contains every single kind of enemy, and boy do they love to mess up your game (and score).
PubbleBop contains 27 levels in its single player campaign mode. The level progression is done well, however the game does seem very simple. You only unlock each level by obtaining a certain amount of points in the previous one, however honestly there isn’t much of a challenge at all in doing so. Even the final levels are easy enough to reach scores of 5 stars and tens of thousands of points quite easily.
The game also features a competition mode, which is essentially the high score mode that the game is all about. The campaign is very nice, but you can easily finish it very quickly, so high scores are all you care about. The game has online leaderboards so you can compare your scores with your friends.