Wii

North America

Bust-A-Move Bash!

by Lasse Pallesen - June 29, 2007, 2:33 am PDT
Total comments: 8

3.5

The bubble burst.

The original Bust-a-Move came out in 1994. Bust-a-Move Bash is a remake of that game without any new worthwhile features except for a new control scheme that makes use of the Wii remote. This implementation, while successful, isn’t enough to warrant a forty-dollar price tag.

The shortcomings would have been easier to tolerate, had Bust-a-Move been a fantastic puzzle game to begin with. Sadly, the basic gameplay mechanics are starting to show their age. As always, you must shoot bubbles from the bottom of the screen to similarly colored bubbles at the top. Once three or more bubbles with the same color are grouped, they burst, and once all bubbles disappear, you proceed to the next level. If a bubble reaches the bottom of the playing field, you lose. Those are the basic rules. As with any puzzle game, this high degree of simplicity is a double-edged sword. The fact that the game is so easy to understand and only requires very basic perception, reaction, and aiming skills means that even inexperienced gamers can immediately jump into the game. On the other hand, Bust-a-Move isn’t nearly as deep or strategically demanding as, say, Tetris, Tetris Attack, or Lumines, and, as a result, it doesn’t come close to matching the longevity and satisfaction levels provided by those games. Boredom ensues more quickly in Bust-a-Move.

In Bash, a bunch of interesting new content would have helped, but there’s little to find. Apart from the standard Puzzle and Endless modes, you just get Shooting and Versus, both of which contain serious flaws.

Shooting doesn’t really have anything to do with the core concept of Bust-a-Move. Akin to Duck Hunt, you use the Wii remote as a gun in order to shoot down bubbles. As a twist, you have to switch the color of your reticule so that it matches the color of the bubble you want to shoot. Still, this mode is extremely simple and doesn’t do anything creative with either the Wii remote or the core Bust-a-Move gameplay mechanics.

The Versus mode sounds great on paper, as it supports up to eight players simultaneously. Four of them can use the Wii remote, and the other four use either classic or nunchuk controllers attached to the other players’ Wii remotes. Furthermore, bots can be used to replace human players if needed. The whole setup is both unique and commendable. Unfortunately, Bash lends itself very poorly to matches with more than three players. The onscreen action then develops into a confusing mess, in which crazy power-up-carrying UFO’s zoom by, bubble-shattering bomb-bubbles get triggered incessantly, and entirely new bubbles suddenly appear without warning. It’s like watching a colorful firework of shiny bubbles constantly exploding and spawning. You’ll often notice that, from the moment you launch your bubble to the moment it reaches its destination, the playing field has been altered so dramatically and unpredictably, that you might as well rely on quick accidental shots instead. Any sense of skill goes largely unrewarded, while mindlessly shooting out as many bubbles as possible is bound to set off something that is point-generating. There is no serious punishment for employing this cheap tactic, as you can’t die from not hitting your targets.

What prevents Bash from complete failure are the controls, which make great use of the Wii remote. You can choose to hold it upright – baton-style – and then tilt it to aim. However, this method is neither precise nor quick enough in intense situations. Instead, aiming your Wii remote like a gun is preferable. You get a reticule that moves fully in line with your movements, and it’s fast and responsive, making you feel completely in control. This fact becomes particularly apparent when comparing these aiming controls to the classic or nunchuk controls. While the classic controller works predictably decently, the nunchuk only supports the inferior baton style. Support for these two controllers is only available in multiplayer, where they provide a slightly unfair disadvantage to the players wielding them.

All in all, the $40 price point of Bust-a-Move Bash boggles the mind. Based on a thirteen-year-old puzzle game, Bash lacks depth, has very little content, and presents a seriously flawed multiplayer mode. When adding to that a bland presentation and extremely repetitive music, you get a package certainly not worth investing in. Not even great controls can save the game. They can only soften its fall.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
4 3 7.5 3 2.5 3.5
Graphics
4

The developers clearly strived for a functional graphical presentation with Bash, and they succeeded. The game also retains the series’ simple and colorful art style, which isn’t aesthetically pleasing but gets the job done.

Sound
3

Like most puzzle games, the tunes, of which there are very few, sound cute and cheery. Unfortunately, they are so short that they have to loop far too often, thus becoming irritating within minutes.

Control
7.5

The Wii remote controls really do enhance the experience. Launching bubbles becomes easier, quicker, and more precise. In multiplayer, some players may be forced to use either the classic controller, which works decently, or the nunchuk, which works considerably worse.

Gameplay
3

The basic gameplay idea, though still respectable, is starting to show its age. Even the enhanced Wii remote controls can’t disguise that fact. The other modes are significantly less compelling. Multiplayer develops into a chaotic mess, and the Shooting mode makes even the mini-games in Wii Play look sophisticated by comparison.

Lastability
2.5

Apart from the standard modes, Bash has very little content. When the game actually tries to do something new and fresh, it fails miserably.

Final
3.5

Despite all the evidence of low production values, Bash costs forty dollars. Don’t buy it!

Summary

Pros
  • Eight-player support
  • Precise Wii remote controls
Cons
  • Boring presentation
  • Imprecise nunchuk controls
  • Monotonous music
  • Overly chaotic multiplayer
  • Very little content
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

Spak-SpangJune 29, 2007

This is an interesting game and an interesting review.

I will not disagree with your review, because it is pretty accurate. Though, perhaps I would have given it a slightly higher score. Around 5.0-6.0

I have this game, and the main gameplay works, and works well. Aiming with the Wiimote is quick, accurate and fun. So if you enjoy Bust-A-Move for its single player experience, either puzzle mode or the levels it can be quite an enjoyable game.

However, everything else in the game is broken, or at least not well thought out. The shooting mode could have been a very cool quick reflex puzzle game. You are basically connecting shots and triggering large reactions, but switching colors is completely counter intuitive. Why not allow you to have a single color on each D-Pad Direction and simply limit the design to 4 colors?

The Multiplayer also leaves something to be desired for. I actually enjoy the large screen up to 8 player co-op mode...but I don't think it should take the place a vs mode puzzle battle system. It needed both.

Finally, there is no production value in the details of the game. The menu system is basic, there is no real difference between characters selected and their stories are rather meaningless.

In the end, the game plays well for a single player Bust-A-Move experience, and looks really good for a Bust-A-Move game but there is no polish elsewhere in the game.

ShyGuyJune 29, 2007

Who is Lasse?

thatguyJune 29, 2007

Crazy ramblings from a pretty new forum member? Weird!

Anyways, I like the review, and agree with it. I think the score is a little too low, but honestly, who cares, what it says is spot-on.

SvevanEvan Burchfield, Staff AlumnusJune 29, 2007

Lasse has been our European Correspondent longer than I can remember. He's been around longer than I, by at least a year.

Smash_BrotherJune 29, 2007

Yes, I regret buying this.

I sold it back because, like the review says, the 8 player is insanity and we found you could mash the button and still win half of the time, but this is the LAST time I ever buy one of their games.

thomaseiJune 29, 2007

This game is awful. I played it and lost all interest whitin seconds. A game developed for the lowest common denominator.

IceColdJune 29, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Smash_Brother
Yes, I regret buying this.

I sold it back because, like the review says, the 8 player is insanity and we found you could mash the button and still win half of the time, but this is the LAST time I ever buy one of their games.
The Bust-a-Move whore takes one step towards redeeming his dignity..

/sad

I was hoping this would finally be the game to make me like Bust-a-move. Fortunately, this is one of the few Wii (and Majesco) games I DIDN'T end up buying.

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Bust-A-Move Box Art

Genre Puzzle
Developer Happy Happenings
Players1 - 8

Worldwide Releases

na: Bust-A-Move Bash!
Release Apr 17, 2007
PublisherMajesco
RatingEveryone
jpn: Puzzle Bobble Bash!
Release Mar 13, 2007
PublisherTaito
eu: Bust-A-Move
Release May 11, 2007
Publisher505 Games
Rating3+
aus: Bust-A-Move
Release Year 2007
Publisher505 Games
RatingGeneral

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