Review: Bust-a-Move 2 – Arcade Edition (Game Boy)

In this review, we get a little bubbly while playing the Game Boy game Bust-a-Move 2 – Arcade Edition. We find out how well this game plays.

This game was released in 1998. Previously, we reviewed Super Bust a Move for the Game Boy Advance. We found that game to be a half decent play.

The main mode of this game has two versions: Puzzle Mode and Vs. Computer Mode. Puzzle mode gets you to take on a limited number of bubbles. The goal is to clear all of them before any of them cross the line. If you complete 5 levels, you’ll realize that this game features the same pyramid system found in Super Bust a Move.

You start on world “A”. If you complete this world, world “B” and “C” becomes available. You can choose either or, but not both. If you complete world “B”, then “D” and “E” becomes available for you to choose from. If you complete world C, then your choice is between “E” and “F”. Ultimately, you are working your way up the pyramid. If you complete a world on the top row, then you win the game and unlock a code that allows you to play an alternate puzzle mode.

The Vs. Computer Player mode pits you against the computer player. The first one that has their bubbles cross the lines loses. Clearing more than 3 bubbles at a time or causing bubbles to fall will send garbage to your opponent. beware of garbage sent to you. While you get a world map, you merely follow a linear path to the end. Defeat every opponent to win the game.

This game also features a third mode: Time Attack. There’s not a whole lot that’s different between this mode and the Puzzle Mode. What is different is that you don’t get a score and, instead, aim to get a top time. The thing is, with the worst top time being 3 minutes, just completing the level will get you there. You’ll move onto consecutive rounds and get a code for every 20 rounds you complete. You only have the first 10 rounds to choose from at the beginning.

If you are familiar with Bust a Move already, you’ll know that there is a lot of different special bubbles throughout. There aren’t as many of those in this game. there is the empty bubbles that can only be removed from the field by knocking out a higher up combo. There is also the circle textured bubbles that stick better together, but need to be cleared out in the same manner. There is a baddie that sticks around inside the bubbles. Again, they need to be cleared out in the same manner, though they typically get surrounded by the same color bubbles. Finally, there is a flashing wildcard bubble. Hit this bubble and every bubble that matches the bubble you fired will fall off the stage.

You can get bonus points to completing levels quickly in puzzle mode. If you complete a level in 3 seconds or less, you’ll get a massive bonus 500,000 points. Any time you clear a round in 60 seconds or less, you’ll get no bonus. while it sounds like you can easily rack up a massive score, if you lose at any time, you’ll have to use one of 8 credits and your score will reset to zero.

This game does have positive sides to it. For one, it is easy get into and easy to understand. Obviously, this medium does not have any color capabilities, so, instead, there is the use of icons instead. The game even features the classic guide for the first round and any round you die on in puzzle mode. Black means the bubble won’t hit a matching bubble. Grey and hollow dots means it will hit a matching bubble. So, extremely useful for new players.

The difficulty curve is also fairly smooth as well. It takes a bit to get to the more difficult rounds, but by then, you’ll have already mastered some of the basics by then.

There is also plenty of content in the game itself. There is 25 possible worlds to choose from. The vs. mode allows you to take on a number of opponents. This can last an hour or three. When you are done, you can also take on the time attack mode. I ended up making it all the way to round 25 in that mode.

The downside to this game is that you’ll probably get tired of it by the time you get through most of the content. So, the replay value might be a little lacking here and it might even make you not want to play this particular franchise for a while after you get through this game. It’s not that the game itself is bad, but I can only play it for so long before I want to play something else. I’ll definitely need a break from this franchise after this one.

Generally speaking, this game will appeal to puzzle game fans. For regular game players, this game might be an interesting distraction, but nothing amazing. It does have plenty of content and is capable of keeping people occupied for a day or so. Unfortunately, it can get tiring after a while.

Graphically speaking, this game has its strengths and weaknesses. The characters are well animated (both your character and your computer opponents). The icons are clear enough so that you aren’t relying on any colors. The downside is found in the hardware itself with the refresh rate. You fire a bubble and you can only wait for it to stop moving to see where it ended up. You are, in the mean time, hoping it hits its mark. With the occasional pixel perfect requirement to make some shots, this can be frustrating – especially on bank shots.

The audio is decent enough. There is a nice small variety of music. The music isn’t amazing nor is it bad in an way. It’s decent enough to carry the game through. The sound effects are decent enough too.

Overall, this was an OK game. Though I got bored of it before I got through all of it, it was a decent experience while it lasted. The learning and difficulty curve is well realized. There is a nice amount of content. The characters are well animated, though the refresh rate can get in the way of gameplay given how fast the bubbles move. The audio is pretty decent as well. So, it’s a good game while it lasts, but don’t expect this one to be something you go back to that much.

Furthest point in game: Beat puzzle mode (beat the “?” world). Beat vs. computer mode. Made it to round 25 in time attack mode before getting bored and switching it off.

General gameplay: 20/25
Replay value: 4/10
Graphics: 7/10
Audio: 3/5

Overall rating: 68%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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