Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Ultra Bust-A-Move

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Electronic Theatre Image        As it goes, there aren’t that many Puzzle games on the Xbox, and the main two that are, Puyo Pop and Ultra Bust-a-Move, are on pretty much every platform available. However, having stared as an Arcade game, Puzzle Bobble has had fifteen console incarnations, ending-up with Ultra Bust-a-Move, the first of the series to be released on the Xbox.

the next, and so on, completing one lettered Zone containing five Rounds each. As the player progresses through Levels, the next Level choices are affected, with a different choice of Zones, which is actually quite easy to understand once it’s put into practice!

            The main idea behind this, and every other, version of Puzzle Bobble and Ultra Bust-a-Move is to Electronic Theatre Imagefire multicoloured Bubbles to attach to Bubbles of the same colour, making rows of three or more which then disappear – reaching the goal of getting rid of all the Bubbles. However, the player must aim carefully, as other coloured Bubbles can be misfired and will stick to the first other Bubble they come into contact with – blocking the one aimed for. Also, for every seven Bubbles released, the field drops a Level towards the bottom. If the Bubbles go below the line at the bottom, the game is lost.

            There are also five new puzzle layouts within the regular gameplay mode, as well as entirely new game modes including Seesaw, in which the player must keep the Bubble-Field Level, Colour, where the player gets Points for hitting the designated colour, and Count, in which only dropped Bubbles count to earn Points.

            Adding to the fun is the inclusion of twelve characters other than the originals Bub and Bob (from Bubble Bobble), and the bonus characters who can be earned through completing the Challenges, such as Electronic Theatre Imagethrough the VS. Challenge, where the player plays either another player or the Xbox. New characters are, obviously, showing more variety, with new ‘funky’ designs and names – like Ms. Killer, a Ninja-costumed cartoon girl, and Boggy, who looks more like a bug than a bog. A nice feature of these new characters is that on every type of game available, games can be saved – the only problem being if the player uses more than one character to play as, it can be hard to remember how far you’ve played on each character!

            Ultra Bust-a-Move, being the first Puzzle Bobble release for the Xbox, supports XboxLIVE!, which means that the player can compete against other players from anywhere in the world and rack-up ridiculously high scores.

            Ultra Bust-a-Move does have some potentially displeasing features, however. For example, the background music, whilst fun, catchy, and extremely hum-able can detract from the task in-hand – that is, actually firing Bubbles rather than humming. The same could also be said for the circular scrolling backgrounds, which are a bit of a distraction until used to them. On the other hand, though, they do add to the fun of the game, and to be honest, it’s not that hard to pay attention to the Bubbles!

            The only other tooth-grinding moment is at the beginning of each game, at which a quirky Electronic Theatre ImageJapanese-accented lady says “Ready? GO!” Although this in itself is not particularly frustrating, the accompanying graphic can be a little disorientating for the fans of smooth transitions. The word “GO” appears across the screen, and unlike any other graphic in the game, has a “my graphics are catching-up with my memory” quality, whereby it leaves parts of itself on the screen. Granted, this wouldn’t be a problem if all the same type of lettering had that effect, but as it is the only part, the player may be left wondering whether it is actually just a glitch.

            On the whole, though, the graphics are very well arranged, with good use of colour and effects, and added interest due to the three different graphic styles used – pixelated 3D characters, smooth cartoon backgrounds, and old-school style writing.

Although the music can be a slight distraction, in which case the sound can always be turned-off, it is a nice touch that it changes on every Level, ranging between some very strange and varied tunes. Another clever feature is that as the Bubbles reach the bottom of the Arena, the music speeds-up to either alert you or chivvy you along! As was mentioned earlier, the music is very catchy and bouncy, and, if you like music with your games, there’s not much to disappoint aurally.

            Although Ultra Bust-a-Move is definitely not a new concept when compared to its forerunners of the same series, and doesn’t do anything remarkably different or innovative, neither does it claim to. For a simple, yet fun and effective Arcade game to play in the peace and sobriety of your own home, and providing you like your graphics bold, your music bouncy, and your games quirky, you can’t go far wrong with Ultra Bust-a-Move.Electronic Theatre Image





















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