Saturday, 3 September 2011

Game review: BubbleX

Genre: Puzzle
Author: PotA
OHH download: v1 (18/11/05)
Size: 0.1 MB
Licence: Freeware

BubbleX is a tiny little game: the archive contains nothing but a .gpe file, under 140 KB in size. It will be immediately familiar to anyone who's played "SameGame" or the like. You are given a screen full of randomly-coloured bubbles on a 2D grid. When there are two or more of the same colour touching orthogonally, you can select those and "pop" the group. Bubbles will fall if left hanging in mid-air, and gaps of full columns will be closed up. The object is to remove all the bubbles from the screen; if no legal move remains, you lose.

Addictiveness: 5
Not bad as far as it goes, and its quick gameplay helps here. The trouble is, as I'll mention in a moment, it just doesn't have much of a lifespan. The lack of any sort of scoring really hampers your ability to challenge yourself to have just one more go at beating your best.

Depth: 2
Virtually none: what you see is what you get. There's no level progression, no tightening timer (or indeed any timer), no larger grid options, nothing. This is a game you can play in two minutes at the bus stop.

Controls: 7
Very simple indeed: move around the grid with the stick and press B once to select a colour group, then again to pop the relevant bubbles. Start brings up a simple menu -- New game, Option and Quit game -- and B selects from there, although Option doesn't seem to do anything. Otherwise, nothing special, but they do a good job.

Graphics: 7
Simple and colourful, just as they should be for a simple puzzler of this sort. The grid is very clear, and the background squares don't clash with the bubbles. I'm not so taken with the menu design, which has an irritating Comic Sans-type font that seems a bit too "wacky" for BubbleX.

Sound: 4
There are precisely two sound effects: a sort of "boylp" when you select a colour group, and a "pop!" when you, er, pop it. They're quite nicely chosen, though, and for once not stupidly loud through headphones, so I'm not awarding a terrible mark here.

Documentation: 2
"Remove the marbles with the same color", on the OHH page, is the extent of it. No readme or in-game instructions whatsoever. Luckily it's a very well-known game and simple enough to pick up that you don't really need documentation, but one sentence can hardly be worthy of a good mark!

Completeness: 4
This shouldn't really have been given a v1 version number, as it's clearly still in the v0.x stage. The basic gameplay all works, but there is no score, high score or timer function, and the "Option" menu item does precisely nothing.

Overall: 5
BubbleX is a pleasant little puzzle game that can be quite fun to play for a few minutes. It has no pretensions to being anything more, though it could have rated a little higher had it not been so obviously unfinished. The file is so small that you might as well bung it on your SD card anyway, though: everyone likes bursting bubbles, surely?


  1. Its a shame that it seems to be only a 5 out of 10 for this, but there it is. It looks, as so many games for the GP2X seem to be, nice and colourful so its a shame it isn't a better game. :)

  2. I think a finished version with a few options here and there would easily have made a 7, maybe even an 8 if it had been done really well.