Malcolm Owen On November 6, 2001 at 9:01 am

Cutesy Japanese-esque games are almost always popular. Puzzle Bobble (and the entire barrage of them at that!) almost immediately springs to mind. These games have 3 attributes that make them noticeable. First are the ridiculously cutesy graphics ("Cute = Japanesey" apparently), then comes the simple rules of gameplay, then last there’s the sheer addictiveness of the title.

Mr Driller’s main objective is to drill to the bottom of the ever rising block tower, and discover what the hell is making the blocks in the first place. To do this, he must drill out blocks below, above, and on the side of him, creating a route. He must also do this without getting crushed by falling blocks, and without losing all of his oxygen. You may think that by drilling blocks away that are supporting the ceiling is a stupid idea, but you’ll find the blocks "hover" in a "I’m going to fall on you in 2 seconds time" kinda hover. The blocks also have a mystical force that makes those of the same colour stick together (I’m getting slight flavours of "Mean Bean Machine"), so you can still be safe. They also have another mystical power, in which if there are 4 blocks of the same colour stuck together, they disappear (!?) but even then, more blocks could crush you from being unsupported. Not a bad idea for a puzzle game

As you can guess, it would be incredibly hard to play a game of this in a 3D world, therefore it’s solely based in a 2D wonderland. And a neon one at that! Bright colours abound every level, in an attempt to make everyone blind. Everything is made to look like a cartoon, and it does work well. It is very Puzzle Bobble. They’re also trying to make everyone deaf too, as the music, although good at parts, can be grating at times. The sound effects don’t make up for it either (They are bad and very cheesy, yet also "fitting" into the colour scheme), and they really could have done better

The game is an "arcade puzzler", and was built to work mainly on arcade machines and consoles. Thanks to this, the game is centred on the "5 minute blast" style of gaming, but it’s sheer addictiveness makes the 5 minutes turn into 5 hours, as you desperately try and defeat your latest high score.

The PC transition is good, but forgetting small things, like on the name entry screen we have to select every single letter, and only up to 6 letters at that! Why can’t we use the keyboard to type it in!?

But besides the problems, it is quite a good game to play!


Reverse Tetris!


Neon 2D Wonderland. Big Whoop. We’ve seen it before, can be done better.


Cheesy pap, yet inviting.


If you can find this game somewhere, going cheap, get it! Ignore all of the cutesyness in it, turn the contrast down on your monitor, turn the sound off, and play it until the cows come home!
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