Super Bust-A-Move 2 Review
Super Bust-A-Move 2 (SBAM2) is one of those puzzle games that follows a few simple rules, but still manages to provide a good deal of challenge. In SBAM2, you are given a puzzle in the form of a collection of colored bubbles. You control a little canon that shoots colored bubbles into the air that stick to the other bubbles. You can also bounce bubbles off the walls in an attempt to hit hard to reach places on the ricochet. After your bubble hits, if there are three or more adjacent bubbles of the same color, the bubbles burst and are cleared from the field. Any bubbles that are no longer connected to the other bubbles will fall from the field. The entire mass of bubbles will also periodically shift down, and should any bubbles cross the line at the bottom of the screen you'll automatically lose the game. To throw a little extra challenge into the game, you'll occasionally get a special bubble such as one that will destroy any bubbles it hits and another that will randomly change the color of bubbles. That's about it.
SBAM2 plays as a set-piece puzzle with a random element thrown in. The arrangement of the bubbles at the start is set in each puzzle (the game includes an editor for you to create your own if you'd like), but the bubbles that you shoot are randomly generated. Sometimes you'll get lucky and get the perfect bubble colors to quickly clear the puzzle with a few well-placed shots. At other times it will be a hectic struggle as you try to decide where to place useless bubbles while waiting for the right color to come along.
In addition to the regular puzzle mode, the game has a story mode and a two player match. In the two player game, which can be played between two people or one person and the computer, players play side by side and are given the same puzzles. To make things really interesting, if any unsupported bubbles fall from your puzzle they will appear on your opponent's. It can be a nasty surprise to see a new set of bubbles appear and block the group of bubbles that you were about to clear. Competition continues until the bubbles reach the bottom of one of the players' puzzles.
The single player game is fun to play, and has that addicting quality that will often have you playing "just one more game" until you've played for far longer than you originally planned. But the game really shines in two player mode, which is always fast-paced and hectic. Players who've played the prior versions of the game will enjoy the new two player variant called "Chain Reaction". If you drop a bubble from the puzzle and there are connected bubbles of the same color that can be reached, the dropping bubble will pop the connected bubbles. This gives the already hectic two player game a frenzied feel that delivers a lot more action than your typical puzzle game.
The story mode lets you select one of the game's cartoon characters to play a series of puzzles as you try to earn the title of "Puzzle Master". Your character enters a mysterious tower, eventually encountering its resident who will challenge you to a two player duel. Most of the story mode consists of the same cutscenes no matter which character you select, and the ones in which your character appears are more alike than different. Unfortunately you can not bypass the scenes, so every time you play the story mode you'll be subjected to the characters' very, very odd conversations which mostly consist of a stream of short and strange nonsequiturs. Completing a game in story mode rewards you with a code to unlock additional puzzles, but in a dirty move you are forced to sit through the game's credits before you are given the code. If you try to skip the credits, you'll miss the code. What's more is that the credits roll every time you complete a story mode game. Giving the game's team credit is all well and good, but this is too much.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 85%. Poor translations and horrible voice-acting aside, Super Bust-A-Move 2 is a fun and often frantic game that should be a part of any puzzle game fan's library.