You might not be able to remember the release of Tetris, but without a doubt, you will be familiar with this puzzle game genre. In this case rather than odd coloured shapes you get bubbles, scoring points with lines of three and more - think this sounds all a bit samey? Well read on.
A distinctive feature of this game is playing your own MP3s while you are shooting bubbles, by copying your own tunes into the game's music directory. In the options menu you can then select your choices into the track selection, play them randomly or in a specific order. Changing your track running order or loosing a tune you've heard too much takes little effort, as at any point in the game you can re-access your options menu.
Five DJ characters to choose from all with their own special moves carry through the "mixing your own track" motif. On the cover the soundtrack is billed as "disco-rave", (12 especially composed scores) but the music is not as bad as the term "disco-rave" may sound! Techno style beats all add to the pressure as the build up of bubbles pile towards you, ready to swallow your DJ up.
Reassuringly some traditional game elements are included. Nostalgia hits as a slightly demonic voice says "Game Over" and when the three "continues" come up you realise how much you miss that option in other games. Straight forward controls - with just four keys on your keyboard or with a joystick - means you can learn how to play it in minutes, without instructions, though as you continue to play make you'll realise that there is far more to this than just connect 4.
Super Bubble Pop has a high initial impact - a 3D visual feast that drew a crowd of onlookers, and eight training levels are just for starters as you have an additional three options for your single player game, including "chilled" for beginners, to "groovin" and on to "hardcore". Las Vegas style graphics and slightly psychedelic vibe are not too memory hungry either, giving you the chance to play it on even an older PC.
While it may not take you long to get onto the High Scores board, the two player option, tune selection and "power-up" special moves give enough variety to take this game above others in the shapes-in-a-row genre.
"Continues" might be a welcome relief as you think you're about to loose near the end of level thirty but unlike other puzzles with a vast amount of stages there is no way to save your game. With no password level cheats when your "continues" are up you have to start from the beginning again, which may become a little frustrating when you start to get good and are on the higher levels.
This bubble popping game might not have a club classic music selection but it does have a steady and seductive buzz over a possible 158 levels that any puzzle addict who likes playing games to some decent music might find enjoyable.Overall score: 5 out of 10
Recommended Price: £19.99
Available: NowBuy Super Bubble Pop Xtreme from Amazon