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Bust-A-Move DS Nintendo DS

Published by 505 Gamestreet
Developed by Taito/Happy Happening
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Bust-A-Move DS, an introduction.

The Nintendo DS seems to be the console of choice if you like addictive puzzle games. Mr Driller Drill Spirits, Zoo Keeper and Polarium are just a few of the puzzle games you can purchase on the console and there are plenty more available and on the way this year. Bust-A-Move DS is the latest puzzle game to arrive on the console and it's a game that takes advantage of the console's touch-screen.

What's the game about?

Like all successful puzzle games the Bust-A-Move series is easy to pick up and addictive, whilst also managing to provide a long term challenge. Basically on the top screen you have bubbles of different colours suspended from the top. You fire bubbles at these hanging bubbles (from the bottom, touch-screen) with the idea being to remove all of them. The trick is that you can only make the bubbles disappear when you connect three or more of the same colour. To keep things interesting the hanging bubbles will drop a little every so often and if the lowermost hanging bubble manages to cross the red line (situated at the bottom of the top screen) it's game over.  When you factor in the ability to bounce your fired bubbles off the edge of the screen and that you can take out many bubbles if you can remove the ones that support them, as well as some special bubbles that are more powerful (but don't come along that often), you have the recipe for a very addictive experience. The single-player game modes on offer in Bust-A-Move DS are Puzzle, Endless and VS CPU. The multiplayer modes are DS Download and DS Wireless.

What's good about the game?

If you've played any Bust-A-Move game before you'll know exactly what to expect with Bust-A-Move DS. The big difference with this version of course is that you can use the touch-screen to fire the bubbles. Using the stylus to fire bubbles works really well. You simply pull the bubble back, aim (with the aid of beaded line) and then let it go to fire. This adds a nice feel to the game but if for some reason you decide you'd rather not use the stylus, you'll be happy to learn that you can always change back to the traditional control method. In Bust-A-Move DS you can also set a bubble aside to fire whenever you want to which might not seem like much but it's actually a decent addition to the game. You'll also be pleased to learn that you'll be able to enjoy playing against up to 4 of your Nintendo DS owning friends even if they don't own a copy of the game. The Puzzle mode is also deserving of praise as there are hundreds of puzzles here and will keep you busy for ages as a single-player title.

What's not so good about the game?

Bust-A-Move fans will be pleased with how the game has been adapted to suit the DS. There are a couple of problems though. When you take on the AI in the VS CPU mode, you'll notice that the AI is actually quite poor and doesn't really put up much of challenge. In fact the AI offers such little challenge that you probably won't bother with the VS CPU mode after trying it. Whilst you can use the traditional controls (instead of the touch-screen) it doesn't feel as precise as using the stylus and it's certainly not as intuitive. It would have been nice if the game had offered multiple save slots so that someone else in your home could have recorded their progress in Puzzle mode separately from yours.   

How does it look?

Bust-A-Move DS is not a technically impressive game by any stretch of the imagination. In fact everything has been kept nice and simple which is a decision that actually works in the game's favour. The graphics are not much more than GBA quality in truth, but the character sprites are nicely detailed and the presentation of the game as a whole is clean and easy on the eyes. What does surprise is how well the game is suited to the dual-screen setup. The game really feels like it was made for the console and in this respect I think the developers deserve credit.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Deaf gamers won't have any problems at all with Bust-A-Move DS. There is no speech in the game and all the information in the game is show in text. There are a few chirps and beeps here and there for which there are no captions but in all honesty they don't inform you of anything you can't see for yourself. Take too long in firing your bubble and you'll see a 5 second countdown so you'll know you have to fire pretty quickly once this appears. Around 20 pages of the 100+ page manual are in English and they tell you pretty much everything you need to know in such as what the different modes are and descriptions of the eight characters that you can play as in the game.

Final thoughts.

Those looking for a Bust-A-Move game to take advantage of the unique control system of the Nintendo DS will not be disappointed with Bust-A-Move DS. The game manages to bring the well established series to the DS and make it feel at home. Using the touch-screen and stylus the game is easy to control and fun to play. Whilst the DS already has several great puzzle games, few are as well designed to take advantage of the consoles unique features. Bust-A-Move DS is a great addition to any puzzle fans collection.

Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Bust-A-Move DS takes the classic Bust-A-Move formula and tailors it to suit the unique features of the Nintendo DS very nicely.