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Platform

DS

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

Eidos

 

Developer

Mekensleep

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

July 1, 2008

 

 

- Some very thought-out puzzle elements, which offers a high level of variety

- Looks great

 

 

- Might not be long or difficult enough for some

 

 

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Soul Bubbles

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

soul bubbles          soul bubbles

 

Any experienced gamer has had to have played a puzzle game or two, but Mekensleep has developed something unique. Never before have so many interesting ideas gone into a game that involves bubbles. You are a shaman in training and your master has you start the game off by blowing on the touch screen. After accomplishing your first trial, you will no longer need to blow on the screen and the rest of the game is up to your basic skills using the stylus.

The objective is to get from point A to point B.  When you drag the stylus across the screen, you (the shaman apprentice) will use your breath and puff to guide a

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bubble full of spirits. The apprentice can run out breathe if you don't give him time to rest, but thankfully he recovers after a very short period of time. Still, it is more convenient to use shorter strokes of breath. The point is to get these spirits to the Gateway Cube so they can pass on to the afterlife. However, if the bubble bursts, the spirits will soon die. Thankfully, you can hold up on the D-pad and

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draw a circle with the stylus to create a new bubble which will once again trap the spirits within the safety of a bubble. Evil Spirits will become problematic and will try to burst the bubble. You can get rid of them with a tap of the stylus, but some baddies require you to pull out the Tiger mask (holding right on the D-pad) to slice through your foes. The tiger mask has other uses including slicing through vines and even slicing the bubble into smaller bubbles to fit through tight spaces. If you place your stylus on the center of one bubble and quickly drag it towards another bubble you can amalgamate bubbles. There's also an elephant mask (holding left on the D-pad) which shrinks a bubble by draining air from it. This comes in handy if your bubble becomes too big thereby becoming a nuisance and becoming vulnerable to enemies and other obstacles throughout the game. As mentioned above, you can draw a new bubble if your bubble bursts, but you are not limited to one bubble. You can create multiple bubbles and then merge them together using the tiger mask to hit switches that requires the bubble to be a certain size.

There are plenty of stages in Soul Bubbles, however, the game felt pretty short. Thankfully, the stages are full of variety which changes up the formula every now and then and prevents the game from getting repetitive. At first you just have to worry about a few enemies trying to burst your bubble, vines that tangle with the bubble and become a nuisance and strong winds. Eventually you run into some deeper problems like having to put out fires with water. Part of the reason why the game is so short is because it is not very challenging. Each stage is a maze that is covered in darkness, but as the bubble passes by the map (shown at the top screen), the darkness begins to clear up as you move along. There are little hidden areas that contain stardust which also helps extinguish the darkness. Besides stardust, it is also important to collect Calabash. Calabash are little items that are harder to find than stardust and are needed to if you want to completely finish the game. When you are near a Calabash, the spirits will transform into hearts which will warn you that one is nearby.  Sometimes when you have multiple bubbles, you might accidentally forget about one or two and leave them behind. If this happens, you can hold down on the D-pad which allows you to jump anywhere on the map so you can conveniently locate your bubble and instantly jump back to the exact spot where you left it. This is very helpful for those who suffer with low attention spans (like myself).

The game is very pretty to look at. Apparently all the backgrounds were drawn and painted and they did a great job setting the mood to the music. The characters look simple, although good for what they are, and so do the animations going on in the background.  Everything is very colorful, but it also feels unique from your typical Saturday morning cartoon. What's most impressive are the bubbles. They look and move in a realistic manner whether they are being squashed in-between tight spaces or bouncing off an object.

 

If you enjoy something unique and want to change things up a bit, and if you want something that looks pleasing to the eye while you play on the go and is also fun to play, I would suggest giving Soul Bubbles a shot.

 

- J'Tonello

(November 10, 2008)

 

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