Bubble Witch Saga reviewed

Another Facebook bubbler, this time chock full of cute witchy graphics, got me hooked… though pissed at the same time. Rarely does a game get on my nerves enough for me to blog about it, so here we go, game design analysis.

Level Design

Levels are (in the spirit of all bubble-shooting games) designed in their basic shapes. Too bad the colors are completely randomized, so that sometimes one well-placed shot drops half of the level, and sometimes there’s a colorful pulp of different marbles in the same spot, completely impossible to clear in the predefined amount of shots.

Scoring

Longer combos are rewarded with more spiders serving as score multipliers. Too bad your score is the only criterion of passing a level, so no combo = no pass. But, does a combo GUARANTEE a high score? No. Dropped marbles bounce completely randomly on the combo-spiders. That means your mad shooting skills can only change your chance at getting a high score and passing a level from “definitely won’t make it” to “maybe will make it”, the rest is up to the powers that be.

Gift life-ups

You can grant a fellow player an extra life, how cool is that? Well, not cool anymore when there’s a strict limit of 5 lives, and the bonus lives are awarded when you’re entering the game – when you’re likely to be at 5 already. Bonus = wasted.

Current color, next color

Similarly to Zuma, you can switch between the current and the next marble. How do you tell which is which? Oh, it’s simple: the current one is the immobile marble, partially obscured with a green haze and blending in the richly decorated background; the next one is the clearly visible one, on a plain background, enthusiastically bobbing in the cauldron. Current is immobile/obscured, next is clean and animated, how’s that for being intuitive.

Verdict

Graphics: very nice and colorful and detailed – though the witch figures’ animation is horribly stiff.

Sound: FX properly “magical” twinkles and chimes, music – short loops, but sufficiently pleasing to the ear.

Gameplay: horrible randomness breaks all the potential.

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