Cutesy doesn't always translate into a playable game

I am a fervent lover of Bust a Move. The series captured my heart in the mid-1990s with the first titular game for the SNES. It was also a love shared with the late GI Mama, who also loved the puzzle aspect and versus play presented in the cutesy bubble popper. However, as with most other things in life, the more you push it, the less interesting it becomes, or you just run it in the ground. Bust a Move 3000 does the latter.

I get it, the series needed a graphical overhaul from the 1990s, and it accomplishes that. But it fails in everything else. The new mechanics — such as bouncing bubbles off the wall to take out something suspended in the middle of the playfield — are sloppily executed. There’s no need for that, especially when precision was kind of the name of the game before. It takes too much precision to nail some of the shots, and the game doesn’t do it well at all.

Even the cutesy atmosphere is a turn off. None of the playable characters connect with me. I want Bub and Bob. The little dinosaurs from Bubble Bobble are the heart and soul of this spinoff series and always have been. At least that’s what Taito sold me on in 1995. Now, I get some alien-looking creatures that should be in Pop N Music, and I have no idea who they are or what their point is. They’re cute, I guess, but nothing about the new art style does anything for me.

It’s just a mishmash of ideas that don’t quite gel, and it’s mediocre playing at best in a series that doesn’t deserve it. Bubble Bobble and Bust a Move are some of the cutest things ever. What’s being done here is dumbing down the presentation and the soul of the series for a few quick bucks. You know things are bad when GI Mama didn’t want to play this at all. She looked at me as if I had three heads when I asked her if she wanted to try it also, after watching the attract mode when I bought it and booted it up in my GameCube. How and why Bust a Move could fall off the rails is a mystery because there isn’t much there to start with. Thankfully, this trend toward nonsensical overhauls seems to be rectified in some of the later titles, but cute this ain’t and this ain’t cutting it for a main Bust a Move entry. Bust a Move off this dance floor.

 

Lyndsey Beatty is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at editor@gaminginsurrection.com