Bubble Raider is a Facebook-based bubble shooter puzzle game from UK-based developer PlayDemand. The game has been available since December of last year, but has been showing particularly strong growth since the beginning of May. At the time of writing, the game is the No. 11 top gainer by MAU this week with an increase of 220,000 (76%).
Bubble Raider’s basic mechanics are very conventional for the genre. Players fire bubbles from a cannon at the bottom of the screen using their mouse and must “pop” groups of three or more connected like-colored bubbles. Any bubbles which are no longer connected to the top of the screen after a group has been popped fall to the bottom and provide the player with a bonus. If the player takes too long to complete a level, the “ceiling” begins to descend, pushing the remaining bubbles further down. If the bubbles cross a line at the bottom of the screen, the level is over and the player must expend a life to try again.
Alongside the level-based mode, known as “Journey,” Bubble Raider also includes two additional ways of playing. “Time Attack” is a “blitz-style” mode, where players have a minute to score as many points as possible. In this mode, the ceiling does not descend, but clearing over half of the screen causes new groups of bubbles to scroll down, providing a potentially “infinite-length” level. Players are ranked against their friends on a weekly leaderboard in this mode, can send bragging Timeline posts to their friends and can make use of soft currency to purchase powerups — though the earning rate of this soft currency is very slow, making it practically essential to spend real money if players wish to take advantage of these boosters.
The third mode is a synchronous multiplayer mode in which players may compete against their friends in real-time multiplayer. The game automatically detects if any of the player’s friends are playing the game and whether or not they are online, and if so provides them with the opportunity to challenge their friend to a battle. In this mode, players compete against one another to clear as many bubbles as possible and fill a bar in the center of the screen, which sends inconvenient “stones” in the direction of their opponent. There does not appear to be the means to challenge a random opponent, and clicking the “invite friends” button simply sends a request to a random selection of 50 of the player’s friends without allowing them to choose.
Bubble Raider is a decent game but ultimately it’s still yet another bubble shooter — a genre which is rapidly reaching saturation point on Facebook. The synchronous multiplayer mode is a good addition to the formula, however, and the fact that both level-based and “blitz” modes are available for play in the same game is a nice bonus. The presentation is good, if forgettable, and the game seems to run smoothly on most computers. In short, it’s a solid, safe take on a genre proven to be popular on Facebook at the present time.
A decent take on the genre with a good selection of modes, but ultimately still just another bubble shooter.