Lost Bubble is a new English-language release from Middle Eastern developer Peak Games. As the title suggests, the game takes the form of a fairly conventional bubble shooter but has seen some strong growth recently, showing up at No. 2 on our fastest growing Facebook games by MAU list this week.
Lost Bubble’s gameplay is fairly standard for the genre. Using a bubble-firing magic wand at the base of the screen, players fire bubbles towards a predefined arrangement at the top in an attempt to cause a “Pandora’s Box” special item to fall. Connecting three or more bubbles of the same color causes them to pop and disappear, and if this causes an arrangement of bubbles to no longer be connected to the top of the screen, they fall to the bottom and turn into collectible coins and point-scoring stars. Players have a limited number of bubbles with which to complete each level, and they also fail if they hit Pandora’s Box with a bubble — something which the game doesn’t make clear until after it has happened for the first time.
Players may purchase “Magic Orbs” using coins collected during play. These unlock as the player progresses through the game’s levels, beginning with an option that is included as a standard feature in most other bubble shooters: the facility to swap the current bubble with the upcoming one. This is an almost-essential purchase, though it is possible to buy it mid-level rather than always having to purchase it in advance. Since it is a standard feature of most other bubble shooters, however, it does have the effect of having an almost-continuous drain on players’ soft currency supplies as they progress. It would have been more player-friendly to have the option to purchase a permanent unlock of the ability — many of the other Magic Orbs provide permanent bonuses that do not have to be re-purchased, though these mostly require Facebook Credits rather than soft currency.
The game is well-presented, with attractive graphics and unobtrusive, inoffensive sound. The design of the main character, who is always depicted proffering her backside to the player, is a little unnecessary, however — particularly since she is quite literally just there to look pretty rather than to provide any narrative function.
This aside, Lost Bubble is a solid, if rather unremarkable, example of a bubble shooter. It plays well, runs smoothly and has the potential to monetize well, particularly given the number of users it has been picking up recently. The current (and enduring) popularity of the genre, as evidenced by the sheer number of rival titles around at the moment, will help ensure it enjoys a good degree of success in the social gaming community, at least in the short term. Whether or not it has the potential to outpace (or even catch up with) the unstoppable bubble-firing juggernaut that is King.com’s Bubble Witch Saga remains to be seen, however — though it’s certainly off to a good start.
Questionable character design aside, this is a perfectly competent (if relatively unremarkable) bubble shooter.