Bubble Spinner [rating: 4/5]
AddictingGames.com has long been a destination for online gaming. Offering an extremely wide range of mainly Flash games, it has provided endless hours of entertainment and enjoyment. AddictingGames has taken the next logical step in the gaming experience and started to reproduce many of its most popular games for the iPhone platform. The latest such transformation is Bubble Spinner and it translates very well to the touch-enabled environment.
Bubble Spinner is a pattern-matching puzzle game in the same proud tradition as Tetris and Bejeweled with its own unique twist. Instead of a horizontal arena onto which is dropped objects of varying types and sizes, the playing field is a hinged group of colored bubbles that freely moves on a central pivot. This playing field is initially a hexagon at the center of the arena but this will morph and change shape as bubbles are added to the game. The object of the game is to clear the playing field by adding the bubbles offered at the top of the screen to those already in play. Bubbles are cleared from the screen when three or more bubbles of the same color appear in a row. Dropping a bubble into play also moves the playing field in the direction the bubble was added.
I once heard someone say that the best games on a given platform do well because their controls play to the strengths of the platform. In the iPhone platform the touch and tilt are the primary means of interaction. Sure games can add virtual joysticks and other somewhat artificial means of interaction but the best games are controlled with a simple touch or tilt of the screen. Bubble Spinner is no exception. Dropping Bubbles on to the screen is accomplished with either a finger swipe, touch, or tilt of the screen which is an option of the game. The controls aren’t needless complex and I like that.
Gameplay and controls aside, Bubble Spinner has some nice additional options. The background music sets a nice mood for the game. It is quiet and unobtrusive but at the same time certainly seems to add to the game. If it isn’t your thing though, it can be turned off on the options screen. The game also provides the opportunity to notify your friends through Twitter, Facebook, or email about the game. This is just a blanket notification about the game itself, the game does not currently have a mechanism for sharing high scores and achievements. Probably the best option though is the choice of game boards. Bubble Spinner currently features a Classical board with very simple color schemes and a white background. Anyone who’s played Bubble Spinner at AddictingGames.com will be familiar with this interface. Additionally, the game also features an Awesome board not available online. This board is very stylized in a wood grain, almost steampunk, interface. I really liked this board and play most of the time with it.
All in all, Bubble Spinner is one of the best puzzle games I’ve played on the iPhone platform. It melds a familiar game concept with fresh twists and an easily understandable interface. Gameplay is difficult enough to be challenging but not so difficult to discourage replay and the replay potential for this game is great. You’ll want to come back again and again.
The only downside I can find in the current version is a lack of social gaming options and global high scores. Most games now feature some sort of social gaming and achievement system like what is offered by OpenFeint. Bubble Spinner currently does not. As well, the current version of this game only keeps local high scores. These would be excellent upgrades for a future version of this otherwise great game.
In conclusion, this game is well worth the 99 cents in the App Store. Bubble Spinner is out of control fun. (iTunes Link)
- Familar game with unique twists
- Intuitive interface
- Challenging game play
The Not So Good
- No social gaming options
- Local high scores only
Reviewed by: Erin Peterson