There are certain classic games that make me happy. Tetris is king when it comes to this, but there are other games that are easy to pick up and can keep me occupied for a good long while. One of these is Bust-A-Move, the quintessential “match three” puzzle game.
The premise is simple: shoot a bubble into the playing field and match three of the same color. You can bounce them off the walls in order to make trick shots. If there are any bubbles underneath the eliminated bubbles that aren’t connected to anything else for support, they fall too. If the playing field gets too full of bubbles and they cross a line at the bottom of the screen, it’s game over.
Frozen Bubble is a port of this formula to the Android platform, and I can say it does it pretty damned well. As someone who doesn’t play a whole lot of games on his Droid, Frozen Bubble is taking a lot of time off my commute on the subway; this is definitely a good thing.
The game is controlled by dragging your finger horizontally below the “game over” line to move the line of fire from side to side. A tap above the line will fire the bubble. Players on the Droid/Milestone family of phones have a little bit of an advantage as their phones’ d-pad is supported.
I can’t decide which I like better, though: touch controls allow for a great amount of precision, but the d-pad allows for a much smoother and intuitive experience. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve accidentally touched the wrong area and screwed up my shot.
The game also includes extra options, like the ability to turn off the “hurry up!” warnings that will come up if you take too long. However, this ability is turned back on once you reboot the game, along with other reset settings; it’s really annoying when you’re trying to keep your phone quiet and each shot makes a squeaking noise.
Frozen Bubble’s free, and comes with a bunch of free maps. However, there’s a link in the game to separate Level Editor app, which allows for the downloading of a new level packs and the creation of your own. This gives the game something priceless when you’re dealing with an addictive concept: replay value.
Definitely check out Frozen Bubble if you’re looking for something to kill time with, or have to entertain kids for a couple of hours.
Matt Demers is a Toronto writer who’s missed his subway stop because of this game. He can’t decide if that’s a good thing of a bad thing. You can find more of his writing on his personal site.