Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bubble Swap (Game Review)

This is the second game I've reviewed from DS Effects. The earlier one was Blocked Car and I gave it a 3 (out of 5). I'm trying not to feature any one game company or game developer, but this came up next on my random list. Bubble Swap is a simple game and an interesting take on bubbles and swapping. The name is descriptive!

The little green "i" in the lower right corner is Help and just says "Swap and sort the bubbles in proper color order." Not sure that makes a clear image, but let's see what we have.

After playing a bit, I figured out you can swap bubbles. Here's a swap sequence. First you click on the bubble you want to move. Doing so makes it tiny.

Then you click on the bubble you want to swap it with.

I swapped with the blue bubble on the left. Once you figure this out, you can move fast.

But not fast enough. Before you expect it, you'll see this:

What happened? I was having fun! Turns out that the game only gives you 60 seconds. That's just not enough. Maybe I can learn to be fast enough, but I wasn't that slow.

This game is a perfect example of one that didn't put in enough time with beta testing. The game is an interesting idea and would make a fun exercise (make a note of that). It would have been smarter for DS Effects to allow the player a choice of Easy, Medium, or Hard, with the only variable being the time limit. The way it is now, it's too frustrating to end the game too quickly, not allowing me to learn strategies of motion and play.

Also, I had trouble because I thought you dragged. You just tap twice and that's your move. Help could have been more helpful. Also, when a ball is on its own color, the highlight is gone and you don't see it as well as I would like. I understand they want to mark the ball once it is placed (a flash would have been nice too), but maybe some other stronger clue that the ball is now where you want it to be. An interesting design problem.

I agonized over the score on this one. There are three problems. The major problem is that the time limit is too harsh. Almost as bad but may vary with other players is that it wasn't clear that it is a two-step touch, not a drag. Help could have been more helpful. And the art for a properly placed piece isn't as clear as it could be, but I wouldn't know what to do either. On the other hand, this is an interesting idea, so I'll give it a R3. If it had a better time limit and clearer directions, I'd be tempted to give it a 5.

Cost: Free
Genre: Puzzle
Score: 3 (out of 5)
Tested on: ZTE Open (Firefox OS)
Get it at: Firefox Marketplace