New App A Day: Bubble Bobble Double

Today’s featured app stars Bubblin and Bobblin, the famous fruit-eating dragons from Bubble Bobble, a series of games that has graced just about every platform in the past 20 years. If you’re old enough, you probably became acquainted with the happy duo in the arcade or NES versions of the original Bubble Bobble, a timeless classic that has now made its way to the iPhone.

But the old-school bubble shooter isn’t the only thing you get in Bubble Bobble Double. This app is split right down the middle, with a port of the original classic on one side, and a brand new action/ puzzle game on the other.

The classic game gives you exactly what you’d want from a port: the original game, with functional touchscreen controls. Our only complaints are that the screen size has been scaled down to accommodate the controls, and that there’s no multiplayer option. You can turn on an AI-controlled second player, but you can’t play with your buddies. Anyway, we’ll take a playable version the original Bubble Bobble on the iPhone any way we can get it.

The other half of the game is an entirely new mode specifically designed for the touch screen. In this mode, Bubblin sits in the middle of the screen, while familiar Bubble Bobble enemies come at him from all sides. Instead of controlling Bubblin directly, you tap enemies to trap them in bubbles, and tap again to dispatch the enemies.

The enemies stream onto the screen in lines or patterns, so you can use combos to clear them out. Popping an enemy’s bubble causes nearby enemies to pop, too, which can create chain reactions worthy of the fourth of July if you time them right. Popped enemies leave behind fruit that can be picked up and added to your collection for extra points.

That the new mode is not nearly as fun as the classic probably goes without saying. But regardless, if you like Bubble Bobble and don’t mind straining your eyes to play it, and you want to check out the new glorified minigame Taito has created around the characters, give Bubble Bobble Double a spin.