Bonsai Blast First Look

We’ve gone hands-on with a final version of Glu’s meditative, mystical marble-shooting Match-3 game, Bonsai Blast, and we like what we’ve seen so far. We are also completely out of “M” words to throw at you.

Bonsai Blast is a Match-3 puzzle game similar to Zuma and Blackbeard’s Assault, but the venue this time has a heavily mythologized Far Eastern flavor.

Had legendary Japanese printmaker Hokusai lived for an additional 150 years (and been a game designer), he may have come up with something a bit like this. Cherry blossoms waft across the screen when you earn a bonus, and the various power-ups take the form of kanji tiles denoting an elemental spirit. For instance, Wind blows the chain of marbles backwards, buying you extra time, while Fire allows you to melt individual marbles to construct combos.

Bonsai Blast takes a page from Blackbeard’s book with multiple cannon emplacements, but it also adds Bust-A-Move’s bank shots to the equation. One of the early levels requires you to bounce all of your shots off a wall to reach the chain, suggesting trick shots may play a big role later in the game.

We’ve only dipped a toe into Bonsai Blast thus far, but the gameplay we’ve seen has been very polished and enjoyable. The Google Android version of the game has been available since the G1′s launch a few months ago, and it has done well with critics; we will add STP’s voice to the chorus as soon as we can. Bonsai Blast costs $3.99.

Feature list from the publisher:

‘¢90 increasingly challenging levels set in a beautiful ‘Zen garden’ theme

‘¢Swap between multiple shooters and use chutes to line up the perfect shot

‘¢Ricochet marbles for bonus points

‘¢Harness the strength of elemental power ups: Water, Fire, Earth, Wind, Light, & Dark

‘¢Collect treasures in the all new bonus levels

‘¢Test your skills in the never ending Survival mode or play Adventure mode