Sketch Whales

Soul Bubbbles (DS) Review

with one comment

Thought it’d be good to put up some reading material. Here’s a review I wrote of Soul Bubbles, the finest gem there is for the Nintendo DS. I’ve already posted this on the Magic Ball Network forums, so it ain’t really new material.

Review after the break

I may sound a little… simple, when I say this, but if the greatness of a game is based on how fun it is, then Super Mario Galaxy (SMG) is the greatest game ever, and probably will be until the sequel appears.

And the only reason why Soul Bubbles doesn’t snatch that title away from SMG, is that SMG is so massive. It simply contains more fun than Soul Bubbles. But even with the sheer size of SMG, Soul Bubbles still comes damn close. There are several reasons but an introduction is always in order!

Soul Bubbles is the brainchild of Mekensleep, a French studio consisting of various experienced individuals from all over the media business.

Essentially, the story is that you are a herder of bubbles containing spirits, and you must keep them safe. Soul Bubbles is about blowing bubbles around 2D labyrinths, by sliding the stylus across them. That’s the core mechanic. You can manipulate the bubble by dividing it, shrinking it, or blowing new bubbles and then adding them to you own.

 

This is massively entertaining and not just a neat idea. It works insultingly well at all times and looks fantastic. But it would probably grow a little dull rather quickly, if Mekensleep hadn’t added small gimmicks to each of the 8 different settings of the game.

They’re all different spins on bubble manipulation and make for really interesting puzzles and even a little, yet very amusing, combat.

The game is pure entertainment and playfulness in every aspect. The game has only a little dialogue, but in every bit, there’s a joke to be found, and each one is actually funny. The game even opens with a rather cheerful disclaimer!

As to visuals and sounds, the game is beautiful. With 2D backgrounds and characters and a single 3D character, the game has lots of room for details, and it is filled to the brink with these. From leafs slowing falling from the trees in the autumn forest, to enemies that die and turn into flowers on the ground, with petals that can be blown off, it’s clear to see, that someone really put their souls into this game.

The music is relaxing and fits the tranquil mood. But a pleasant theme you can actually hum is missed.

I do have to draw some attention to the sound effects though. One of the greatest nuisances in games is usually annoying sound effects that just. Keep. On. Going! But Soul Bubbles either avoids these situations or uses sound that are never really annoying. This is really admirable.

I don’t think I can really stress how great this game is. It’s so great to finally see a beautiful, sizable, well-controlled, replayable and immensely creative game on the DS. Some may critiscize the difficulty, but it’s important to bear in-mind that this is the type of game that’s either fun and relatively easy, or really frustrating. And Soul Bubbles does well in keeping it on the fun side!

I must admit that Soul Bubbles has awoken such a confidence for me in Mekensleep, that there really is no other developer out there, who I am more anxiously awaiting a new game from.

Words and still pictures do little to justify this game, so watch this video of the very first level:

level 1 of Soul Bubbles

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Written by Jacob Hartmann

July 9, 2008 at 8:01 pm

One Response

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  1. Hello Jacob,

    Thanks for the review! It never fails to make my day when I hear that people enjoyed our game. I thought SMG was amazing too so I feel extremely flattered that you think Soul Bubbles plays in that league. Thanks a lot.

    Olivier

    June 7, 2009 at 4:31 pm


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