Meet Bubby. He’s the Cyclopic protagonist of the cute new physics puzzle game Blupt! The game is a joint effort from three small Spanish developers Unboring, Trackglobe and Ivanovich Games. Bubby is a thirsty little creature who can’t seem to get enough of a crazy colored soda called Blupt!. However, the drink’s refreshing flavored bubbles have a strange effect on Bubby, changing the color of his skin.
Blupt!’s 84 levels are divided into three ‘bottles’ of different colors of Blupt! soda (green, red and pink). Each level plays out inside Bubby’s mouth, which already contains some flavor bubbles on his tongue and you are given one or more additional flavor bubbles which you must fire onto Bubby’s tongue using an almost billiard-like motion. Simply touch the bubble, drag your finger back to set the direction and power and let go to launch the flavorful globule of air. If two bubbles of the same color collide, they will combine to form a larger bubble. If two bubbles of differing colors strike one another then the smaller one will pop, otherwise (if they are the same size) the slower moving bubble will pop. To complete a level you must fire off all of your provided flavor bubbles onto Bubby’s tongue, “keeping your taste” by leaving only bubbles which are the same color as the level pack (or what Bubby calls “happy bubbles”) and collect at least one star.
Each level has a total of three stars which can be collected. These stars will help you get higher scores and unlock additional level packs and Game Center achievements. The game requires a similar mindset to that of billiards, as you’ll have to calculate the correct angles and power to successfully bank bubble shots off the walls or one another to pop the bubbles AND grab the stars.
It is easy to tell that the developers put a good deal of thought into the level design. More often than not, a random ‘spray and pray’ or dumb luck approach will not lead you to victory, especially in the levels where you are given three or more bubbles to fire. You must plan out your attack on Bubby’s tongue, as sometimes you’ll have to fire off three bubbles in quick succession (at varying speeds) in order to form a bubble big enough to take out the others. The levels are challenging and many of them will take multiple attempts to complete successfully. One particularly nice game mechanic is that you see a ghost power/direction arrow for each bubble you launched in your last attempt. This comes in very handy for lining up your next attempt. For instance, if a level required you to shoot three bubbles and only the third missed its intended target, then it is easy to re-shoot the first two bubbles the exact same way you did the previous time.
The development team has also done a particularly nice job establishing the complexity curve of the game, with the level packs getting progressively more complicated. This is not to say they are necessarily inherently more difficult, they just require increasingly more logical thinking and planning. As I mentioned earlier, collecting the stars will help you to unlock subsequent level packs and do a great job increasing the game’s replayability as you will certainly find yourself going back to previously completed levels trying to nab those missed stars. To help struggling (or just plain lazy) players, Blupt! includes an interesting DLC model whereby users can purchase packs of “20 best shoots” for 99¢. These can be applied to individual levels to instantly give you ‘3 stars’ on said level. Players are provided with three of these right from the start with the cost of admission. I’m proud to say that I haven’t used any of mine yet, but the pink level pack is proving to be quite the challenge.
The game’s graphics are charming and full of vibrant colors and the fun and energetic soundtrack tune for some reason reminded me of the old PAC-MAN animated cartoon series (that’s a GOOD thing). Several times while I was playing the game, my 4 year-old daughter came over to see what Daddy was playing and asked if I could put it on her iPod as well. While I’m not sure how well she would do, I’m sure she’ll just have fun watching Bubby’s antics and seeing the bubbles pop.
Don’t let Bubby’s big cute eye and love of soda fool you into thinking this is some sort of children’s game. Sure Blupt! is a fun puzzle game that will undoubtedly appeal to players of all ages, but it will definitely challenge your ability to think logically, your targeting skills and (at times) your quick reflexes. With more than 80 levels to get you started and the promise of more on the way, Blupt! will certainly quench your thirst for challenging puzzles.