Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Bubble in Paradise is yet another anagram-based word game, in the vein of Boggle rather than Scrabble. And while these games have been done to death, Clickgamer (a Chillingo susidiary) does here what it did so well with 1001 Ultimate Mahjong: take a classic game and add polish, features, and an abundance of replay value.
The basic premise is simple: a watery playing field is filled with letters encased in bubbles. Players tap the letters in order to create words and pop bubbles. The letters don’t have to be next to each other, just on the board somewhere. There are power ups like time freezes, extra hint points and bubble that explode those near it as well as obstacle that will fill the playing field faster.
The twist is that as the bubbles linger in their underwater paradise they expand and take up more space. Players have to find and pop words quickly to rack up big scores because once the bubbles have no room to expand the game ends. Part of the fun is being able to use any letters available and part is the fast pace, but equally gratifying are the extra power ups and obstacles that unlock over time and the extra gameplay modes. Normal and Battle, a multiplayer mode – random or with friends – come unlocked, but only accrued stars open the Endless and Blitz variants.
The game’s dictionary is very forgiving, albeit fickle. Proper nouns and slang terms I tried were readily accepted, but common crossword and Scrabble staples were rejected. This makes for a great family game, but it’s not terribly challenging.
The only other issue I encountered was that I was unable to find any random matches to test out the Battle mode and have no friends on Game Center or Crystal. The idea of head-to-head action, however, without the aggressive social aspect of the With Friends series by Zynga strikes a neat balance between a social and solo gaming experience.
For younger word gamers, non-native English speakers, and fans of casual word games that require as much speed as vocabulary, Bubble in Paradise offers a lot of word gaming fun for a small price and universal build.