Developer: King
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Candy Crush Saga may be King’s frontrunner, but there are plenty of alternatives to the puzzler to choose from – in particular is Bubble Witch Saga, an homage to Taito’s classic Puzzle Bobble/Bust-A-Move. Homage is being kind, actually; Bubble Witch Saga 2 and its predecessor are outright facsimiles of Taito’s addictive puzzler, but the latest iteration incorporates new and original ideas to ensure the formula remains fresh. Bubble Witch Saga 2 is slick, colorful, and challenging, and while it doesn’t break entirely new ground on the puzzle front, it’s still a great choice for a few bites of playtime here and there.

imagephotoIf you’re unfamiliar with the original Bubble Witch Saga, it’s a puzzler where you’re given one colored bubble after another to aim at even more bubbles suspended at the top of the screen. You need to match three or more of a kind to burst the bubbles and clear them from the play area. This is accomplished via precise aiming with the touch screen, and strategic bouncing of colored bubbles against the “walls” of the play area. If you play your cards right, you can collapse an entire cache of bubbles with a well-placed shot. They’ll rain down in a shower of color, and at the end of each level they’ll randomly bounce into pots that collect them for points to tally onto your score.

Pinching, touching, aiming, and maneuvering your cursor is simpler than ever, and Bubble Witch Saga 2 appears to have been improved with portrait mode play and touch screens in mind. Compared to the original game, it’s like it changed developer hands entirely. It feels effortless to aim in the right direction you want your bubble to go, so if you misfire and find one hurtling into the corner of the game board it’s your fault and certainly not the game’s.

image_2image_3A host of power-ups are available for your use, and as per the usual King freemium options you can purchase additional items if you find that you simply can’t complete a level in the number of moves allotted. Additionally, you can’t continue playing indefinitely without waiting a frustratingly long period of time when it comes to certain areas – and if you decide that you’re so addicted to Bubble Witch Saga 2 that waiting doesn’t sound like such a great idea, the in-app purchases suddenly don’t seem like the worst thing in the world. Of course, it is possible to power through the stages without spending a cent. Just don’t think the game is entirely without temptation.

Bubble Witch Saga 2 is vibrant, full of new challenges, and provides plenty of reasons to return to the game even if you feel as though you’ve exhausted the original. It truly looks and feels like a brand new game despite retaining the same core mechanics. Just don’t be surprised if you start dropping a little bit of petty cash here and there because you get stuck. Don’t be ashamed. It happens to the best of us.


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