App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Matching games are a dime a dozen on the App Store, and only a precious few stand out. A lot of this has to do with how all of them follow the same formulas or re-use the same old mechanics with slightly different set dressing. This is not the case with Tiny Bubbles though. Although it very much is a matching game, the bubble-based nature of its gameplay and clever layering of additional puzzle elements makes for a game that will constantly surprise and delight you.
Tiny Bubbles follows a simple set of rules. Each level is a constellation of different-colored bubbles that are stuck to each other. These bubbles all have different colors, and if four bubbles of the same color are connected, they will slowly deflate and pop, leaving only the remaining unmatched bubbles together.
The cool thing about Tiny Bubbles is that you aren’t swapping bubbles around or anything to get them to match. Instead, you’re given color droplets to add to bubbles to change their colors. In addition to filling colorless bubbles with a single color, you can also add colors to already colored bubbles to transform them and make matches that way.
If you can’t match ‘em, pop ‘em
There’s something simple yet completely delightful about matching bubbles and watching them shrink away, but there’s more to Tiny Bubbles than just that. Across the game’s seven sets of levels, new challenges and mechanics arise, that elevate the game from merely a pleasant puzzle game to one that feels truly inventive and capable of holding your interest over long stretches.
These new mechanics involve things like popping individual bubbles with scissors, creating brown bubbles by mixing too many colors together, dealing with un-poppable “shadow” bubbles, and more. In addition to having new mechanics, your goals in each level are constantly changing too. Sometimes, you just need to pop everything on screen, but at others, you only need to pop certain colors, shrink one of the bubble connections to a specific size, or just complete a puzzle with a very small set of tools.
An ocean of possibilities
The way that Tiny Bubbles constantly mixes up the experience is the main thing that sets it apart from other matching games. It’s also a game that lets you experiment with how to solve puzzles and come up with creative solutions given its rule system.
As if that weren’t enough, Tiny Bubbles is also a game you can play forever. After you’ve finished all of its pre-constructed levels, you can always play the game’s Infinite Mode, which can let you pop bubbles to your heart’s content while your bubble cluster gets constantly re-filled.
The bottom line
There honestly aren’t enough good things I can say about Tiny Bubbles. It takes the familiar and well-worn concept of matching colors and reinvigorates the idea with a gameplay formula that truly feels innovative rather than gimmicky. Tiny Bubbles, simply put, is a must-play game. Go get it.