App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Tako Bubble is a little puzzle game where you control an octopus that collects bubbles. It has a charmingly retro art style and turn-based gameplay that’s reminiscent of something like Lara Croft GO. It’s not the most sophisticated puzzler out there, but its colorful aesthetics give it a certain charm that can be quite compelling.
Tako Bubble presents itself like a classic arcade game. it has a pixel art style, and your job is to swipe on screen to move your octopus around an environment to collect bubbles while also avoiding enemies and other hazards.
The goal of any given level is to collect as many bubbles as possible, and each subsequent level layers on additional tricks and mechanics that make this a more formidable task. As things get tougher, you can opt to merely collect the bubbles required to move on to the next level, but true mastery of Tako Bubble involves collecting every bubble in a stage before moving on.
Tako Bubble may have a retro style to it, but the game really shines because of a lot of little modern UI touches that make it really easy to play on any phone size and in just about any situation. Beyond being turn-based, there are other, more subtle touches to Tako Bubble that make it conducive to play sessions of any length.
These things include stages that fit inside a portrait-sized phone screen, icons that appear to show the direction you are swiping in, signals that warn you of hazards before you make your move, and even a nifty restart button that lets you restart a level instantly without hitting a load screen. These details aren’t completely absent from other games like Tako Bubble, but here they combine to make this simple puzzle game a really elegant experience.
Eight limbs, fewer lives
You can pick up Tako Bubble for free to try it out for yourself, but I’d recommend putting some money into it if it makes a good first impression on you. The game’s free-to-play structure limits the amount of lives you can get, and only permits you to get more if you watch ads.
You can avoid this poor experience though by making one-time $1.99 purchase that removes ads from the game and gives you unlimited lives. This makesTako Bubble’s free-to-play structure feels more like a free demo than a tricky scheme that tries to get more money out of you.
The bottom line
Tako Bubble takes a relatively simple and familiar concept, but executes on it brilliantly. There’s nothing here mind blowing, but it is still a really good and relaxing time. On top of it all, Tako Bubble lets you try it out for free. Just make sure to buy the game if you like it, as the free version of the game is not a particularly great experience.