Better Late Than Never Review: Bust-A-Move Live!
Or Puzzle Bobble if you prefer, strangely enough, MS couldn't decide on a name either. In your game library menu it is listed as Puzzle Bobble Live, yet at the title screen it shows Bust-A-Move Live.
If you are unfamiliar with this series, it is a puzzle game where you shoot bubbles towards the top of the screen to match up three like colored bubbles. Your “character” is from the old Bubble Bobble series, and the bubbles you break contain the various characters stuck inside. This series started out on the good old Neo Geo back in the day and has had numerous versions over the years. Not much has changed honestly and depending on how you view it, that could be good or bad.
As far as single player goes, you have your choice of 1P Puzzle, Infinity, or CPU Battle. 1P Puzzle is the standard mode broken up into 27 zones that you can choose your path for a variety of levels. You start out on zone A and can then choose zones B or C, and it goes on from there. I noticed on a few playthroughs that the puzzles did get more intricate, but not really more difficult, except when you get to the final zone of whatever path you take. That seemed odd to me. I remember the original Bust-A-Move giving me fits after about the 8th level. There are difficulty settings, but I didn't notice much of a difference in 1P Puzzle.
Infinity is just that. You have bubbles up top and you go as long as you can before you blow it. There's even an achievement for going a full hour if you're up for it.
CPU Battle is probably the mode I enjoyed the most. You go up against various CPU opponents (Puzzle Fighter style). You even select a bubble pattern for when you get chains that will throw bubbles on their side (yep, Puzzle Fighter style). I had a rough time at the start, it seemed like I just couldn't beat the first guy. Then I realized that trying different patterns actually helped make a difference with who you battle. Obviously, its trial and error, so you'll be using a few continues.
Multiplayer? Well, not quite non-existent, but no real community to speak of. In fact, most of the puzzle games I have lack players. I got in too late for Puzzle Fighter and Puzzle Quest, but I could play both of those all day. Puzzle Quest spoiled us with the RPG and quest elements and Puzzle Fighter is fantastic head to head (assuming you have someone to play with). You'll find a player here and there, probably mostly achievement hunters who got the game on sale for 400 points last week.
Overall, for a puzzle game, I wasn’t left wanting to come back for more, other than knocking out some slightly easy achievements. There's no saves either. I was a little annoyed by it at first, but considering how little challenge the game is, I doubt it will matter. Bust-A-Puzzle-Bobble-Move Live! is a serviceable puzzle game that I believe die hard fans of the series would enjoy (are there any?) and was a steal at 50% off. At 800 points, you could get the previously mentioned Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix or the first Puzzle Quest.
2 out of 5