"Hello everyone. For going on seven years now, I've been addicted to Bust-a-Move. I can't stop, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to."
The idea of social rehab has long been one that has scared me. Think about it briefly; sitting around in a circle of uncomfortable wooden chairs with all kinds of unsavoury individuals milling around, guilty of God knows what. But the sad fact is I have an addiction - and frankly, I need help. The prospect of admitting my vice to a captivated audience is a little beyond me, so I'll abuse the anonymous presence that the 'net grants me.
So, here goes.
Hello everyone. For going on seven years now, I've been addicted to Bust-a-Move. I can't stop, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to.
The vice that eats up large portion of my life is little more than a simplistic puzzle game; the sort of experience that always seems to either fall inside the camps of highly addictive or total flop. Either they become a game that you'll find yourself playing for countless years after purchase, or something quickly discarded and forgotten. Bust-a-Move 2 is the very epitome of the former.
Imagine, if you will, of your on-screen play area as a room complete with a ceiling crammed full of colourful globes. You, in the shape of a two-strong chibi-godzilla squadron, have taken control of a converted siege catapult of sorts that hurls additional globes into the mixture. The aim is to line the spheres of a matching hue together, joining three together will cause them to implode. To win, you must clear the area of globes before they take over the screen. While doing this you need to contend with a ceiling that drops with the ominous slowness of one of those pneumatic crushers that James Bond seems to escape from every handful of films.
Luckily the globes will stick to each other and the ceiling itself, but not to the walls, allowing you to access some of the harder angles by bouncing them off your handy borders. With a bit of skill, and a smattering of luck, you'll find that many of the levels are pretty straight forward. As it is, multiple balls can be dislodged by sniping away at the globes that they are supported on. As long as your destruction continues at a reasonably quick rate, you'll stay ahead of the descending ceiling.
Something'll have to be done about that.
And it is. Choosing to play Time Trial pits you against either the clock or human opposition where you have only time to worry about, but the various Versus modes give you much more sinister problems. Whether you chose to progress through the Story which presents your midget lizards with various storyboards of their plot-chosen opponents, or simply go head-to-head with CPU or human foes. The cunning Versus mode has more cunning tricks up its sleeve to keep you on your toes. Once a player has snipped away at enough foundation globes to tumble some coloured balls out of the play area, these unexploded blocks will find a new home in the confines of the other puzzle room. Sneaky AND underhanded -- a winning combination! Of course, this little trick runs both ways, and as the second window will now own more globes to attempt to place into freefall, such underhanded tactics can often backfire. Screwing over the computer can be amusing, but burying a gloating chum in a veritable cornucopia of brightly coloured balls that they'd just smugly sent your way is the stuff competitive dreams are made of.
Of course, the harder the level the more selective you have to be with your shots.
Bust-a-Move 2 is a game that demands speed, but unthinking quickness will lose you the race. You need to utilise your globes cleverly, planning ahead. Your reptilian crew that work your catapult with show you not only the coloured ball you are about to fire, but the next one that will be primed for launch. If that wasn't enough, some levels are rife with special blocks. Some of these globes can't be exploded, but only dislodges by sniping out the supporting balls around it, while some will offer bonuses for hitting them.
The whole thing just works, despite relying on basic but vibrant graphics, and giving voice to a catchy, yet over stretched J-Pop soundtrack, Bust-a-Move 2 runs purely off the 'just one more go' factor. It offers a delectable selection of one player modes to keep you entertained, but the fun will always be in going head-to-head with human competition. You'll want to hog the limelight in the time-trial leader boards; you'll want to embarrass your lighty cursing opposition with perfectly weighted shots and landslide victories; you'll want to give that troublesome level you've just bailed out on one more try. To play Bust-a-Move 2 is to discover addiction. I'd comment on how many wasted hours I've lost on this game, but I'd be party to a lie -- they're not wasted, I don't regret it, and I'll eat up lots more time before I'm done. Much, much more.
In simplicity we find perfection. This is the perfect case study for that.
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