|Dev: Taito, Arika|
|Pub: Square Enix|
|Release: March 27, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
The music is a remix of tracks used in past games of the series, with different synthesized sounds depending on the world you're playing. Even though repetitive, it is nostalgic, and pleasant enough without being annoying. The sound effects also stay true to the series. The problem is that the mixing levels don't jive, with the sound effects astonishingly louder than the background music. And with no option to adjust the levels, you either get an earache with the volume on high, or barely make out the music on low.
The color palette for the game is selective, but the few choice colors are vibrant, and the game actually looks cleaner than other Bust-A-Move games on more powerful consoles. While orbiting the various worlds, the background gives a decent scene of the world's respective environment, and even the working gears which make up the sidewalls are a nice addition. The 3D is actually where the game suffers. Besides giving a sense of visual depth to the game, the 3D does nothing to enhance the gameplay itself. The game looks better in 2D, and is less straining on the eyes, making the 3D, for this game at least, a useless novelty.
Not only is the 3D a failed feature of this game, but with all the extras packed into the 3DS, Bust-A-Move Universe uses none of them. There is no use of Play Coins, but even more shocking is the lack of any multiplayer, both offline and online. Even the DS version from years ago sported a multiplayer function, making this a glaring omission in an already bare bones product. There is an awards section in the game (like unlockable achievements), as well as a stats page, but with only yourself to show off to, even these seem like wasted space in the game.
Being a fan of the series, I am truly saddened to have to give such a poor review. I feel that developer Arika and publisher Square Enix were simply trying to crank out anything that could be ready for the new handheld's release. The only saving grace is that it's the only puzzle game at launch, and is the lowest priced game of the bunch, but even at $29.99, you're still not getting your money's worth. With a little more time and effort this game could have contained great features and a plethora of puzzles, but sadly is a watered down version not worthy of your time.
CCC Freelance Writer