Is Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! worth grabbing on the Nintendo Switch? I can understand if there’s some initial hesitation; after all, Bub & Bob’s last game failed to meet expectations. However, fans will be relieved to learn their latest offering (which I grew up knowing as Bust-A-Move) fares better. The foundation of this bubble-flinging puzzler remains strong. Keep reading to see why this latest installment warrants your attention, especially with its new gameplay mode.

First, let me provide some context. This series is very nostalgic for me, starting with the arcade original (also available on the Switch) and memories of the 3DO port from the mid-90s. It quickly established itself on Nintendo hardware, boasting titles like the N64 sequel (also accessible on the Switch), the Wii launch game, and various entries on the DS, among others. So, take this for what it’s worth; if you inquire about my favorite puzzlers, this series would rank near the top due to reasons too numerous to list.

Everybubble! has three main modes, with “Story” likely commanding your initial attention. You’ll move from village to town, assisting with the bubble invasion. Yes, there is a plot, although this type of game doesn’t need one. It’s mildly amusing seeing the reactions to being overrun with bubbles; a hindrance to most, though some are into it. Youngsters should chuckle, but most will stick with aiming to get three stars to unlock the EX stages that bring the sort of challenge Puzzle Bobble vets are comfortable with.

Speaking of challenge, expect some difficulty spikes throughout the story. The game employs an excessive amount of bubble types and special effect bubbles. When combined with cramped playfields and some time restrictions, expect to see game over screens and “Assist” prompts. Less is more, and I’d have preferred fewer gimmick bubbles so the remaining ones had more of a chance to shine. Some, like the “Change Bubble,” sound better on paper than in execution. Changing color once per second brings the sort of difficulty I don’t find addictive. Again, the EX stages are where it’s at, challenge-wise.

In Story mode, there’s also “Baron’s Tower,” featuring a playfield where bubbles drop rapidly. Here, you can challenge worldwide leaderboard scores and marvel at how some players achieve them. Frankly, unlocking this mode’s hard and extreme difficulties is beyond my current imagination. However, it’s worth noting that the loading times are fairly fast, and there’s a convenient option to sort the scores and view only those of your friends.

Moving on to the next mode, “Vs.” offers what you would typically expect. The most notable aspect here is the inclusion of online play. It’s a good feature for competitive players who don’t have local friends to play with. The online experience runs smoothly overall, and I haven’t encountered any issues finding strangers to compete against. However, it seems there is no option to select the skill level of your opponents, so it’s uncertain what kind of player you’ll encounter. Personally, I don’t see myself actively seeking out this mode much, but it serves its purpose well.

Everybubble! floats to the top, as it were, through its “Puzzle Bobble vs. Space Invaders” mode. Like Arkanoid before it, the fusion of Space Invaders with another iconic Taito series proves to be a winning combination. The wide playfield has invader bubbles mixed in with the usual suspects, and you’d do well to prioritize them before you get frozen in place via their projectiles. My wife and I had a blast playing this cooperatively. Even solo players can add up to three computer allies. However, it’s noteworthy that, despite working together, your scores get tallied separately. Thus, CPU players often prioritize their own scores, occasionally obstructing your team-oriented progress. Nevertheless, this mode has plenty of potential for expansion, standing as the finest addition to this Puzzle Bobble entry.

While I can’t say I’ll reach for this over its predecessors, Puzzle Bobble Everybubble! Is a good (replayable) entry more often than not, and recommended. Younger players and families who can enjoy local co-op should have this higher on their wishlist than solo players who might wait for a sale (or update with more online options). The new Puzzle Bobble vs. Space Invaders is a sizable draw!