A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bust-a-Move Universe is a simple puzzle game for players of all ages. Your goal is to shoot individual colored bubbles toward a group of dangling colored bubbles, with the intent of matching colors. But be aware in one of the game modes you can shoot cartoon-like bombs toward a flying robot to destroy it. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3-D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls
What's it about?
BUST-A-MOVE UNIVERSE is the latest in the puzzle gaming series that debuted 15 years ago in arcades. The concept is simple: a bunch of colored bubbles are randomly clumped together on a game board and you're in control of a bubble cannon at the bottom of the screen. You can move the cannon left or right and you'll decide where to shoot the bubble so that it touches same-colored bubbles; when three or more of the same color touch, they pop and are removed from the screen. The goal of the game is to prevent the bubbles from reaching the bottom of the screen. This 3-D sequel is based on the same puzzle premise as the original game (and its many sequels) but adds a couple of new mechanics, too.
Is it any good?
This version of Bust-a-Move is average, but if you've played any of the previous games, you've basically played this -- except now the graphics are in 3-D. The effect is pretty good but not as striking as other 3DS games, such as Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars 3D, or Super Street Fighter IV 3D. Also, the game developers added a couple of boss battles (fight against a robotic space thingy) and Challenge modes with a timer (see how many points you can score in a minute or two) and an endless ("Nonstop") mode, with no breaks in the action between levels. But where are the multiplayer levels? It could've been fun to play over the Internet or at least via local wireless play. For $30, we expect a little more than what's offered on this cartridge. In short, puzzle fans should try before you buy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Nintendo creating a portable gaming system that can't be used to its fullest by kids 6 and under (Nintendo is proactively warning parents not to let young kids play games in 3-D, as their eyes are still developing, and looking at 3-D images for extended periods of time might prove harmful). Who do you think it's targeted at?
Why do you like playing puzzle games?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.