Bust-a-Move Universe

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Bust-a-Move Universe Game Poster Image
3-D match-colored-bubbles puzzle game is simply 'OK.'

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game is a simple puzzler that challenges players to match same-colored bubbles (or orbs). It sends the message that doing puzzles can be fun. During boss battles, where you shoot colored orbs at a robot enemy, you can also use bombs to destroy it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There isn't a protagonist in this puzzle game. A cute green character does appear, though, who seems friendly and happy.

Ease of Play

The Bust-A-Move games are very easy to play as you simply point the bubble cannon toward the other colored bubbles and try to match at least 3 same-colored bubbles so that they disappear from the board. It's a simple mechanic that gets tougher as you progress throughout the levels.

Violence & Scariness

This puzzle game lets you shoot little colored bombs to destroy a flying robot boss fighter.


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

User Reviews

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Kid, 9 years old April 1, 2011


love it like it very good

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?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Release date: March 27, 2011
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: E for Comic Mischief
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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